Nailed it: Moving digital skills training online

Dr Sara King1, Dr Mark Crowe2, Dr  Darya Vanichkina3, Dr Liz Stokes4, Dr Rebecca Lange5, Dr Anastasios Papaioannou6, Ann Backhaus7

1AARNet, Adelaide, Australia, 2QCIF, Brisbane, Australia, 3University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 4ARDC, Sydney, Australia, 5Curtin University, Perth, Australia, 6Intersect, Sydney, Australia, 7Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, Perth, Australia

Digital skills training across AUNZ has moved online. While not necessarily ‘new’, the transition was abrupt and impacted by the social complexities of responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Working from home infrastructure meant training could continue in theory, but represented previously unexplored avenues for many of us.

Over the last several months, there have been endless discussions about successes, achievements, and recommendations about the best ways to deliver online training. In the ENRICH Community of Practice alone, there have been almost 3,000 messages exchanged this year, and this represents just one of many ways in which the eResearch skills trainer community in Australia has come together (virtually) to share emerging best practices for distributed and virtual skills instruction.

During this facilitated session we’d like to flip this conversation and draw from the breadth of experiences across the community to share our fails, embarrassments, and utter disasters – and how we picked ourselves up, learned from them, and had another go! We will use padlet – a tool for flipped learning – to enable attendees to share stories anonymously, and upvote the most common/egregious/relatable ones for focussed discussion.

Our target audience is the trainer seeking a community of practice offering a candid assessment of the challenges of pivoting training to online delivery, a support network and mentorship. We will provide a platform for those, and others in the broader community, to share their stories and work together to continue to create positive and productive training experiences for our research community.


Dr Sara King is the Training and Engagement Lead for AARNet. She is focused on outreach within the research sector, developing communities of interest around training, outreach and skills development in eResearch. She is currently working on creating reusable guidance information for Jupyter Notebooks and other AARNet services to be adapted for Carpentry training workshops. She is passionate about helping others develop the infrastructure and digital literacies required for working in a data-driven world, translating technology so it is accessible to everyone.