Blockchain and Criptocurrency

FOR DUMMIES. Dissemination concepts

Nowadays one of the biggest problems of trade unions is to keep up with the times in order to understand the production reorganization processes and how these impact on worker's lives. 

The digitization processes are getting faster and faster due to the speed of evolution of technologies. Technology has entered everyone's life, at work as well as in daily life, and the union cannot ignore it.

Trade unionists sometimes find it difficult to be promptly updated, and often have the lack of the basic skills to understand the phenomena. On several occasions I discussed about it with my region's CGIL head of training.

During the year of 2018 the CGIL of Rome and Lazio organized a cycle of seminars and courses on Industry 4.0 to try to fill these gaps. The idea was to explore the technological innovations from different points of view.

One of the main topics is cryptocurrencies and the technology connected to them. The training regional manager asked me to design a module for a specific course on this topic. She asked me because I have professional experience in the IT industry. A few months earlier I wrote an article on this topic for Rassegna Sindacale- which is the official CGIL's magazine until April 2020 (read here).

I was asked to provide the unionists with the basic knowledge about cryptocurrencies and the information technology (blockchain) on which their creation was based. It was also necessary to make people understand the risks - of buying and selling of cryptocurrencies entails.

My course section was also dedicated to the blockchain because its application determines changes in the companies' work organization.

Writing an educational article is much easier than designing learning objects, as I was asked by the Training Office of the regional CGIL. I had to get to work to make the subject understandable to everyone.

The objectives of my training were as follows:

  • Cryptocurrencies: what they are, how they work, who controls them
  • Blockchain: what it is, how it works, the future impact on our daily life

In a nutshell, at the end of the training day our union managers were expected to be able to:

  • know what cryptocurrencies are
  • understand the risks of cryptocurrencies, to prevent misuse by union members and workers
  • know what a blockchain is
  • know how blockchain can influence changes in the work's organization by the companies

For organizational reasons it was not possible to go beyond one day of the seminar. It is always difficult to involve a heterogeneous audience of trade unionists in a course, so to be effective it was concentrated in one day.

Other teachers would have been involved to give further points of view based on their specific skills (psychologist, sociologist, customer care). The training regional manager organized a plenary meeting in which the program of the course was established. The topics that each of us would have covered were well clarified in this first meeting. At the end of the meeting was given the deadline, with a check after one month, to take stock of the situation and coordinate our specific lessons, the schedule of the lessons and their duration.

The training regional manager had decided that two meetings were enough to organize the course. Only two meetings seemed few to me to be able to integrate everyone's contribution well, but she strongly believed they were enough. She would take care of keeping in touch and resolving any problems.

My section of the course was the beginning and took the largest part of the day, and this worried me a lot. It is easy for those who know a topic to assume that others know at least the basics. I had to try hard not to fall into unnecessary technicalities that would not have been understood. I had to explain the technical part in the most understandable way possible. To avoid this I gave another trainer my slides and my preview presentation, a union trainer not involved in this course; his advice was very useful to me to refine the language and duration of my lesson. He is a very good trainer but IT inexperienced, so he pointed out all the words that were not understandable. In this way I was able to be as clear as possible.

The course was held on 6 December 2018 (poster) to about fifteen union managers, very heterogeneous for age, level of education and type of work. The age of the students is between 35 and 65, almost all resident in Rome and in any case in the Lazio region (central Italy). Over half of the trainees were retired (in Italy pensioners can join the union, and the CGIL has many retired members organized in their own category).

We started with the training manager's presentation who introduced the participants to the objectives of the seminar and the program of the day.

Then there was the presentation round of the participants, who were asked to say what they expected to receive from the seminar, and the reasons that had led them to attend.

I was the first speaker and opening the course is a responsible role. I had the task of introducing the fundamental concepts that would develop over the course of the day. My lesson was necessary to understand the other arguments presented by subsequent speakers. I had planned to explain the concepts in a simple way, giving examples on concepts that everyone could know. Having prepared myself earlier, with the help of another trainer, was a success factor. 

I used slides containing mainly images (slides), because they allow you to visually fix a concept without distracting attention from the lecture (ladder).

Facial lessons were regularly interrupted by interaction with the trainees through Question and Answer sessions.

The involvement was good, especially during my part which was more didactic than the others, and the attention started to decrease only towards the end of the day. The attention fell both for tiredness and for the excess of details provided by some final speakers.

The final evaluation expressed by the participants during the final table round was positive because they understood the concepts of the topics covered. Someone said they would no longer see technology as incomprehensible and, therefore, hostile. 

At the end of the day we promised to send a glossary of the course, which we understood to be a useful tool. I made the Glossary, and it was sent by Bruna a couple of weeks later. 

This taught me that the Glossary tool, if useful, should be prepared before the course and sent immediately afterwards, the next day, when interest is still high. 

This very technical course allowed me to check what skills I already have and what I have to improve.

I'm able to talk about topics with a strong technical content in a simple way- with examples and words that everyone could understand.

I observe the classroom and keep attention, stopping and soliciting questions that / choose another word if someone seems to misundertand.

I also have an ability to answer questions always with simple and clear concepts.

There are skills I need to improve, I need to work on.

I need to improve the ability to manage the time available better, because the interaction with the classroom is positive but required too long time than what was available. Without killing the discussion, I have to work on driving it better on time. First of all I'll take note of the time. I'll do a test of my lesson. In addition, I'll have my smartphone clock visible, in order to check the timing of the discussion among the participants.

Another skill to improve is the training design together other teachers; it needs more care to avoid overlapping of topics.

In this course I was not the manager, but the lack of coordination between teachers allowed me to learn that due attention must be paid to design training

In this training, coordination was not my task, but for the future I will have less shyness. Everything went well in the end, but it's important not to have dystonia or overlaps. I'll insist with the training manager to have more meetings to specify better the learning objects and fix everyone's tasks..