Automated Planning Systems - a Method to Innovate the Educational System?
BY JORDON MILLWARD (WSC)
The project started by addressing a perceived stress in staff members in terms of how they are able to meet their workplace demands such as preparing materials and coordinating with other elements of their roles such as administration. The project is going to compare what tools have successfully been applied in management systems to increase productivity and relieve stress particularly using automated systems as a solution for streamlining day to day operations.
The project aims to assess whether planning tools and software systems could be a tool to enable and promote greater improvement in teacher planning and time management. This is an area of research which has not been heavily explored as a result the reports focus on both recording qualitative measures of staff and managements thoughts on performance limitations and planning efficiencies will be compared with novel solutions.
At this stage of the project the goal is to assess the main challenges for staff members and to provide management tools that facilitate a level of productivity that reduces stress as well as allowing for a better performance. By recognising what tools are used in other sectors such as business and recognising the barriers to staff training and development to then facilitate the development of new coaching techniques to provide staff and management better insights into how to implement these. Tools such as guide books which provide steps to achieving a particular goal or going further into technical implementations which identify how to streamline tasks. The study aims is to identify if this is a demand area for staff and to identify technical tools to facilitate this streamlining which will then be used to add to performance and improvements in the academic teams.
An example of how existing research such as the feedback for the mentee through coaching systems the report by Jones, Woods and Guillaume, (2015) found that the causative links between different types of coaching delivery and interventions led by organisations, did not yield a significant difference across different sectors. Unless the staff were adversely impacted by not accurately investing in the employee relationship with the organisation and its coaching team. This would support a case that online based coaching or training programs as proposed by Carolan, Harris and Cavanagh, (2017) would yield the same benefit as specific training days or coaching sessions held by trainers who are present at the organisation. What the study did identify was that the level of feedback did correspond to the success of the coaching process and should therefore be built into training programs. Jones, Woods and Guillaume, (2015) however noted that the feedback evidenced through the coaching sessions which did not have a positive effect on the outcome of the mentee was not beneficial. If the feedback was negative this was due to the fixation of the mentee on the negative elements of the feedback over the general report which should still be recorded but the feedback should be approached differently. Whilst the report did not outrightly associate the positive applications of feedback with a greater success there was a relationship with negative impacts on staff development. The papers suggest that training procedures therefore should be set by the organisation's goal which should use a framework to build processes to generate a positive way to increase productivity and wellbeing in the staff member.
The study has been delayed due to lockdown as a result the research presently conducted is by synthesising research which has been presently conducted by other relevant researchers and is awaiting next steps from the college to conduct a survey of academic staff to assess stressors. Once the survey is done this will allow for a comparison between measures that business has done to target and tackle these stresses through automated systems to suggest areas for suitable investment and development.
At this point whilst the data collection has been slowed preliminary suggestions suggest that the way we conduct coaching sessions may benefit not from changes in types of technique but more novel methods. By targeting the relationship between the staff, organisation and coach this will enable a change in the framework tools such as recognising what types of innovations are effective at dealing with a particular challenge which already provides an indication for a need for a referencing framework for coaches.