The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness of needs, challenges, and opportunities in the learning professions, including technical communication. Learners’ readiness and mental health are affected by stress, isolation, and inequity in the availability of digital resources when remote working. As technical communicators, we are forced to move beyond the basic challenge of simplifying complex content. We need to develop an elevated level of consciousness about the digital transformation of work and of learning, and the development of relationships in a multicultural technological society.
Until now, we have focused on WHAT users need to learn in order to use products effectively. It has now become urgent to also emphasise HOW humans relate to these products, HOW we humans express, in different cultures, our own particular vision of the phenomenological world. Young people entering the labour market are questioning WHY their potential employers do what they do, and demand that they do good in the world, for example contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Thinking ahead, it’s important for us not only to integrate technical, social and economic perspectives but also multiculturality, fair development, global sustainability, and ethical inclusion in the world of technical communication.
This workshop addresses how, living in a pluralistic world, we must expand our notions of who the actors are in a technical learning system. We’ll work together to understand how to include a broader spectrum of collaborators, and create different dynamics that help us consolidate a hybrid global model that is resilient in the face of rapid change and promotes sustainability.
We’ll explore the work of researchers like Marjorie Kelly, who have shown that it is impossible to express a “generative purpose” through an “extractive structural design.” This puts new focus on the questions WHOM WITH and WHAT FOR.
- WHOM WITH means asking if we have included all relevant stakeholders.
- WHAT FOR means designing a common purpose that gives meaning and long-term sense to our content as part of global evolution.
*Please bring your own laptop or mobile to participate in this workshop*
Ray Gallon is president and co-founder of the Transformation Society, which develops strategies for humanist digital transformation and organizational learning and researches the theory and practice of smart pedagogies. For over 50 years, Ray has worked as a communicator, educator and trainer in fields ranging from radio production and journalism to technical communication to management training and consulting.