Bring Technology Into The Classroom

With the proper balance, technology can help keep learners engaged in training and ultimately retain what they have learned.

Technology-based learning in an adult education setting has been a much talked about topic—and with good reason: We have become a technology-driven society. You know what they say, “When you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” As such, the dilemma is what types of technology we should be using, how often, and when.

Too much of anything can’t be good, right? Well, that depends upon the balance. If trainers focus on the trend of what’s hot in technology instead of meaningful aha learning moments, we set everyone up for failure.

METHODOLOGIES TO KEEP IN MIND

The first thing that comes to my mind around technology in the classroom is anything that’s considered “hands-on.” This includes things such as virtual reality, iPads, whiteboards, and smartphones. However, according to an article titled, “Learning Styles and Vocational Education Practice” by Bettina Lankard Brown, only 5 percent of the population is made up of kinesthetic learners (those who learn by doing), while 65 percent of the population are visual learners. I found this eye opening (no pun intended).

My point is that using hands-on technology could be beneficial, but we need to incorporate other methodologies to keep learners engaged and ultimately retain what they have learned. Here are some examples:

1. Movie clips: As long as you check with the Copyright Clearance Center first, using movie clips to teach adults can be a great way to get a point across. Movies have a way of resonating with an audience. Movies can make you feel and see things in a different way, especially when it comes to how we interact with others. In the workplace, having—or not having—interpersonal skills can make or break you. So grab the popcorn and get ready to learn.

2. Ted Talks: Not only do Ted Talks inspire, they teach the value of a trait; they teach a skill, a subject; and they can enhance personal development.

3. Social media: In today’s world, social media is a powerful tool when it comes to collaboration and sharing. It allows people to share knowledge and expertise and can create group discussion— all while having fun at the same time.

4. Kahoot: This is a fun online game that not only teaches but is competitive. If there is one thing we know about adults in today’s workforce, it’s that they love a good competition. Not only does it check for understanding, it teaches learners to think fast on their feet. The quicker you answer the question (and if your answer is correct), the more points you earn on the leaderboard.

5. Apps: There are many apps that can be downloaded on both Android and iOS platforms that can enhance learning. Some of my favorites are:

Hoopla: This digital media service is offered by your local public library and allows you to borrow and download movies, music, audiobooks, and e-books right to your phone, computer, or tablet.

TEDed: This creates amazing, fun, entertaining, educational videos for all ages. A Web app allows users to create video lessons that are actionable. Choose a video, add a description and a quiz (multiple choice or open ended), and prompt some discussion.

Blinkist: It’s for the super-busy professional looking to carve out some time to learn something new. Blinkist summarizes more than 2,000 non-fiction books to provide content you can easily digest in 15 minutes.

Always remember: Technology is not an event; it’s just part of everyday learning.

Alaine Carrello is a senior trainer in Learning and Development at Verizon. She has been with Verizon Wireless for more than 20 years and has been in the Learning and Development organization since 2010. Carrello is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Bellevue University with a Bachelor’s degree in Adult Education. Creative writing is her passion and she recently published her first book.

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