Someone gave me a great tip for the new year; don't make resolutions, make goals. Having recently gone through a fantastic leadership program last year, this stuck out for me. A resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. A goal is the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. If I don't complete a resolution, it seems like a failure. If I miss a goal, I still succeeded at making an effort.
In relation to the trends currently happening in technology and learning, here are my goals for the new year:
- THE CLOUD. Box.com, Dropbox.com, Google Docs, Microsoft OneDrive, Jumpshare.com, or Copy.com offer free and paid solutions. I've already begun to move my files to share to the cloud and it's made my life easier. I provide a simple URL when people ask for a file or folder. If my computer is ever lost or stolen, no worries. Everything is a login away. Depending on the service and your plan, you can even embed files or folders. You can view an example at my site, http://its.unl.edu/itskills/handouts.
- WEARABLES. Okay, so this is a tech trend and for myself, I really don't have a good example on using this for training and learning. However, I will make it a goal to learn more to see if there is a use for what I do. If you have an example, please offer it in the comments below.
- MOBILE. Everybody tells you to think mobile, but what that really means for you can be interpreted many ways. For some, it means creating a mobile app. For others, it can be ensuring your website can be viewed on a mobile device. Make it a goal to find what options you need to consider and learn more about it. I'm lucky as the mobile option is built into our website templates and our cloud storage has a mobile app already.
- ONLINE. It used to be that online training and learning meant a floppy disk (for you old folks) or a CD-ROM. Then came web-based training (WBT) which consisted of watching recorded video tutorials via the web. Now it can also include instructor-led training (ILT). No, it's not face-to-face, but the next best thing. Last year I began to play around with delivering live training via Adobe Connect. I've had a great response. I thought this would be mostly from our outlying campuses and offices, but many people attended from here on the UNL campus. Why? First, no commute time. Whether that means walking or driving (and let’s not even get into the parking thing), it saves them time. Second, weather. No one wants to get out when it's pouring rain or freezing cold. But to get back on track, I'm adding more online training to the schedule this year. Although UNL has a license for Adobe Connect, there are many other options such as Zoom.us, BlueJeans.com, Skype for Business, GoToMeeting and WebEx.com. I've used all of them and they all are great systems. Pick one and try it out.
- ANALYTICS. I know this sounds weird as a tech trend, but I've added it anyway. If you haven't found a good way to record and report on what you do, explore the options and find one. Not only does it help you report your worth for what you provide, but it is a great help when forecasting trends for the future. I couldn't put together a training schedule without it. Some systems have reporting built in. I end up downloading data and formatting it in Excel for the answers I need.
- OPEN-SOURCE. Look for the options. There are a ton already out there so you don't need to recreate it. Do you have some great training? Share it. Learn more about protecting your work at CreativeCommons.org. If you took the time to view my handouts from goal #1, you'll notice they come with the CC attached. Since I teach technology, you can find a lot of my favorite resources to share at http://its.unl.edu/itskills/learning-demand.
- SOCIAL. Social media can be used for so much more than just posting about your day. Create a group in Facebook for new employees, departments or training classes. Make a twitter account to tweet tips, tricks and other things learned. Use Instagram to share new training tidbits. There are a ton of options, so get creative.
- HAVE FUN. Okay, so this is not tech related, but it is always a goal of mine. Have fun in your training, have fun in your job, and have fun in your life!
Please don't try all of these goals all at once. Pick one. Just one, and begin. It doesn't have to be perfect. Make mistakes and make changes. Not all technologies are designed for everyone and every situation. Most important, don't be afraid to fail. Good luck with your new year's goals!