The development of an online format of volunteer training presents a variety of challenges worth considering. Learning takes place at different levels based on the commitment level and mode of accountability for volunteers (Rogers, 2000). The reality is that most volunteers are only looking for surface learning opportunities when, â€œthe student simply puts in the minimal effortâ€ (Rogers, 2000). A paradigm shift from teaching to learning is necessary in the volunteer training strategy of Christian Life Fellowship church in order for technology integration to take place.
Rogers states, â€œeffective use of technology in the classroom will require a paradigm shift from â€˜teachingâ€™ to â€˜learning,â€™ which will require adequate training in technology and learning styles, as well as adequate technical supportâ€ (Rogers, 2000). She presents the need for philosophical change of instructional opportunities before innovative technological strategies will be successful. At present, the volunteers who do take advantage of the offered monthly training sessions do so with the simple expectation of receiving information, rather than being part of any collaborative learning experience. The shift in thinking needs to take place from simply a desire to be â€œtaughtâ€ to a emphasis on learning together how to be a more effective teacher.
Rogers (2000) examines these issues involved in application within higher education settings. She notes that technology can only be as effective as its implementation within instruction. Beyond implementation, teachers utilizing technology within any educational setting must receive the proper training on the execution of the training within the technology-rich environment.
Rogers (2000) identifies three levels of technology adoption: personal productivity aids, enrichment add-ins, and paradigm shift. Within the volunteer development context where I am seeking to enhance the quality and methodology for training I recognize that enhancements must begin with the paradigm shift that Rogers identifies. Since change of this sort requires active leadership at the highest level (Rogers, 2000) I am putting forth the effort to develop well-planned instructional strategies which should will hopefully foster a new viewpoint on volunteer training; a mindset of life-long learning.
Rogers, D. L. (2000). A paradigm shift: Technology integration for higher education in the new millennium. Educational Technology Review, 1(13), 19-33.