Learning Technologist

‘Yes, but what do you do?’

So second post as a Learning Technologist, and after a rather good response from my first, I’m quite enthused to keep this going! So first of all thank you to all the support and feedback on my last post. This time I want to cover something I have experienced, and no doubt other LT’s have too: the ‘What do you do?’ question. I’ve struggled with this from my parents to insurance companies, and although it can be frustrating, I kind of take a little bit of pride in it. Something that I hope others do too!

Let’s start with the basics, my Parents. This all ensued the Christmas after I went to Uni, with the, ‘I don’t think I want to be a teacher anymore’ panic, followed by the ‘What are you going to do then’ fiasco. After a bit more time at university I decided that I wanted to go into some type of higher education role, and with a keen interest in eLearning, this seemed like the ideal role for me. Good. Let’s calm my parents down. Well, it’s safe to say that the conversation went down like a lead balloon. Trying to explain the role to two people who still use post it notes stuck to the side of a laptop, it’s safe to say they wouldn’t be understanding any time soon. So I rounded off with a, ‘It’s a job that varies where ever you go,’ and left it at that. Nearly a month in and a phone call every couple of days telling them what I’ve been up to and I still get ‘Okay, but what do you actually do.’

The next experience I had of this lack of understanding was with my car insurance company. Obviously needing to change my occupation from student to learning technologist. I was optimistic to say the least when I said I was a Learning Technologist. The following response that followed was ‘Oh right, you teach technology.’ No, no, no my friend, it’s a bit different, I work with technology in education. ‘Oh, so you work in I.T.’ Nope. ‘You’re a Teacher then.’ Nope – is there any sort of educational support? After 20 minutes on the phone, I think I ended up being a Teacher…

The last memorable conversation, (there’s been plenty), was with a guy on holiday. Sat on the beach with a pint we got chatting, conversation ensued and we got to the ‘what do you do question.’ After a couple of minutes explaining that I had an interview the following day for a LT position and explaining all the things I would be doing (yes, I was excited). He turned away, taking a sip of his beer and ever so straight faced said, ‘Yes, my son works with computers too. ’ Ugh.

Now I know this can be frustrating, but after a while you get used to, even see the funny side! Personally I take pride in knowing that I have a job in a field that’s at the forefront of education. The fact that people haven’t heard of the job role makes me think that I’m doing something worthwhile, that many others don’t know what it’s all about. Plus, who doesn’t like being a smarty pants about something!!!


My First Three Weeks as a Learning Technologist

It’s been three weeks since I started my new job as a Learning Technologist, so I thought it was about time that I transverse my ideas about the experience so far. Frankly, after a big move and starting only one week after moving, it was safe to say it was a bit of a hectic first few weeks, but I was a good mixture of nervous and excited in my first week. Through coming straight out of university, and the role seeming to be different where ever you go, I didn’t know really what I was going to be doing in my first week, so it was nice to start on a cpd day, where I had a good idea of what was going on.

The experience of starting a new job is always daunting, however, it was completely different this time around. I think the reason why it felt so different is because after 7 years of working in the leisure industry, I was now starting a completely different type of job, a career even. So instead of turning up doing the same job every week for 8 hours then leaving, I would have a continuous work load, with new challenges every day. And for anybody who knows me well, I knew I would thrive in this environment. However, at first, it was quite hard to get into that routine. But the staff at my new job were extremely helpful, approachable and just generally supportive, and although I took in lot of information and a lot of new practices in the first week I loved it!!!

Going into my second week I felt that I could now achieve some things on my own, get on with certain things and just ask for more jobs when I got others done. However, the type of jobs I found myself doing in my second week I would have never thought I would have been doing. But that is the beauty of being a Learning Technologist, you never know what you are going to be doing until you get there. I’m learning more about the policies that are in place, the procedures and the training that is given.

So going into my third week I had more of an idea of what I was doing. My workload was now my workload, jobs got passed on to me, and staff came for help and I could just assist them without help from others. I also found my normal jobs that I will be taking over, so as well as FELTAG and other generic Learning Technologist jobs, I will be taking over the eLearning blog and twitter, and looking after and creating case studies. I also had the chance to deliver a training session with another LT, which I loved, and cannot wait to get back in to the teaching/training side of things again. I have my first 1:1 training session this week and an open day to look forward to.

So all in all, I love my new job, and can officially say that moving and taking this job was the best decision I’ve made for a long time. I look forward to going to work, to see what awaits me, and I think any job where you can say that is a good one! I look forward to seeing what else awaits me in the job role and hopefully this is the start of an ever growing blog of the life of a Learning Technologist!
Learning Technologist