Bring Your Own Device

Over the past few years, it has become popular for employers to allow and even encourage their employees to utilise their own computer and mobile devices within the workplace. The idea of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is an interesting one, and it presents both benefits and challenges for workers. As BYOD becomes more common, these advantages or disadvantages may become even more apparent. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of bringing your own device for use at work, and examine how this idea might apply to IT training.

Why BYOD Makes Sense

Employees at many companies in various industries are now being permitted to bring their own device for use in the workplace. In many ways this makes a lot of sense. For an organisation, eliminating the need to supply each and every employee with a computer, iPad, or other device would save tremendously on operating costs. Nearly everyone these days has a personal computer or device, so asking employees to bring their own would not generally be considered a burden. A portable device such as a laptop can also easily be transported from the home to the office, encouraging employees to "take their work with them," perhaps even catching up on projects while outside of work.

Bringing Your Own Device Could Have Real Benefits in Work and in Training

Using your own computer or device for work has the potential for great benefits. Both in day-to-day work and in the training environment, having your own device gives you a great advantage. While performing work on your device, using your own means you have a greater sense of the layout and organisation of the device. This may help make you more productive and efficient with your work. Existing familiarity with your device means you'll feel more comfortable using it. and when undertaking IT training, you will more readily be able to adapt to new concepts and technologies. As the device is your own, you can also easily bring it home to consider working on your IT training. This might mean that the BYOD idea allows trainees to more quickly acquire and improve upon new skills.

Challenges of the BYOD Concept

Despite the advantages, the BYOD concept presents some significant challenges. For the employee, the device must be supplied at your own cost, which could be an obstacle for some. In the event that you misplace the device or it gets stolen, the company won't replace it, and it will be your responsibility to purchase a new one. In terms of company safety, a personal device has the potential to get a virus and negatively affect the rest of the company. There is also the possibility that your device could be compromised, causing a leak of confidential information or a tragic loss of important business data.

Device Diversity as a Smart Option

For businesses who want to stick with the BYOD idea, there are options to protect both the business and the employee. A concept known as device diversity can ensure that there remains a division between devices and the overarching systems of the company. Device diversity connects business applications and programs to user identities as opposed to devices, allowing the users to access the programs from any device. The business IT department controls the companies data, leaving the individual users to control their own personal data and programs. This is a great approach both for work and for training, giving the employee to freedom of easy access to their data, while providing security for the business.

IT and The Future of Learning

Incredible growths in technology and innovation have begun to completely transform the reality of learning and education. In the face of these changing technologies, new approaches and methods for education have popped up in response. How is technology changing the landscape of learning? It would appear that these adaptations will alter everything from the way we learn to who is teaching and what information is being taught. As technology mutates education itself, new research and discoveries surrounding the workings of psychology and neurology are also constantly appearing. This fresh information about how the brain functions further influences the ways in which technology is affecting the future of learning.

Education in the Digital Age

The math department at Arizona State University recently undertook a unique approach to integrating technology and education. Most of the students completed their mathematics work inside a computer lab. A computer program the department developed would collect the students’ responses, analyse them to determine strengths and weaknesses, and then produce and individualised lesson plan for each student. In this example, the power of IT was harnessed to assist in improving the learning experience for each and every student. Unlike a blanket education method which may not be equally appropriate for all students, this program emphasised the importance of individual needs, utilising data as a guide.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education Professional Education program runs a project known as the Future of Learning Institute, or FoL, which explores innovative learning and training methods for professionals. One focus has been an implementation of digital programs social networks as part of blended learning solutions. This type of participatory learning which uses various methods and encourages ample discussion and collaboration, has proven very useful in training for professionals in the education field and in many other industries.

Finding What Works

In education and training, both methodology and engagement are important, and typically go hand in hand. With learning and skills development, a common practice is to focus on repetition and memorisation. According to psychology professor Dr. Mark McDaniel, these methods do not support long-term retention of material in any subject. He, along with other researchers, supports a blended approach that incorporates practicality into the training environment. Real experiences and interacting with the topic create memories or stories which we will better recall and which we can look to in the future when using those learned skills or pieces of information. In terms of IT training and learning, this means working through digital problems using the applications and skills we’re beginning to apply, with full instructor support available to guide us.

These technological advances are certainly no substitute for a quality teacher, however, which further substantiates the need for a mixed approach that blends a variety of methods and ways to grasp new skills. A vital aspect in these types of learning should always be an instructor-lead environment. Interaction and cooperation builds trust and confidence, and that is surely one of the greatest tools for learning.

5 Elements to Improve Your Success on the Job

We all want to succeed at work. Whether you've just landed your dream job, or are hoping for growth in your current field, there are many ways you can excel within your position. Here are 5 elements we believe are certain to help improve your success on the job.

1. Increased Efficiency

Your supervisors will love to see you growing more efficient in your work. One way to boost efficiency tremendously is to develop skills with computer programs and applications that can help streamline your work process. Building on even the most basic of efficiency-increasing skills can have amazing results. It also demonstrates great initiative to your employers.

If self employed or in management position, efficiency will enable you to tackle more projects and make more headway with your work. Constant improvement in your skills will help make you more productive and work much more quickly. Bonus points all round!

2. Versatility of Skills

Being versatile with your skills is an excellent asset in all career fields. For many positions, this means keeping up on new and emerging technologies, and a commitment to skills development. An investment in some useful IT training courses or workshops can have a great impact on your career, increasing your knowledge and efficiency as well as boosting your hire-ability in the job market.

3. Flexibility

Flexibility is a major key to success in any career or job field. When approached to tackle a new or unusual project, the best employees are ready for the challenge. Flexibility with regards to frequent changes in assignment, environment, and more is also extremely helpful. Within the IT field, it is an absolute necessity for an employee to be flexible, as constant new technology requires the continued need to adapt to new situations and technologies.

4. Can-Do Attitude (Willingness to Learn)

No matter where your skills stand, a can-do attitude just might be the single most important factor when it comes to career success. If you have a willingness to learn and make a strong effort to acquire new skills, you will be a great asset to any company. It is important to note, too, that those with a great attitude are generally those who do pick up new skills quicker. In short, a can-do attitude will get you much farther than a negative, resistant one will.

5. Bold Communication

Those who succeed on the job are those who aren't afraid to ask questions. Whether training to learn a new skill or embarking on a new, challenging project, the best workers ask intelligent question that improve their understanding and move them forward in their knowledge. Don’t be afraid to communicate with your supervisors, managers, training leaders, or co-workers when striving to understand new technology or acquiring new skills. Strong communication leads to more efficient and productive work and a better grasp of projects and goals.

Let these 5 elements be your guide in improving your current work performance. Increased efficiency, versatility of skills, flexibility, a can-do attitude, and bold communication are not only secrets of career success, but ways to be better in your everyday life as well.