Author: Daniel Scott – Nottingham Trent University
I joined the DigiLearn Sector Community in 2019 through invitation and delivered the webinar ‘Enabling and empowering academics to create digitally interactive eLearning content with H5P’ back in June. From thereon I was invited to be a co-ordinator for the online community.
On 28th November 2019, I attended and presented at the first DigiLearn Sector Connect event, themed on ‘Developing the digital capability of our staff’. I was keen to attend the event to get better acquainted with fellow DigiLearn members and continue our conversations for developing digital capabilities in our institutions.
The event was everything I expected it to be: friendly people; welcoming, relaxed and informal atmosphere; practical takeaways; renewed enthusiasm and new contexts to consider. What the event allowed me to observe was the different digital capability approaches and interventions that have been implemented at institutions in different sectors. People shared passionately about what they had been doing, why they are doing it and the impact it has been having on individuals and the organisation. Whether that be visible changes in digital practices or a cultural change in attitude. To summarise, I found that the following aspects set the community apart from others:
- Clear agenda and structure – the format wasn’t restricting and didn’t avert from the main theme
- Collaborative and productive activities throughout that stimulated great discussions and ideas
- Different contexts and thinking – ideas and experiences from people outside of your ‘echo chamber’
- Practise and experimental-based – things that have been developed, tried and failed
- Not the same conversations and approaches with different technology
- Variety of people – how often do you get the chance to converse with both Further Education and Higher Education academics and professional services people in the same room
The presentations and presenters did an incredible job in articulating their endeavours. The keynote and PechaKuchas provided practical snapshots of current projects and initiatives that support and develop their contexts. At the end of the event I was invited to share my thoughts on ‘What has today’s DigiLearn Sector event inspired you to do?’ In response to this, I left with the following messages to reflect upon:
- How can we get a culture right from the beginning. What’s needed – mindset, values, resources etc.
- Different types of initiatives to enable and harness different engagement and motivation levels.
- Remember to have theory focus – underpin and highlight evidence-based research – helps with academic buy-in and belief.
- Accrediting essential digital learning programmes – links to PGCAP.
- Fresh attention to providing clear, attractive, accessible guidance, ‘how to’s- empowering business owners to create them.
- New contacts to reach out to.
The event also provides a platform to share efforts and developments to the field of digital capabilities, whether realised or not. I presented ‘Frustration, conception, solution – A narrative for change in progressing and transforming digital capabilities’, which offered insights and new perspectives from my role placed within Human Resources.