Current best practice for tech training: Find 20-30 people, put them in the same room and have a guru walk them through a specific curriculum. The idea of getting 30 random people in a room and keeping them in synch is inefficient at best and downright painful for many. Can you imagine trying to teach 30 people to play piano at the same time? The most confident would be frustrated by how slow the class is and the slowest would be embarrassed they cannot keep up with the pace.
Since the current best practices with tech training are not working to get more people involved, engaged, and comfortable with the fast paced change of technology, I propose a different approach. Instead of trying to teach en masse, try using a personalized three touchpoint strategy:
Make it personal means to find a way to use the technology on something the person is very passionate about. Love gardening? Let’s show you the apps for that. Love to bake? Lets 3d print some personalized cookie cutters. Making it personal allows people to retain their dignity because they are engaged with a subject they know a lot about while learning new ways to engage with tech.
Make a connection means using technology to connect with people they care about. Does your Aunt love turtles? 3d print a turtle keychain. Grandpa’s birthday coming up? Make a video montage of pictures for him. Making connections with tech overcomes the stigma of tech interfering with our family and friends time.
Make it useful means using technology to assist us in everyday tasks. Need a place to stash your change in your car? 3d print a change compartment for the bottom of your cupholders. Need to send out a bunch of personalized invitations? Learn mail merge. Making it useful means finding ways for tech to work for you instead of feeling overwhelmed by it.
This is what we do at our technology centers… and it works.
We are overcoming stereotypes and breaking down the barriers that keep seniors, minorities, varied gender, other abled, and economically distressed people from keeping up with technology. The next time you feel intimidated to learn or engage with technology, or want to help someone else learn tech, try the three touchpoints strategy.