Designing Education with Technology: An Outside Perspective (Part 1)
Brett Settles, Global Director of Customer Success
Our problems are not unique to our industry.
When we think of the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) industry, we often think that many of our problems are unique to us. However, there are many challenges that we face that other industries also struggle with too.
I always love having conversations with technology-focused individuals from other industries to see what they are up to, how they have tackled issues and to think about how feasible it is to follow in their footsteps.
A few of the challenges we face in the AEC industry…
- How do we properly train and implement production software to attempt to keep productivity high but at the same time make sure we are staying current with technology?
- How can we implement technology to train workers for physical activities (such as operating machinery) in a safer and more controlled environment?
- How should we plan around end-user learning curves, and how do we properly monitor this progress?
- How do we use data to keep the focus where it is most valuable to our company?
- How do we scale this sustainably and adequately?
- How do we calculate a true ROI on technology?
- How do we efficiently onboard new employees and bring them up to speed ASAP with our current processes and workflows?
Problems can be fixed.
Luckily for me, I have two people close to me in my life that do this, the first being my wife, who works with Intellectual Property. She runs double duty like a BIM/VDC manager working in production and brainstorming to improve their software-based workflows and systems. As we discuss our workdays at the dinner table, I can’t help but notice many of the above questions popping up in both our stories.
The struggles are very similar, starting with the need to justify spending on technology. Moving through the process of finding out if it checks all the boxes and fits nice and snug in the workflow. Most importantly is “how do we empower our users to take advantage of this technology and be enthusiastic about it?”
The last one is tricky and can be the make or break factor in deploying any technology. If the users don’t use it, there is no value at all in the investment. If they are not well-informed, the value is negligible. Sometimes technology is a double-edged sword in that if not correctly deployed, it can hurt productivity, which is valid for the technical deployment and the human education part.
When we apply technology to advance learning, especially in virtual environments, I would like to bring up the second individual I referenced earlier, Eamonn Powers.
Eamonn currently serves as Manager of Product Design at Flight Safety International. He also is closing in on his Doctorate of Philosophy, focusing on Educational and Instructional Media Design.
Eamonn and I have had many conversations around the similarities in this area regarding our respective industries. Some are comforting, while some are worrisome, but they are always eye-opening regarding how people react, engage and learn with technology in the many forms and fashions. To apply technology in learning scenarios, the technology has to be appropriately deployed. It is the culmination of proper technical deployment and communication that makes this work.
In the second part of this blog post, Eamonn and I will have a conversation around the questions we face listed above. I plan to pick Eamonn’s brain on the topics that are always top of mind for us and see how those relate to the deployment of technology in training, in his current industry and others.
Outside perspectives are crucial to understanding and applying techniques to improve the way we learn as an industry. Prefab in construction, in many ways, is an outside perspective from the manufacturing industry.
Check out Part 2 HERE!