Training technology research journals are now rife with the mandatory technology skills trainers should have. Are you hiring someone for developing eLearning training programs for your organization? Maybe you are crossing over from training to training development yourself. Or perhaps you are assessing your current training technology skills.
No matter which way you go in eLearning, you need to have a few basic skills to make it. In this article, we’ll share with you a list composed by leading educational technology journals.
Look around you and into any education journal you may find. Each one will have a set of training technology skills that are a must-have for every trainer or eLearning developer.
Ten years ago, Laura Turner in The Journal spoke about these skills. A decade later, The Journal revealed an updated list. We have recompiled this list to bring it up to date, and the (maybe not so) surprising thing we discovered is that many training technology skills may already be in your toolbox! But some may be missing. Find out which ones!
The essential skills and training tools for trainers
For the professional development training to be in order, the trainer needs to possess a number of tools and techniques to help them towards effective course development and delivery.
1. Be Able to Search and Research over the Internet
Maybe one of the most important skills a trainer can have is that of searching through the Internet. But we’re not referrring to the basic search each one of us can do.
The use of Boolean operators and symbols in your searches — such as using “-” tells your favorite search engine to ignore a term before it. Shift down to better search findings by making a habit of using “and” & “or”. The key is to find the relevant content matter for your training.
Evaluating and validating websites comes next. Check out if a website you are referring to is authentic and not fake or a duplicate. A good way to do that is to browse through all menu items and check out the “last updated” date at the footer of the webpage. If using information from the site, cite your sources in the desired format (APA, MLA Chicago, Harvard, etc.).
2. Social Media for eLearning
While at first this might sound a bit odd, social media can prove to be real powerful training and development tools.
The overwhelming surge in popular social media hangouts like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Google+, YouTube, as well as the true power that blogs have, all tell us where the potential learners are. As a trainer, connecting with learners using their preferred social media is another way to individualize the learning experience for the learner.
Utilizing a social media tool in a learning management system is a great way to get the learners to hang out with you. Tell your learners that your social media has like-minded individuals with similar goals and aspirations in life. Capitalize on the characteristics of the social media group in which learners hang out. Social media is also a great course marketing tool, as announcements for updates or new courses reach learners faster than email.
3. The Productivity Applications
Creating assignments that require learners to improve productivity is a great way to teach them using technology. You not only disseminate the content, but you also teach them how to use a new tool. Mention in your assignments that you need it in a particular format.
For example, the prevalent MS Office suite may have a strong reputation, but your learners may not be proficient in using it and could use the practice. Stress in the beginning of the eLearning course that learners are required to have word processing, database development and presentation skills, for example, and set a particular benchmark for them. Provide links for MS Office tutorials to point them in the right direction.
Modelling the use of productivity applications is a great way to teach educational technology tools. Online applications like Prezi, PowToon, goAnimate, Google Slides and Storyboard That! are a great start. Not only do they take the boring aspect out of assignments, they are as easy to use as new social media for a learner!
4. Knowledge Management Skills
It is very easy to get bogged down when it comes to your own learning! This is natural, in part because of the speed at which we need to update ourselves as learners and educators. Learn how to manage your own knowledge by grouping it in a meaningful way.
Create an online portfolio using HTML5 development tools like wix.com or WordPress. You can create a complete website-style portfolio that includes an “About Me” page to introduce you through text, visuals and videos (more about those later). You can present your current technology skills in the next page by linking with any projects or presentations you have online.
Group the skills and tools in your “wish list” on the next page with appropriate links to tutorials. This keeps you updated on what you have completed and what needs to be done for your professional improvement. A page dedicated to courses you have taken or are planning to take is also a great way to help you stay up-to-date.
Moreover, hiring managers would love to see what’s going on from a professional standpoint! Google Sites and Wikis are other notable options to manage your own knowledge. Just think of a knowledge management strategy as a better way to format your CV!
5. Create your Own Videos
One of the most overlooked skills for trainers is that of video creation. Videos are perhaps of the most powerful training development tools, as they combine image and sound, offering a vivid, engaging learning experience.
It truly is about time you shed the camera-shyness and step into the limelight. There is nothing more powerful in an eLearning setting than a person’s voice talking to a distant learner. The key is to speak clearly and provide subtitles in your videos.
A great start is to create a “introductory” video for learners and other professionals that may want to learn more about you. Think of this “about me” video session as a personal narration of your updated CV. The passion and enthusiasm you bring into your video will be your selling points.
With video creation and editing tools like the ones on YouTube and your smartphone, this should not be a problem at all. Screencasters like Jing, Screencastomatic and several others will help you capture complicated topics on your screen and illustrate them clearly. Also, encourage videos as a means for your learners to introduce themselves. Videos create stronger connections in an online learning environment.
6. Be a Life-long Learner
Being in the field of training requires you to develop life-long learning habits. Develop your curiosity for the latest productivity and knowledge management tools. A great way to make sure that you have all the best tools at your disposal is by reading a popular eLearning research journals.
The next step is to keep your learning portfolio updated. If you like to write, create a personal blog and connect with your learners through social media by asking their opinion. Learning never stops for a trainer!
7. Be a Learning Management System master
Maybe the ultimate tool for training, the Learning Management System is the one a good trainer should know how to use to its fullest potential!
For starters, know the difference between a stand alone LMS and an online, Cloud LMS. Learn how to use the embedded tools in TalentLMS to showcase your eLearning courses and manage your eLearners.
Collaborating and creating effective lessons and assignments in the online environment requires technology tools of training and development. When researchers say with conviction that eLearning yields higher success rates and advanced reasoning skills and sometimes better quality of learning, it is in part due to these necessary skills and tools.
And as a training developer, you cannot do without them. The learning curve associated with most of these skills is minimal, making them even more appealing. And the rewards? How about having an arsenal able to conquer any eLearning project you set your mind to!