Well here I am at Hanoi airport once again. On my way home after 4 weeks of work. For the first time in many years my plane has been significantly delayed and I may not get home until late tomorrow evening. So a good opportunity to reflect on week 2 of professional experience.
Actually this week was fairly light on when it came to incorporating ICTs in training. With the exception of some videos to highlight the dangers of using multimeters which were incorporated in a presentation that I created, that was pretty much it. Mind you the videos did clearly demonstrate what could happen with a multimeter if it is used incorrectly. So the trainees were suitably impressed.
Most of the remainder of the week was used to assess competency for five of our trainees who completed the Electrical Drawing Introduction course the previous week. We did review some part of my screen casts from the previous week so I think that probably counts as using ICTs but definitely not rich in ICT interaction for the learners.
The realities of keeping a plant running and trying to assess trainees as well really struck home during this week. On reflection my assessing could have incorporated ICTs in the assessment process but the difficulties with the language and having to translate nearly everything as well as the lack of access to computers for the trainees makes this a long process that will take more than a couple of weeks to complete. It is how ever something I would like to achieve in the future.
I’m lucky enough to actually work where I am doing my professional experience so it allowed for some flexibility in delivery. One of the disadvantages of this was that I was asked to develop and deliver training that is specific to site and therefore much more difficult to find ICTs that lend themselves to the training I was asked to develop. The fact that it all had to be translated to Vietnamese added yet another dimension.
I developed a three lesson training module called Electrical Drawing Introduction based on the electrical drawings used at site. Using a combination of screen cast, face to face teaching and examples of drawings we use daily allowed me to develop a training session that met the learning styles of the attendees including visual, auditory, read/write and kinaesthetic (VARK) as espoused by Fleming (2001) (sighted Hawk and Shah, 2007. p.6).
The group of trainees in this training were the same group I wrote about in my previous post Connectivism at Work – 3 so it was good to have them as my first group because they struggled quite a bit with the previous tasks I asked them to perform which revolved around the use of electrical drawings. It was good to see the smiles on several of the trainees faces during the training, especially when they finally grasped how the electrical drawings interact with each other and how to locate plant and electrical items by using the drawings. Later during demonstration and practical assessment they demonstrated competence so I was pretty happy with their effort over the three days.
Do I think my lessons were rich in ICTs? No, not at all. But with the limited access to computers and the language barriers I have to deal with I believe the training was a success and I hope the trainees will become more efficient at their work and use their new skills for the betterment of themselves and the company.
Two days before my professional experience was to commence I was able to give the same tasks to the trainees of the third crew as I had done previously for the other two crews. The results were little different from the previous results with all trainees returning me only half the information I had tasked them with.
Further explanation the next day did not result in the answers I was looking for and it was apparent that little collaboration was occurring amongst the crew. I further clarified to them what the task entailed and informed them that they could talk to each other about the information I was asking them to get for me. From the results returned to me I could see that two of the trainees had collaborated but the other three had not. Most disappointingly was the fact that they still had not obtained all the information I was seeking.
Due to these poor results I decided to change my first week of lessons for professional experience so that I could provide this crew with the skills required to properly read our electrical drawings. More about this in my next post.
I read Mark Laity’s post Professional Experience – Week 2 and was quite surprised that his mentor has been reluctant to allow him to use ICTs in his lessons. Mark’s comment “the biggest barriers to the introduction of ICT’s into the vocational training arena is the possible fear of (using ICTs by) the teachers” I did not realise these barriers existed and I can only emphasise with Mark’s obvious frustration.
It is not so much fear that has limited my use of ICTs but the fact that all of my lessons have to be translated. Many apps do not lend themselves to translation so I am limited to what is available to me. I have created several screen casts and videos for my professional experience but these also need to be translated. This is time consuming for my supervisors as they have no experience using the software for creating screen casts or videos. So what I really need to do is teach my supervisors how to use the technology so they can make the screen casts and videos directly.
I have found it quite difficult to incorporate ICTs into my training modules because my training is very specific to the mine site I am working at. Lack of access to our site intranet means that I cannot download training to the intranet and have trainees access the material as they need it. But they would get little benefit from the material until it is translated anyway.
Anyhow I will continue to persevere and hopefully find some user friendly ICTs to incorporate into my training modules.