Another dot in the blogosphere?

Administrative vs learner needs

Posted on: January 20, 2015

Administrative tasks should support learning, not the other way around. That is the theory anyway.

We have administrative forms to fill largely because we have people we are accountable to. Hardly anything happens before real or electronic paperwork is completed first. There are big things like proposals, MOUs, and partnerships, and smaller things like permission slips, survey forms, and report cards.

But people whose job is to administer often lose sight of, or worse, are blind to what is important. The administration is meant to enable learning possibilities. Unfortunately, red tape often does the opposite.

Educators experience how IT infrastructure and policy dictate or limit use educational technology instead of enabling it. This could mean locking out devices, blocking websites, or otherwise preventing timely access.

As I do work in the background to make teacher education workshops to happen, I experience an assortment of administrative practices.

Some administrative tasks are easy to rationalize. I work with different agencies and need to get paid. So I jump through the hoops to make sure that happens in whatever system I am working with.

Some administrative tasks seem to be designed to confuse, delay, or obstruct. Others are blatantly childish, churlish, or calculative.

Like a child using a parent as a shield, some people hide behind policy or bureaucracy instead of focusing on needed change. Others ignore communication or fail to respond in a timely manner.

Still others try to get most bang for the buck to the detriment of their learners. For example, a potential partner might want to reduce the number of workshops needed or increase the number of attendees. These actions make sense if you only play the numbers game and ignore things like instructional design, modelled pedagogies, and learning experiences.

There are reasons for why there are six sessions and not four or why a workshop is for a classroom of learners instead of a lecture hall. I create experiences and I want participants; I do not do gatherings of attending zombies. I design time, space, and opportunities to optimize learning; I do not focus on a pay cheque.

Administrators is another group of people I need to educate. I can see why the administrative tasks need to be done. They must see why is it important to focus on the learner and learning.

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