When I was at Primary School, blackboards were still in active use, we’d battle to be the child to get to wipe the board! My own children look at me as though I’m a relic when I say this, as they now only know white boards. They also look at me with confusion when I say we used to have “computer time” once a week, with a BBC computer. They work on a computer regularly at school, and have no idea what a BBC computer was. But it’s not just classroom equipment which has altered, the ways in which we can learn has also changed dramatically.
Searching for the answer
Step back twenty years.. You need to know the answer to a question, what do you do? Well, you pop to your local library or even the Reference Library (remember those? – Do they still exist?!) and the nice librarian helps you find the page you need to photocopy. Today, the process is often done by turning on the computer and searching the internet. I know I find myself searching the internet for which books I will need to refer to once I get to a library! Yes, the internet has changed the way we learn. Crucially, it has given us freedom to learn on the go.
In the work place too, in days gone by we would learn from someone who had been with the company a long time. There was no continuity between companies – or even departments – in the standard of training. If a company wanted staff to have formal qualifications it meant sending them to evening classes, or losing full days while they attended college. It wasn’t always a viable option. But, staff training can also lend a hand to staff retention, something many companies have known for a long time. Today, there are companies who specialise in organisational learning. Training can be targeted to specific requirements, and developed around the needs of an organisation. Most importantly, training and development can fit in with the needs of the organisation.
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