As we launch our DataBasicCymru training programme and our DataBasicCymru+ training package, developed in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Data Orchard, I thought I’d share with you the top three lessons I’ve learnt from being immersed in the development of DataBasicCymru over the past 18 months.
1. We all have something to learn
I’m pretty data savvy – I have worked for Data Cymru for ‘many’ years in a variety of roles so would like to think I know a thing or two about data. In this time I’ve collected data, validated data, analysed data, presented data, used data and advised others on how to collect, use data etc. However, I came away from the very first pilot session of the DataBasic programme (where I was part facilitator, part learner) feeling…inspired! Some of the exercises simply reinforced my knowledge (when collecting data, clear definitions are really important); others served as a useful reminder (take time to understand your audience and your message when presenting data) and others taught me new tricks (there’s more to disseminating data than infographics and dashboards). DataBasicCymru has something to offer everyone, whether you’re a beginner or a self-confessed data geek like me.
2. Confidence is key!
If you are looking to build a data culture within your organisation, you need to make sure that all staff, whatever their role and no matter how senior they are, have the confidence to interact with data. Key to this is ensuring that all staff understand the fundamentals (the ‘basics’) of data and how to use it effectively. After all, it is these ‘basic’ skills on which your data culture will be founded.
As the name suggests, DataBasicCymru focuses on the ‘basic’ skills that we all need to be able to use data effectively. Crucially, it does so in fun and creative ways - most of the workshops rely on pen, paper and, most importantly, your imagination (and, on occasion, play-doh)! The tools that are included in the programme are very easy to use and are simply there to make what could be complex manual tasks a lot easier (let’s be honest, no-one wants to count how many times Katy Perry says ‘Love’ in her complete back catalogue).
Data has been given a boost recently in the most unlikely of circumstances. While there haven’t been too many positives from the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 12 months, the recognition of the important role data plays in both helping to drive policy and inform the public has to be one. There are more conversations happening about data than ever before – let’s build on this together. Next slide please!
3. Stop, collaborate and listen
We all see things differently - data is no different. Some people are more analytical, some more creative; some people will focus on the big picture, others prefer to see the detail – understanding these different perspectives and how they impact on our interaction with data is key to improving the way you approach working with data.
This is why the DataBasicCymru training package is founded on the principle of shared learning. It works best when many people from within or across organisations run through the workshops together. Listening to and learning from others makes you consider perspectives you may not previously have thought about - it can help you see things you may not previously have seen, ask questions you may not have previously thought to ask and, as a result, try different ways of analysing and/or presenting data that you would not previously have tried.
There are of course tangible data collection, analysis and presentation skills that you will learn by engaging with the training programme. However, perhaps more importantly, you will have taken an important step towards developing your data culture - one based on ensuring everyone has the confidence and ability to engage more effectively with data.
To learn more about DataBasicCymru and to get involved please see our website.
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