As increasing amounts of content are available on line the role of the traditional chalk and talk trainer needs to be questioned. Is the new role more about facilitating learning through the use of technology?
I have always been uncomfortable with the idea of the traditional trainer who stands with a set of prepared materials and “trains” people. During my career I have had to do this type of work and often I was conscious that I knew only a tiny bit more about the topic than the slides and handouts contained but could be safe in the knowledge at the participants in the group would know little more than me. I heard a story yesterday about a trainer who was given some materials to deliver the night before the training session and was about 3 slides ahead of the group. This seems to reduce the role of the trainer to someone who can read slides in an animated way and ask a few open ended questions to stimulate debate. In hotels and training centres around the country this type of training is still going on.
When I am working with a group of people I like to focus on using the time to discuss and debate the issues. This may be around some core content materials but I think we can do more than just provide a package of set reading materials. I am starting to establish a new role for myself as a learning technologist. I facilitate people to find the information that they need by introducing them to useful sites, exploring podcasts, setting up groups and using forum boards to explore challenges that they are facing. The group of people I am working with suddenly expands to incorporate input not just from me and the people in the group but from people all over the world.
I am going to focus over the next few weeks on sharing some of these sites which I think offer valuable content for learning about a variety of topics and would welcome suggestions from others about sites which I could feature in the future.