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Going Digital

By Steve Bentall, sports coach UK Coaching Network Manager

In my previous blog ‘Going Native’ I started to look at the concept of providing learning to a generation of digital natives. I asked as providers of training how sports coach UK could adapt our training provision to meet the needs of future learners. Technology is playing a greater role in coaching. Access to smart phones and tablets is at an all-time high and around 93% of coaches find them a useful aid in their coaching.

Prior to writing this, I read this paper by Marc Prensky (which interestingly was written 15 years ago) that introduces ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital immigrants’. The paper begins to identify some key characteristics in the way that digital natives like to learn, and one that really stood out for me was graphics before text. So here’s one for the natives with content that will no doubt help the immigrants along…

Recently, the London Sport blueprint for a physically active city acknowledged that technological advances have changed every aspect of how we live our lives and that physical activity and sport needs to be at the forefront of exploiting technological opportunities.

As learning providers we should be aware when creating learning for the natives that it needs to be flexible and available on demand. Digital natives are constantly connected, they don’t dip in and out of being online and they want access to information quickly, in their own time and in a way that allows them to share content. They learn with YouTube often cited as a main source of learning for younger coaches looking for skills and drills. They use the internet as a first port of call for resources, learn on the job allowing the system to teach them and they don’t use manuals, they’ve grown up in a world where they open a smart phone for the first time and just ‘know’ how to use it. If you spent the first 10 minutes after you opened your first iPhone looking for the manual, you’re definitely a digital immigrant in this new world.

Our own research is now telling us that 98% of younger coaches are likely to use online resources in the future. They share their ideas through networking with others and are the creators of blogs, vlogs and grams as a way to learn.

But does online learning work for coaching? Leave a comment or tweet me to let me know your thoughts.

Image credit to John Atkinson, Wrong Hands at https://wronghands1.wordpress.com/