David Hopkins received a Highly Commended 2014 ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Award and is an eLearning Consultant at Warwick Business School
In the seven or so years since I became a Learning Technologist I’ve made a bit of noise about it (sorry). Not just about myself in the role, but noise about my understanding of the role, those we work with, and those we work for. I’ve not done it to shout about it, like ‘here I am!’ attitude, but to use my own experiences and observations to reflect and question our understanding of the roles we inhabit. I am proud to say I’ve stirred up some interest and some great conversations over the years through my blog posts and subsequent eBook. This is also why I completed my CMALT last year and why I’m trying to find time to engage as a CMALT assessor and am part of the CMALT Development Group.
I believe my role as Learning Technologist is one of support and encouragement with the individuals and teams I encounter. There are always keen and eager individuals who want to try a something new or push the boundaries of their own teaching practices. But these are often the active or vocal minority. It is important to balance this activity with contact, support, engagements, visibility, and availability with those who are less active, less interested, less willing, and less able to develop or stretch their own practices. My experience in working with this silent majority has been to be as visible and active as possible through online and face-to-face initiatives. Despite recently changing employers, my approach and attitude remains the same: listen, inform, educate, encourage, collaborate, and engage.
I like the often randomness of my role: projects have been initiated from protracted meetings and discussions just as often as from a chance meeting when waiting in line for a drink at the café. Discussions, formal and informal, are important for Learning Technologists, and it is important for the Learning Technologist to be able to communicate on the different levels; management, academic, administrative, technical, procedural, etc. Not everyone will understand the terminology we use, and we wont always understand the purpose or intention for the work we’re invited to be involved in. It is imperative we digest and translate the requirements into common terminology and language that everyone understands to avoid confusion and uncertainty, to ensure smooth progress, and to prevent delays. All my activities over the past seven years have been spent trying to include efficiencies and a simple, effective, and successful approach that encourages others to try something new in a ‘safe’ environment. My activities on networks such as Twitter (@hopkinsdavid) and my own TEL blog have resulted in invitations to projects (BYOD4L), conference (EWMA 2014), and book or journal articles (LTFE).
I don’t have the answers, and I don’t think any one person does, but I am enjoying the conversations, the collaborations, the engagements, and the encouragement from my PLN to further our understanding of the world(s) we inhabit. I have just begun a new project in collaboration with some trusted and respected colleagues to explore this question of ‘what is a learning technologist’ and hope to have some news on this very soon – follow the Twitter hashtag #edtechbook for updates!
Warwick Business School
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