From the "I Couldn't Have Said This Better Myself" Files
When it comes to professional development and who's in charge of learning, you know I come down on the side of individuals. I don't care who you're working for--we're all independent contractors in a global economy and we have a responsibility to ourselves and our families to always remember that. This is something I keep harping on, but it's a sentiment that bears repeating.
Now, via Stephen Downes comes a great post from Ian Delaney that pretty much summarizes my opinion on the subject. He's talking about the results of a recent report on "Learning 2.0":
- People nowadays don’t have jobs or even careers for life. We have these portfolio careers and we’re all entrepreneurial about those careers. The average in-house marketer stays in a job for four years; it’s even lower in agency land.
- Our employers don’t have our individual agenda at heart when they design training or development programmes. They have the company’s interests in mind.
- There’s a conflict of interest here, of course - you might want to do a public speaking course, for example, because you envisage yourself as an effective public speaker. But if your boss doesn’t think that’s part of your job, the chances are, you won’t be doing one.
- Employers also tend to confuse training and learning. Training gets done to you. Learning is something an individual does themselves. Companies tend to think of training as their responsibility, rather than learning. They also think (62% of them - HROs - do) that “done to” training is the most effective way to deliver education for the job, according to survey results.
- Educationalists have identified at least 37 different types of ways in which we learn stuff, from reading a book to playing simulations. Each individual will have their own preferred and most effective learning styles. In-house training tends to focus on one - sit in a room with a bunch of other people and get talked at.
Yes, Yes, Yes! This is the problem with the state of professional development right now--too many people are willing to abdicate the experience to their employers and too many employers don't really operate from a strengths-based place that looks at how you can build your organization based on the interests and talents of your employees. Individually, we're really screwing ourselves if we don't start taking a more pro-active role in our own learning and organizations aren't benefiting from our growth either.
Ian goes on to point out that so much of what passes for professional development right now is event-based ("Hey--you should go to that training on phone sales we'll be running next month."), when in fact we'd learn more and develop faster if we started blogging, networking and using our RSS feeds more effectively. I agree wholeheartedly, but continue to wonder what needs to be done to help people recognize this and make a transition into being more self-directed in their learning. I can see, too, that there's a need to provide the right kinds of structure for people to look at their learning styles and the available tools so that they can begin to construct for themselves a more effective personal learning environment.
Take a look at the post and let me know your thoughts.
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Loved this post because it illustrates the problem I have with my phd research.
I set up an e-mentoring system for health professionals because they said they wanted a way to connect with someone who would mentor them, but the barriers to face-to-face mentoring were unsurmountable, due to distance, time and so on. 9 months later, no one has engaged with the system.
There are a number of reasons for that, a lot to do with the way I set up the system. But the question I am left with: what has to happen for these professionals to engage with professional development activities? How do we get health professionals or anyone else, to take responsibility for their professional development. The time honored excuses of time constraints, lack of access etc etc just do not stand up, epecially if they want to be considered as professionals.
Sorry to rant (as I watch my phd slide into the swanny)! What I am wanting help with is references to literature that talks about why people do not engage with professional development - what does engage them?
cheers Sarah - happy a 'bad' phd day!
Posted by: Sarah Stewart | February 07, 2008 at 06:04 PM