LBS Practitioner Training

Professional development support for Literacy and Basic Skills educators in Ontario

1.5 Information Management

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Information management is a big part of the job for LBS practitioners. While instructors have always kept student records, managing information in the LBS Program brings record-keeping to a whole new level. Gathering background information for learner profiles, creating detailed training plans, planning individualized programming, tracking learner activities and learner progress, keeping attendance records, reporting class statistics, filing, and creating paper trails are now all part of everyday work.

Documentation in the LBS program is important to:

  • Learners - because it provides the concrete evidence that this program is helping them make progress towards their individual goals,
  • Practitioners - because it ensures consistency in the way programs in various locations are run and provides evidence of an instructor’s professional competence,
  • Program Managers - because it provides the evidence they need to show MTCU how Program Guidelines are being met,
  • MTCU - because it provides the information they need to see that their dollars are well-spent, and that the LBS program in Ontario is successful.

Despite the rationale for all the paper work, increased expectations for record-keeping and information management has created a significant organizational challenge for many LBS instructors.

Strategies for working successfully at this part of the job are as varied as the people who use them, and Module 6 offers some concrete help in this area. Meanwhile, here are a few maxims from fellow instructors who say that these ideas work for them.


Strategies for Effective Information Management


  • Be clear about what is expected.
    Make sure you have a complete list of all the information-gathering and reporting tasks that are required. Have a clear understanding of how the forms should be filled out. Get the information you need about when reports are due, to whom they are given, and how information should be processed and transferred.
  • Don’t put off until tomorrow….
    Chip away at information management (IM) tasks every day, and never let them pile up higher than three feet. (smile) The annoyance to yourself of thinking about undone tasks drains your energy and steals thinking time in unproductive ways.
  • Start the day off right.
    Schedule one important task for each morning that won’t take long to complete. (Say, 15 minutes?) Finish that job without interruption as soon as you arrive at work. The positive push of getting a top-priority task completed will propel you through the rest of the day.
  • Block IM time into your day plan.
    Let learners know that information management is an important part of your job that you must do on a regular basis. Have the learners work on some independent study or skills practice that will not require close monitoring from you. (Perhaps have them monitor each other’s work.)
  • Develop your own plan of attack.
    IM tasks should never take you by surprise. You should know (and if you don’t know already, find out) what record keeping is expected, and when reports are due. Develop a plan so that you always know when you are going to work on what. In that way, you take control of this part of your job; it won’t take control of you.
  • Follow the plan.
    I once knew a teacher who kept the most incredible, colour-coded, shaded, numbered and annotated organizational chart as her day/weekly planner– but she never looked at it! She always seemed to be “taking stuff home to get caught up”. Sound familiar?

Read the next two links on:

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS: What do you think?
What LBS-related information management tasks are currently part of your regular responsibilities? Make a list.  In your estimation, how effective is your approach to managing these tasks? What strategies (if any) do you think might help you be more efficient in the administrative aspects of your job?

 


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