The Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada says it will build a computer skills training program for its volunteers, but the technological jump may prove to great for some.

Together with partner St. John Ambulance, it has received more than

$250,000 in funding from Human Resources Development Canada and the Office of Learning Technologies to create a national computer curriculum. The program is expected to take two-and-a-half years to complete.

The project leader from the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) for Canada says the training will range from how to turn on a computer, use e-mail and eventually access online learning material. Janet Helmer says the first step is to get all the instructors on the same page.

“”We’ll have trainers going out to actual sites across the country where we’ll hold classes in computer laboratories which we rent from community colleges or something like that to give them these skills,”” Helmer says.

The payoff, she says, is standardized training.

“”From a standards quality/risk management point of view it should have a lot of value because local branches can be very slim on resources and our branches range from very large metropolitan Toronto types, right down to almost one or two people sites,”” she says.

While the volunteers aren’t being trained to be programmers, there is a significant challenge. Helmer describes them as being from the “”average volunteer age group,”” and adds “”our approach and strategy has to really allow them to feel comfortable.””

Cushing Anderson, corporate e-learning program manager for IDC, says people who missed the PC revolution may be reluctant to learn, but adds the fact they’re volunteering indicates they’re up for something new.

“”The challenge will be to make this device and these tools relevant to the learner. Teaching them how to use e-mail is probably going to be really hard if it’s not part of their job or they can’t see some immediate use for it,”” Anderson says.

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