Pakuranga College DP, Billy Merchant explains taking staff with you on the e-learning journey is number one. Identifying and removing barriers is important for ensuring success. Not all staff will develop at the same pace or in the same way so provide a variety of learning approaches and avenues for support. Resourcing professional learning and change is another important key for success.
In terms of planning for success, number one for me, you’ve got to take staff with you. I think it’s really important that your e-learning journey starts with investing some real quality time with your staff and once again, it’s the why. You know, don’t tell people what you’re doing, you know, you’re not introducing e-learning, the why of what you’re doing is we’re doing it because we want to provide a much better educational experience for our students. And I think once teachers get that, they will buy in more.
And I think you’ve got to appreciate with e-learning and staff development and staff progress that people will develop at different speeds and for us what we’ve seen is a real move in our staff over a two to four year period. Some have been very rapid and are real trail blazers, some have adopted and slowly got their confidence and moved with that and I think it’s really important that you need to have patience with some people. It’s very easy to get quite negative and cynical around some staff that perhaps aren’t willing to move as fast as others, but once again it comes back to the support that you give for them. Don’t do it as a complete kind of add-on as something that’s been enforced.
Resourcing is massive, absolutely massive, and I think it’s appreciating that your staff, just like students, all learn in different ways and at different paces and at different times. And to have a one size fits all, we’re going to get every staff member to do this by this date, I just think you’re setting yourself up for lots of frustration and hurt. I think you need to basically move people when they’re ready but provide lots of different channels and lots of different avenues for support. Some people like one-to-one, some people like working in a group, some people like working online, some people like paper but find out what it is for each individual.
Removing barriers for us is a big thing. Let teachers vent, let them tell you why they don’t want to do something. Let them document it all down. Some of it might be hardware solutions, they’re easy fixes. For some people it might be that they’re scared and they don’t know so then you can target those people with support. I just think it’s really important to do those kind of audits, let staff have a vent, it’s not about them being negative, it’s about them genuinely sharing, “This is why I’m not up for this right now”, and once you understand that and don’t just make these random assumptions and one size fits all support processes, once you personalise that support, just like we do in the classroom, that’s when you’re going to get the traction and the benefits.