Certified Open Data Trainer: Thanks, ODI London!


Delighted to break the news: I am amongst the happy few to become a Certified Open Data trainer!

The Open Data Institute (ODI) is the London-based prominent actor in the field of open data and technologies. The certification they have designed is a rewarding result of a five-day-long intense course that our class inaugurated.

What is this Data Trainer thing all about?

Founded by Sir Time Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt, the ODI is an innovative consultancy that puts forward open data and all of its potentials. Training is one of their core activities, and the team considers it a priority to ensure that skilful and experimented open data enthusiasts will also be able to coherently transmit their knowledge to others.

The train-the-trainers session I (as RS Strategy’s CEO) was invited to participate, is the first of its kind for the ODI. We thus pride ourselves not only for being amongst the inaugural fellows, but also to have provided feedback and insights on how to improve the training in the future.

Our inaugural class (see the image above) counts:

The picture above is with Gavin Starks, ODI’s CEO, and was snapped by one of our outstanding trainers, David Tarrant. A big ‘thanks’ is in order here, to our trainers: David, Melissa and Kathryn, as well as to the ODI team for the welcome and the healthy lunch breaks.

So, what did we learn?

Plenty of things in fact!

The training does not aim to providing open data-related expertise; rather, the ambition is to help such experts with crafting courses. The content of the training thus considers your open data expertise as a pre-requisite. The curriculum entirely centres on providing educational engineering capabilities to the experts.

Amongst the most valuable things, we learnt and directly applied: techniques about creating interactive training; tricks about the ways we can build open data knowledge into your core specialist area (e.g. statistics and data visualisation, development for RS Strategy’s case); and of course, efficient ways to design an open data training course.

Those competencies take us from being good trainers to great ones. That ‘upgrade’ is also supported by the strategy we crafted for our individual long-term development as knowledge transmitters.

Delving into what makes for a good trainer

The five-day course was intense and fun. It involved a great amount of peer-to-peer learning and assessment, which is always a humbling and insightful experience.

We felt a bit like students, too, crafting our presentations for the final exam while eating pizza and laughing at anecdotes we would not quite dare include. Great people, great activities—what else?

All throughout the five-day long course and the final exam, our assessments focused on the following skills (check the full list here):

  • An understanding and implementation of education theory;
  • An ability to create interactive training with good learning outcomes;
  • Knowledge of open data as applied to their specialist area (e.g. policy, law, data science);
  • A plan for their long-term personal development as a trainer.