The Age of Aquarius in Professional Development

Let’s chat for a minute about what you need to be successful at work. Is it online training seminars, more webinars, more workshops? Maybe… but you probably need a little bit more than that.

Professional Development is much more than what workshops are offered and when.

1st Dimension: Training

There are many spheres or dimensions to development. On the surface we think about training objectives/topics, presenter skills and engagement activities. All of these are very important strategies during training. However, the absolute key to any seat-time experience, whether it is online or f2f, is what happens afterwards.

How do we transfer that learning back to our work environments, our offices?

2nd Dimension: Knowledge Transfer

“Wow, that was a great workshop! The speaker was awesome, the handouts spectacular. Now I am going to put it all in a folder in my drawer….oh, no.”

What does it take to bring that new knowledge into our practice? Maybe we just need time at the end of the session to consider how the information we just learned can impact our current situation. What if, when the training concluded we were given 10 minutes to complete a worksheet or engage in a dialogue that would outline how we could integrate this new knowledge into our practice. If we can’t integrate it for one reason or another, then can we at least list a number of colleagues who may be interested in this information and then pass it along?

3rd Dimension: Fostering Connections & Contributions

The previous two dimensions are important, yet I believe they mean very little without this third dimension.

To be successful, people need to feel that they can actively contribute, engage with their peers, and develop professionally.  I found a great audio excerpt about the Essentials of Engagement which is located at the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) site.

This mini-podcast references the one segment of the following book, 12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James Harter.  When we feel that our workplace promotes these concepts, an engaged and active, thriving environment emerges.

  • I connect with the vision and mission of my employer or division.
  • My opinion matters.
  • I have the opportunity to grow professionally.
  • I am recognized or praised for my work. I am appreciated.
  • Someone at work encourages my development.

So, yes, I need to focus on training strategies that can engage people during the workshop, but I also need to find out how I can support the broader engagement of our staff.

Advertisements

Florescent lights of the lms…

a lonely florescent breakfast

Yep, I love Jim Groom’s description of the florescent light of the LMS.

I completely support the concept of leaving the LMS behind when it is clunky or commercially cyborged. I truly understand the argument for the use of multiple tools and weaving together “whatever” works for instructors. Yet, is this expectation realistic? There are a handful of people I know who can do this…well. Other instructors need the well-structured universe of a standardized tool or “system.”

Good instructors take some risk, great instructors experiment and bring their students along with them. Unfortunately, I think that most people (students and instructors alike) feel that the stakes are too high to experiment. The student says, “I pay too much money for this.” (Whatever this is.) The instructor thinks, “I don’t want to look like a fool.” So, I think the edupunk movement has two-sides to the coin: instructor risk and student satisfaction.

My dilemma now that I am in an employee training field, is that we need to track employee course completion. Has the employee reviewed OMB circular A-21 or has she completed the necessary online training to handle radioactive material? How can we do this on an institutional scale where we can apply reporting and analytics to ensure that we have met the legal training requirements?

yay, legal documents!

Yet what is really interesting to consider is how the edupunk movement can evolve or expand employee training too, not just what we consider “standardized” k-12 education. Todd Hudson at the Maverick Institute considered this when he wrote the article “Lean Knowledge Transfer.”  How can we bring a new philosophy into training? He cites the lack of responsivity that formalized corporate training embodies. And that it is better to implement a “lean” approach where the learner is driving the experience.

I do think that the edupunk philosophy is critical to the advancement of education and should possibly be the foundation of all learning:

          1. Reaction against the commercialization of education

          2. DIY attitude

          3.Thinking and learning for yourself. (quoted from Wikipedia)

Ultimately, it probably is time for instructors to get some real-life sunshine and step out of the LMS’s artificial shadow.

“Quick” Learning on the Web

question from the audience

question from the audience

I attended UD’s First Friday Roundtable on Teaching on 10/5 (and had a blast, I might add!) about active learning techniques and my interest was piqued with the idea of “Bookending the Lecture.” Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to attend the mini-session to get the gist of what “Bookending” was all about.

For my blog post for #udsnf12 I will tell you about my online learning path to investigate this topic.

“Bookending the Lecture” where to start?

Initial Searches for 10-15 Minute Response Time

I came to absolute dead-ends at Class Central and Makerspace. However, when I looked at HowCast my return search topic was “How to Cast a Spell.” I thought this was interesting, but not quite on topic.

I finally went to google and found 23 results for “bookending the lecture.” The content returned was scholarly so I was able to build a foundation of how this engagement concept fits in with other strategies.

From here I decided to try YouTube with Zero results!

Searches for 1 Week Response Time  

calendar

a week or longer…

I then decided to go directly to the source and ask Kathy Pusecker, the director of the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning.

As I was waiting for Kathy’s email response, I went to the ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) web site. Again, searching specifically on “bookending the lecture” resulted in zero results. But then a little chat window popped up and asked if I wanted to chat! Well…yes, I did as a matter of fact. And, again, no resources for this very specific concept.

Now I am starting to feel like I am looking for the elusive Sasquatch.

I received an email back from Kathy and she pointed me to the Google docs they created for the event. At last, I can see the resources the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning used for this very specific topic. Now I have some resources to enable additional searching ideas.

I also went out on a limb and started a LinkedIn discussion with my ASTD group and asked the following question:

Have you used an active learning technique called “bookending the lecture?” If so, what activities did you incorporate?

And as of today, 10/15, five days later, I do not have any replies.

My takeaway from this exercise is that it is important to ask your community for help, even if you do not get a response. The point is to ask.