Eighth in our series of 30 Under Thirty interviews is Bethany Burdt, Trainer / Technical Writer at Iowa State University Child Welfare Research
Maestro: Tell me a little bit about your company and your role within it.
Bethany: Iowa State University is a land-grant university based in Ames, Iowa. I work for a program called the Child Welfare Research and Training Program (CWRTP), which is located in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. CWRTP has partnered with the State of Iowa Department of Human Service's Child Support Recovery Unit (CSRU) to create and maintain training programs and materials, manuals, and other duties as necessary. I personally oversee the state required annual confidentiality training and learning management system user and trainer guides.
Maestro: Tell me about some of the things you are doing to stay current in the world of learning.
Bethany: To stay current, I attempt to attend every training opportunity available. I am on many e-mail lists for blogs, companies, and other resources in the learning field. I follow groups focused on teaching and learning through social media. I also stay current through reading books published in the field, as well as reading research studies that have been done in field or academic settings.
Maestro: What challenges do you see for the next generation of learning leaders - people like you?
Bethany: I think the biggest challenge facing trainers is a growth in the number of generations in the workplace. We are starting to see more generations than ever in the workplace due to younger individuals obtaining higher status jobs and older individuals choosing to not retire until later in their lives. Each generation has different wants and needs when it comes to their training programs. It is a challenge to create a training program to encompass all of the different preferences and needs of each generation while still creating an effective training tool.
Maestro: What excites you about the future of learning?
Bethany: Due to the popularity of video and computer games, gamification is making huge strides in the learning field. Many companies are on the fence about adding gaming to their learning programs because they are unsure of the effectiveness of gaming or are wary of gaming simply being a trend in the field. However, research studies are being done that prove the benefit of gaming in learning. Research is beginning to look at specifics in gaming, such as, scenarios, environment, and achievements to show their effectiveness. This research will serve as a push to companies on the fence concerning gamification and show them the benefits of gaming within their learning programs.
Maestro: What advice do you have for companies struggling to keep up with the changing landscape of learning?
Bethany: Be informed. Actively research learning trends and academic research studies. Be involved in learning groups through social media and follow blogs posted by individuals in the learning field. Conduct your own research through your training programs to see what will work for your company and your learners.
Interested in learning more about Bethany? Connect with her on LinkedIn