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Technology Training

Training Strategies to adapt to technological changes:

Those of us involved in creating training programs should emphasize the need for training in technology fundamentals, not proprietary products or tools. For example, it is important to realize that good researchers still look for information in many different ways, whether in a library with dusty card catalogs or using internet search engines. No training efforts should ever fall into the trap of categorizing all human quests for information or knowledge with one easy to remember wordmark. It is entirely too limiting a practice. The one stop info shopping campaign of for-profit internet companies is a crime against good education, not a benefit.

Consider putting renewed emphasis on the ‘tool-up” phase, with a focus on choosing tools that cater to the design process, and even project management. There are many good applications out there that help with generic “productivity”, but that’s not what designing is about. Designing is about virtual reality, be it in your head, on paper, or computer. Designing allows you to visualize and experiment and conceptualize before picking up the hammer or chisel. My own opinion is that a project has not been given full consideration until ALL design methods are employed. That’s because the wonderful thing about design is that you may see a potential problem in a sketch, or a print out of a computer generated design that you did not see on-screen or in the scoping phase of a project. In art schools, it is a common practice to turn a painting upside down in order to analyze abstract design elements and balance. There are things you can see better in a painting turned upside down even though you are still looking at the exact same painting.

Evaluate software and technological tools based on the magic wand principle. Don’t ask what the software can do. Write down what you want the software to do in a perfect world, and then work towards that goal or as close to it as you can get. Often you may need to make compromises, but those are informed ones. For those willing to be hands-on and eclectic, a grouping of computer tools will usually create the work-flow or design environment desired.

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