About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Need help on Work literacy presentation

Thursday I am presenting to a group of instructional design researchers (mostly at the University at Albany) about the discussions we have had on the work literacy blog. Specifically, I would like to encourage them to help in creating an agenda on research in work literacy, starting at the primary school level and working up to the adult education level.

Even though we have been discussing work literacy as it pertains to the workplace, we should begin to integrate these competencies in our educational system to prepare future generations for the knowledge economy.

So my question is:

  • what should I include in my presentation?
  • what research would you like those doing instructional design research to be conducting? In other words, what are some of the most pressing research questions that we, at the university, should be investigating?
  • How can we tie the various levels of education together to better prepare workers for the workplace of the future?
Because I am very interested in hearing the perspective of those worldwide, who might feel intimidated writing in English, I have the following for those that speak Spanish, French, and German (please excuse my grammar). Unfortunately, I don't write Italian, Portuguese, or Dutch, but I can read it, so if you would like to contribute in those languages, feel free to do so.

Para ellos que habla espanol, escribeme en espanol sobre la formacion de trabajo (work literacy) y las competencias que empleos nesicitan en el economia nueva (de conocimienta). Que quiera saber y investigar sobre este topica?

Pour vous qui parlez francais: ecrivez-vous en francais de le topic de formacion dans le bureau (work literacy) et les outils nouveaux, ce que c'est necessarire pour le travailler dans l'economie d'connaisance. Qu'est que vous voulait les rechercheux de recherche de ce topic?

Auf Deutsch, will Ich das Sie, uber arbeitlesefahigkeit (work literacy) scriben. Ich kenn das es viele gedenks uber arbeiten in Deutsch gebt. Also, was wollen sie mehr uber arbeit in die wissenwirkschaft wissen?


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

Michele Martin has identified some key areas in a recent post that you and I commented on. You mentioned in your comment that there was a need for "a concerted effort to 'teach' analysis because it is not a natural process for most people."

I agree with you on this one and believe that this would be a good place to start. My pitch would be on teaching analysis skills for these are certainly needed and are also the ones you suggested should be taught. How we best go about this would be a theme for discussion.

From the point of view of starting research, scanning and sifting the Internet these days would be a place to begin. Without the necessary skills to do this, a beginning researcher is at a major disadvantage.

Go for it Virginia!

Ka kite

mewcomm said...

Hello Virginia...

Some "work literacy" observations for your presentation:

1) Tie employee reviews and compensation to the adoption of and demonstrated competence with new methods and tools. Hit the workplace underachievers where it hurts. In the pocketbook.

2) Stop enabling those who cannot or will not learn. Discourage, (even penalize) employees that assist others in performing routine software/workflow tasks. Those that cannot do the job should be dismissed.

I know these suggestions sound barbaric to you academics but it's time for people to take responsibility for themselves. This is not to dismiss the fast moving dynamics facing educators or mock some of the very interesting challenges you and your colleagues are working on. Work place literacy skills (or lack thereof are also a leadership issue in American companies.)

The amount of wasted time time and efficiency due to poor work literacy skills is staggering. This you know. There are so many studies supporting this claim that one need not even cite the source.

And by the way.... each weekend I spend one hour on Lynda.Com in a hopeless attempt to keep up with the blistering pace of work tools and collaborative change.

Thanks for interesting posts.

V Yonkers said...

Ken: Read my post tomorrow about the feedback I got on my presentation, as the group seemed to agree with you (along with some interesting additional points)

Mike: Thanks for the comment. I'm not sure I agree with you, though, on the efficiency part. As I have written before on this blog, my experience has been that companies say they want workers with one set of skills, but in fact they hire for a specific skill that is needed at the time. My philosophy is they get what they choose: a worker with discrete skills rather than a worker that can grow with the company.

However, I especially don't like the way "efficiency" is used (either in the academic setting or the workplace) as a quantitative measure of output. I feel our world economy has shifted from a "commodity" model to a value added, knowledge economy. This means that workers need to have more than the ability to produce more in a standard format.

An example would be when I called my internet service provider. In an effort to be "efficient", the customer service agent went through the standard questions to diagnose my problem. The problem: my computer and set up did not fit the "standards" so the questions meant nothing. What was "efficient" was to go through the set questions, identify the problem, get off the line for the next customer. What really happened was that she ticked me off, so I hung up, and considered discontinuing the service. She was wasting MY time, but her time was spent efficiently for the company. The next person I called, talked me off the edge, calmed me down, then asked me questions and answered my questions until we had negotiated an understanding. This was necessary for him to complete his work, but not necessarily the most efficient process from the company's stand point. However, the outcomes between the first and second worker were very different. This is what I think we are trying to figure out with the work literacy. How do we balance the old efficiency models still being used to measure outcomes, with the new demands of knowledge work?