Trainers and Digital Environments

During the month of December and January research team of AppRaiser project was working to gather feedback from the trainers’ community to start a process of creating a web-based 360° professional development appraisal service for trainers and other training stakeholders.

The initial user research data collected from 23 online survey responses and 10 personal user interviews from trainers who are working internationally for at least 2 years and carry on several international training activities every year.

Based on the research we drew a detailed report for a platform design, and we decided to pick the most interesting bits for our international trainers community to share and open a discussion. The infographics present the results of the survey, in this post, we will contrast them with the data from the interviews.

First of all: why trainers use digital environments?

As it is presented in the infographic major reasons for using digital environments (By “digital environments” we understand such internet-based solutions as online platforms, digital tools or digital applications) are team communication, project coordination and planning training activities. Comparing this data with interviews, the answers were similar: main reason was communication and management.

The difference we spotted was that only 3 trainers (from 10 interviewed) stated they use digital environment for their learning and professional development comparing as its shown in the infographic to half of the survey respondents.

Secondly: in which digital environments trainers carry on their professional activities?

From the group of trainers that stated they use digital environments for professional activities, we asked what tools/ platforms they use. Both in the survey and in interviews the mention tools were similar. First place was taken over by Facebook. It is quite a surprise taking into account that Facebook is a social network and its primary mission was not connected to be a platform for professional activities. Next, on the list, we found famous and all very known Skype (communication reasons) and Google Drive (storage place and collaborative work). At the end of the, we found trendy Slack that as a tool for project management was already widely used in big companies and corporations and it’s slowly finding its place in the third sector and freelance world.

During the interviews discussing bit more about Slack we heard opinions that it got popular among trainers and started to be recommended all around and ‘‘If everyone else is using it so I need to use as well’ [interviewer]

Besides the pattern of a tool being commonly used very important was to note that the tool have to be easy to use, when the time is running no one wants to be bothered figuring out how to use it, when it’s simple it’s faster to internalise it with what we already use.

Thirdly: do trainers review their performance in digital environments?

During the survey big part of answers showed that trainers conduct self-assessment, feedback and review their performance online. Tools that they mention for doing it are mostly: google docs/forms created by themselves or a team they work with, 360 review (a business tool tested by the IYWT in a seminar in 2016) or Badgecraft.

Comparing it to interviews 7 out of 10 mentioned they use digital tools for the mentioned above purpose. Youthpass (4 interviewees), SALTO TOY profile (3 interviewees), Badgecraft (2 interviewees), ETS self-assessment (2 interviewees). Other answers were more individual about using ‘home-made’ questionnaires or using some national systems.

All the answers are quite different and that can be connected with different understandings of what are digital tools for self-assessment and reviewing. There are a very few environments/tools that are developed for self-assessment and reviewing purposes only.

And lastly: how about you dear trainer?

  • What are your reasons for using digital tools in your trainers work??
  • How open are you towards new tools for professional use? Do you think trainer community is ready for a game changer-appraisal service?

Please do comment answering the questions and contribute to discussion, we would like to know your opinion. For more information don’t hesitate to drop us an email on appraisal@iywt.org

And feel free to see a  detailed report for a platform design.

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