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10 Tips for Incorporating Ed-Tech Into Your Own Development
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
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Even those of us working in talent development can be overwhelmed by the constant flow of learning technology trends. Often, the surge of new tech can leave us wondering how to keep up with all these fads—and how to incorporate useful new tools into our learning initiatives.

This doesn’t need to be a Sisyphean task. If we develop and use a series of bite-sized approaches, we will quickly find that abundant resources are at our fingertips. What’s more, we may actually have some fun in the process.

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Here are 10 tips for identifying and incorporating ed-tech trends.

  1. Set aside at least 15 minutes each day while you are at work—not at home, not during your lunch break, not during a March Madness basketball game—to do something that keeps you current with what is happening in our field. Read an article or blog. Listen to a podcast. Watch a TED talk. We need to set the example for our learners and show that learning is an essential and integral part of everyone’s job—including ours—rather than a diversion in our contemporary workplaces.
  2. Ask a trusted colleague what trend she is currently excited about and exploring. Then focus your own sights on that topic, tool, or resource to see how it might contribute to your talent development efforts and those of your colleagues.
  3. Develop, cultivate, and continually refresh your Personal Learning Network (PLN). Remember, if you don’t use and share the resources within that network to keep up with what is happening around you, you might as well not have a PLN.
  4. Identify someone who consistently seems to lead innovations in educational technology. Find ways to introduce that person to someone else who would benefit from knowing them. You can do this via email, over coffee or a meal, or even in a hallway at your office, at an event, or at a conference.
  5. Skim or immerse yourself in ed-tech reports from a variety of sources, such as ATD, the New Media Consortium (the Horizon Project reports are highly nuanced and cutting-edge), and specific industries. There are fabulous resources out there, and what sometimes appears to be of interest only to people within a specific industry (such as healthcare) can actually broaden the perspectives of those working in other verticals.
  6. Share what you know. Take a tip from the ATD Sacramento Chapter event called “The Big Give.” At this meeting, members spend 60 seconds sharing a resource, tip, or technique that would be useful to others engaged in talent development. We are a community that epitomizes the concept of the “wisdom of the crowd”—and wisdom unshared is wisdom wasted. Share a learning tech tip or a link to a tech resource where members of your PLN, colleagues, or clients are likely to see it. This could be LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, Slack, or any ATD online Community of Practice.
  7. Take advantage of a formal or informal learning opportunity at least once a month. Look for ways to immediately use what you learned. This can be anything from attending an ATD chapter meeting, to viewing a webinar, to participating in a workshop, to immersing yourself in a conference such as the ATD 2016 International Conference & Exposition in Denver, May 22-25.
  8. Set aside time to occasionally try a new tech tool—particularly one with the potential to help you fill an unmet need. Tell others what you discovered that may be of use to them. The hands-on act of playing with something new often leads us to wonderfully unexpected revelations.
  9. Use learning tech tools in ways that expand your knowledge of those tools while also using them to benefit from the wisdom of your crowd. You can participate in a MOOC (massive open online course), tweet chat, Google+ Hangout, or Skype discussion.
  10. Grab an opportunity to do something that expands your own awareness and use of learning technologies. Now!
About the Author

Paul Signorelli is a San Francisco-based writer-trainer-consultant who remains active in ATD, the New Media Consortium, and the American Library Association at a variety of levels. He can be reached at paul@paulsignorelli.com and blogs at Building Creative Bridges (http://buildingcreativebridges.wordpress.com).

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