No Technical Skills Required!


Vince Cyboran is a professor in the graduate program in Training and Development of Roosevelt University.

There is an odd meme circulating that might be summed up as: Young people today are SO technical. Nothing could be further from the truth. Young people—Millennials—today are no more ‘technical’ than young people of prior generations. Each generation is most comfortable with technologies introduced before they hit their teens. Time for a real-world example: A friend of mine was hosting a family holiday get-together a few years ago, and informed her 12-year-old nephew that the TV remote was broken. His response: “Oh, so we can’t watch TV.” He had no idea a TV could be turned on manually. That was an experience he had not had, and in his mental model of televisions, they are turned on with remote control devices. Of course, nowadays, 12-year-olds know many other ways to view TV programs. Yes, things change quickly.

What many—but not all–Millennials are is ‘tech savvy.’1 Their mobile devices are packed with useful apps, and they actively use these apps in their daily lives. Let’s make a ThisCOULDbeYoudistinction here: Writing an app makes you technical (one kind of technical, anyway); using an app, not so much. What about conducting a webinar or teaching in the virtual classroom (live, online)? Are the folks who can do this ‘technical’ or ‘tech savvy?’ The answer is: ‘tech savvy;’ and not just ‘tech savvy,’ they are ‘career savvy.’ The ability to design and conduct training and deliver presentations live and online is rapidly becoming a requirement for T&D/HPI/OD jobs. If you know how to design, develop, and deliver instruction face-to-face, you can easily learn to transfer your skills to doing this for another delivery method.

In the spring of 2014, we are offering the following course to help you remain current:


The course will be offered completely online through Blackboard. Using Adobe Connect, the instructor will offer optional, synchronous/live sessions throughout the semester to broaden your experience in participating in online sessions. And you will use a free product called ‘anymeeting’ to deliver a live session to your classmates; a session you have designed and developed yourself. This is an accelerated course, and only runs for eight weeks. That’s plenty of time for you to grasp the basics of designing, developing, and delivering online. For more information about the course, contact me or Tara Hawkins.

Coding webinar software? That’s technical. Using webinar software? Not so much.

1 My use of the term ‘tech savvy’ in this post contradicts the writer Tom Healy (See He identifies Gen Y/Millennials as ‘tech dependent’ and uses the term ‘tech savvy’ in a more…’technical’ way?

About Eric

Eric Hahn is a graduate assistant in the Training & Development program and works as an editor, graphic designer and writer. He lives in Chicago and has a cat with a criminal mind.
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2 Responses to No Technical Skills Required!

  1. Helen says:

    This really puts everything into perspective. Growing up, my mother depended on me to help her with new technologies that came along. I now find myself looking to my kids to help me with new technologies.
    I also find it funny that I have no qualms about setting up virtual meetings, but ask me to work with some apps on my smart phone and I freeze up. I guess it all depends on what you’re comfortable with.

    • jaybeatty says:

      I agree that young people today are more technical than my generation who tends to be more comfortable with the traditional methods. I consider myself to be “techo savvy” however after taking Learning Technologies this semester I am reminded that I have a lot to learn. For example I was introduced to M-learning or mobile learning and I am curious as to how I would design instructions in that format. I am happy to see that RU will offer TRDV 452 in the spring to keep students current.

      Do you feel that traditional learners will fall short, force to get on board or be replaced by techno savvy workers if they do not get on- board?

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