Taking Ownership of “Technology First” with Organization-Wide Education
Today’s technology is a natural support for the activities of our daily lives. We rely on technology to wake us in the morning, track our fitness and health data, navigate unfamiliar places and routes, and interact with friends and family. While today’s technology is wonderfully capable of connecting us to the world, it can also feel disruptive – we may feel a need to continuously adapt, especially at work.
As we approach the new decade, the majority of Americans (almost 70%, according to one survey) anticipate continued shifts in their jobs due to increasing automation and digitization. This growing shift is particularly challenging for disability support providers, who are expected to be at the forefront of technology and person-centered supports while also being under greater pressure to do more with decreased funding.
With technology transforming how organizations provide direct and natural supports, it is critical that they train and re-skill staff, not only for the application of technology, but also for job responsibilities that are rapidly evolving.
At SimplyHome, we developed our online learning system to meet this specific set of challenges.
Our partnership with Tennessee Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (TN DIDD) has allowed us to pilot courses and resources as part of their three-year Technology Transformation Project. (Watch Carl’s story and be sure to meet Brad.) This partnership with the TN DIDD program has also allowed us to study the benefits of our online courses for participating organizations and their staff.
Post-course survey data indicated several key benefits of organization-wide education from SimplyHome:
Staff were more likely to engage in the application of tech as a natural support.
Staff took greater ownership of the evolving corporate culture and support model.
Flexible online courses allowed for affordable and accessible skill development.
Greater consistency in organizational mission and programming practices.
Staff understood the relevance of technology as one tool for support, not as a replacement for the direct support provided by staff.
Staff moved towards becoming mentors, instructors, and support for each other.
As “Technology First” takes center stage in the I/DD world, organizations and states are asking what it takes to attain this status. From SimplyHome’s front-row seat to this discussion, one thing is clear: When organizations commit to long-term, sustainable development of their staff, equipping them to evolve with the changing times, and embracing employees as the most important component of technology integration, everyone wins. With education, we all move forward together.
Read the full white paper by Cameron Kempson, M.Ed., SimplyHome’s Director of Education: “The Value of Organizational Education and Reskilling in the Age of Enabling Technology”