Banner photo credit: Renee Nowytarger / ARDC
The 2023 ARDC Skills Summit saw digital research trainers and skills professionals from across Australia working together within a culture of respect, collegiality, and open sharing. This rippled through the 2 days, echoing the beautiful Welcome to Country from Wiradjuri Gadigal Elder Aunty Joan Bell at the beginning of the Summit.
A Keynote from Jason Williams from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Our keynote speaker Jason Williams, Assistant Director at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s DNA Learning Center in New York, centred his talk on what makes a good researcher, by providing a critique of superhero origin stories, which resonated with the audience, judging by the chuckles of recognition. He spoke about career progression and the role that effective, inclusive and targeted short-format training can play in ensuring that researchers maintain their edge across their entire career. He outlined a set of principles that make this possible – the Bike Principles – and highlighted a key recommendation for effective short-format training – professionalise the training of short-format training instructors and instructional designers.
Day 1: Exploring Success Factors for Skills Training
Suitably positioned by the keynote talk, Day 1 of the Skills Summit focused on exploring the success factors for skills training. As a trainer community, we asked, “How can we ensure that our training scales, enhances learner engagement and sits within a sustainable model?” Our group collaborative activity worked backwards from the worst possible outcomes imaginable, to explore ideas and evidence to ensure success.
Broad themes from Day 1 on success factors for digital research skills training included:
- professionalisation of skills trainers
- building a community around training
- good learning design
- measuring impact and effectiveness of training
- scalability and sustainable models
- planning the design, development and delivery of training.
Day 2: Addressing the Digital Research Skills Gap
On Day 2, the conversation broadened to national approaches that would help narrow the digital research skills gap. A panel session outlining skills frameworks set the scene for national- level collaborations, particularly the consolidation of a national skills taxonomy and the meaningful implementation of frameworks.
Broad themes from Day 2 on influencing national conversations on digital research skills included:
- skills frameworks – interconnections and usability, and creating a national skills taxonomy with agreed terminology
- the need for national advocacy for the value of short-format digital research skills training and career-spanning learning
- supported peer learning and Communities of Practice (CoPs)
- development of practical, applicable and customisable training with alternative and innovative training pathways
- reduction in duplication and smarter resource allocation for skills development
- collaboration as being critical because we are stronger together
- national approaches to training evaluation, including a DReSA dashboard.
The ARDC Skills Summit was a high-energy event, with everyone making the most of the opportunity to reconnect and make new connections in person. A big thank you to all those who participated. You can watch recordings of both days of the Summit from the following playlist:
What Participants Are Saying About the Skills Summit
Lyndal Gunton from the QUT Library said, “I recommend this annual event for all involved in planning, coordinating, delivering or funding training for researchers to understand more about the importance and role of these skills in academia and industry. It’s a great way to work collaboratively to solve common challenges we face.”
Join Our Editorial Team
The ARDC Skills Summit participants made valuable contributions, providing the ARDC Skills and Workforce Development team with considerable material with which to start writing an article or a position paper underlining the importance and value of digital research skills training. If you haven’t already expressed your interest in being a part of the editorial team, please contact us.
We look forward to seeing our digital research training community again at our next Skills Summit.
Photos From the Summit
Here is a selection of photos from the Summit (credit: Renee Nowytarger / ARDC):
The ARDC is funded through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to support national digital research infrastructure for Australian researchers.
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