Who is a Learning Technologist?


Who is a Learning Technologist?

Education now aided with technology requires people who can help with all the tech hitches.

Like we have expert in every field of work similarly, there are learning technologist who are experts in the field of learning technology. They are the people we look up to in order to learn the best use of technology in education and also to resolve all our issues with the technology in use in education.

Learning technologists are people who are actively involved in managing, researching, supporting or enabling learning with the use of learning technology.”

The importance of these people will see a raise as the time passes as technology will become imperative in enabling efficient learning. Role of learning technologist is somewhat like advisory/consultancy role, enabling established teachers utilize technology to better impart their expertise to learners.

The eLearn Magazine speaks of a study that mentions the following points:

The Joint Information Systems Committee conducted a study to provide an in-depth audit of learning technology staff in British universities. Prior to this study, there was a lack of visibility and understanding of learning technologists' roles and needs. The study also provided a rich picture of multiple practices, activities and values of the learning technology staff that could be applied at other institutions. The study concluded:

- Approximately 7,500 learning technology specialist staff was working in the U.K. universities.

- Around 8,000 academic staff was actively working to embed learning technologies into learning and teaching activities.

-The role analysis identified 11 distinct roles, which were categorized in three groups:

1. New specialists included the roles of educational developer, educational researcher, technical researcher, developer, materials developer, project manager, and general learning technologist. They were described as the "true" learning professionals, multi-skilled individuals who are involved in the entire process of learning technology development.

2. Academic and established professionals included academic innovators and academic managers with an interest in learning technologies. They are working at a more strategic level.

3. Learning support professionals included technical support professionals and IT professionals. Unlike new specialists, they don't regard learning technologies as their professional identity.

Role of Learning Technologist:

- The work of learning technologists can be embedded in different roles in an organization, such as management, development, research, marketing, decision making, providing technical support, administration, and training levels.

- The nature of the profession is distant from a technical support service but more strategically, developmental, social and managerial. Learning technologists should definitely have broad knowledge of the current technologies and learning process.

- Their willingness to learn and share with other colleagues and stakeholders are some of the important characteristics that sets them apart from others.

- Learning technologists create opportunities and influence policy by following educational trends. With advancement in technology and adoption of technology in education, there is an emerging pedagogical focus along with online learning phenomenon.

- The work is dynamic and varied; therefore professional development is crucial to keep up with the new technologies and trends.

- Staff support and continuing development are essentials for organizational success in the field.

- In the interviews conducted, learning technologists' core professional values are excellence in education, student learning, building networks, focusing on change, innovation, commitment to disseminate good practice, and understanding the relationship between technology and learning.

- They are most often employed as teachers in schools and staff in corporate learning departments.

With tech on rise and leading to the times where technology plays a key role in each and everything we do, what importance does a learning technologist play according to you?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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