Online Learning Skills – Opportunity or Hurdle for Trades Education?

The second reflective writing assignment of the PIDP 3100 course was to write about a chosen quote:

“Persevering at online learning is also affected by computer and information literacy, time management…online communication skills…self-esteem, feelings of belongingness in the online program and the ability to develop interpersonal skills with peers…” (P. 199)

(Bierema, 2014)

Objective

The Internet and mobile computing are the greatest disruptions of our lives since the invention of print. It permeates all areas of our lives, and we need to adjust to more changes than at any other time in history.

The introduction of online learning tools in trades education was not as widely developed as in more academic settings. The need to close classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a pivot to full online classrooms. As we come out of this phase, we need to find out what we can learn and how we can improve the service to our students.

Reflective

As I write this, educators and students are still working on analyzing what the impact of the switch to online class delivery means for the future. Many students and instructors thrived in the new environment, some suffered, and we discovered that for some the need for up-to-date computers and reliable internet access posed a hurdle.

Colleges, instructors and governments in Canada must work together to create equal opportunities for everyone. (Veletsianos, 2021)

While we are now bringing all students back into the classroom, some would rather continue participating from home. The need for childcare, cost and availability of housing, transportation and medical reasons are all factors that need to be considered.

Interpretive

According to Statistics Canada, the percentage of Canadian youth with internet access was higher than in other OECD countries. In 2018 this number was 74% (Statistics Canada, 2020). Yet, we have learned that we did not serve all students well when the pandemic forced us to close in-person classes.

Aside from the mentioned tasks for governments and institutions to provide equal access to high-speed internet and computer resources, we also need a changed attitude towards online technology in the trades.

“Tradespeople young and old need to learn seven core digital skills in order to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing work environment,” says Andrew Bieler, a Senior Research Associate at the Conference Board of Canada. “These seven digital skills are technical, information management, digital communication, virtual collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving in digital environments.” (The Conference Board of Canada, 2020)

Decisional

Many of the students we see in the trades, foundation programs are less academically minded, and are looking for a career that is hands-on and offers tangible results. Computer skills are often low on the priority list. We owe it to these students to show them how to use online technology for research, manuals, online ordering, project management and reporting and other tasks. (BCIT, n.d.)

The use of cell phones during shop classes is generally still prohibited. I plan to challenge the related rules and show my students how to use helpful apps and searches to make their work life more efficient and productive.

I am very excited to be teaching my first theory classes in January, using a blended model where I will be presenting in a classroom but also available to students that choose to participate online.
I hope the result will be to give everyone the option to participate in the way they want and provide students with a helpful recording in case they need it later.

I am very aware that the rapid change in our lives can be unsettling for many. It is our task to show future generations how to use online technology to create richer, more productive lives.

Objective

The Internet and mobile computing are the greatest disruptions of our lives since the invention of print. It permeates all areas of our lives, and we need to adjust to more changes than at any other time in history.

The introduction of online learning tools in trades education was not as widely developed as in more academic settings. The need to close classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a pivot to full online classrooms. As we come out of this phase, we need to find out what we can learn and how we can improve the service to our students.

Reflective

As I write this, educators and students are still working on analyzing what the impact of the switch to online class delivery means for the future. Many students and instructors thrived in the new environment, some suffered, and we discovered that for some the need for up-to-date computers and reliable internet access posed a hurdle.

Colleges, instructors and governments in Canada must work together to create equal opportunities for everyone. (Veletsianos, 2021)

While we are now bringing all students back into the classroom, some would rather continue participating from home. The need for childcare, cost and availability of housing, transportation and medical reasons are all factors that need to be considered.

Interpretive

According to Statistics Canada, the percentage of Canadian youth with internet access was higher than in other OECD countries. In 2018 this number was 74% (Statistics Canada, 2020). Yet, we have learned that we did not serve all students well when the pandemic forced us to close in-person classes.

Aside from the mentioned tasks for governments and institutions to provide equal access to high-speed internet and computer resources, we also need a changed attitude towards online technology in the trades.

“Tradespeople young and old need to learn seven core digital skills in order to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing work environment,” says Andrew Bieler, a Senior Research Associate at the Conference Board of Canada. “These seven digital skills are technical, information management, digital communication, virtual collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving in digital environments.” (The Conference Board of Canada, 2020)

Decisional

Many of the students we see in the trades, foundation programs are less academically minded, and are looking for a career that is hands-on and offers tangible results. Computer skills are often low on the priority list. We owe it to these students to show them how to use online technology for research, manuals, online ordering, project management and reporting and other tasks. (BCIT, n.d.)

The use of cell phones during shop classes is generally still prohibited. I plan to challenge the related rules and show my students how to use helpful apps and searches to make their work life more efficient and productive.

I am very excited to be teaching my first theory classes in January, using a blended model where I will be presenting in a classroom but also available to students that choose to participate online.
I hope the result will be to give everyone the option to participate in the way they want and provide students with a helpful recording in case they need it later.

I am very aware that the rapid change in our lives can be unsettling for many. It is our task to show future generations how to use online technology to create richer, more productive lives.

References

BCIT. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://qh6n4a9.sharing.bublup.com/ui/landing_page?item_id=001-i-9139aa81-9051-4c83-a348-2437038002b9

Bierema, S. B. (2014). Adult Learning. In S. B. Bierema, Adult Learning Linking Theory and Practice (pp. 1-41). Jossey-Bass.

Petscheleit, F. (2021, October 20). 2021 Trends in Adult Education. Retrieved from Frithjof’s Blog: https://frithjof.blog/2021/10/20/2021-trends-in-adult-education/

Statistics Canada. (2020, 12 14). Digital literacy skills of Canadian youth compare favourably with the OECD average. Retrieved from statcan.gc.ca: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/201214/dq201214a-eng.htm

The Conference Board of Canada. (2020, September 15). Digital Skills Are Critically Important to the Future Success of Tradespeople. Retrieved from The Conference Board of Canada: https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2020/09/15/2093659/0/en/Digital-Skills-Are-Critically-Important-to-the-Future-Success-of-Tradespeople.html

Veletsianos, G. (2021, April 19). What has COVID-19 taught us about the barriers to online education? Retrieved from Policy Options: https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/april-2021/what-has-covid-19-taught-us-about-the-barriers-to-online-education/

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