When Job Reps returned to in-person training for the first time in 2022, there was another first: training has gone paperless. Reps attending the Foundations course on Tuesday 8 March at ANMF (Vic Branch) HQ were the first trial group, and feedback was uniformly positive.
Prior to the pandemic, course attendees would receive many paper handouts on the topics and information covered in the sessions. The transition to online training ended this practice, but with the return to face-to-face training the Branch committed to capitalising on the learnings from, and digital resources established, over the last two years – with financial, environmental and educational benefits.
With the new delivery format, all course information is now digital. Reps don’t need to bring anything with them to class – at the start of the session, they are provided with repurposed Surface Pro 4s (previously used by Branch staff), pre-loaded with all the program content as well as the program whiteboard, uploaded and ready for use.
The Miro Online Whiteboard is the centrepiece of the new delivery format. Says Branch Job Representative Training Coordinator Jo Denton, it was chosen for its overall user friendliness and cost effectiveness, as well as recommendations by others working as educators across many sectors. Among its benefits are:
- the capacity to retain individual whiteboards and all their resources for an indefinite period beyond a training program
- it’s still actively being improved and enhanced
- there’s a phone version of the desktop app, allowing Reps to access notes and information from their phones at any time.
Debra Smith, an enrolled nurse at the Royal Children’s Hospital where she’s been a Job Rep since 2010, was one of the Reps doing the course on 8 March. Debra had previously done the Foundations course and was returning for a refresher. The digital delivery is a definite improvement, she said. ‘I’m not that tech savvy but I like it a lot better than having to write everything down, as we did before.’
Despite not being tech savvy, Debra said she had enjoyed using the computers (thanks to receiving easy-to-follow instructions) and hadn’t noticed any glitches – other than her own ‘technology efforts’. She strongly supported the move to digital delivery in general. ‘I think it’s great. Previously, you’d likely take the paper handouts home and just end up losing them. If it’s online, you can always revert back to it if you need to, whenever you want.’
Classmate Trudy Brown, a registered nurse at Northern Hospital, is a first-timer for the course, having stepped into the Job Rep role at the end of 2021. Like Debra, Trudy is impressed with the paperless format. ‘The technology is really good,’ she said.
Being ‘very new to the role of a Job Rep’, Trudy said she was dealing with information overload and emphasised that the digital delivery made it easier to sort through all that information, and to find it again easily. ‘Knowing that I can bring up the slides and templates again at any time and refresh what I learned so that I can actually take it in makes it much easier.’
She also notes the benefit of not having to take copious handwritten notes in class. ‘I need to go back and look at the Rep rights,’ she explained, ‘and that’s all I’ve written down.’ Those few words will now be a prompt to log back in and review all the course content on Job Rep rights at a time that’s convenient. Another benefit, she noted, was that ‘we didn’t have to bring anything with us, and we don’t have to take anything when we leave, because everything has been sent to us via email.’
Royal Children’s Hospital registered nurse Sarah Ellson is also a first-timer. A brand new Job Rep, and ‘pretty good with technology’, Sarah praised the ‘straightforward’ format for keeping her attention, and making it easy to ‘learn everything’.
Other Reps praised the sustainability aspects of having less paper to ‘just end up in landfill’ as well as the technology’s general ease of use. Overall, the first paperless in-person training session proved successful, and the format will continue.