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Monthly Archives: June 2014

My Personal Development Plan – and a Proposal

Raymond Noe (2013) speaks to both the professional and personal aspects of employee development. Such development is beneficial to both employee, who is not only better equipped to do the tasks at hand but also prepared for the next career steps, and the company, which by developing the employee tends to get a better equipped and more loyal asset. With these two factors in mind, I would propose the following four types of development to my company for my personal development.

Tuition Reimbursement / Formal Education

As an employee who already possesses a Bachelor’s degree, it is important to me personally to grow. One of my mentors speaks often of being a “student for life,” and though he speaks of both formal and informal learning, his principal applies to formal education as well. Many companies provide such educational opportunities in-house (Noe, 2013), so as to more closely tie the education to company goals. Others, like Verizon Wireless, offer reimbursement programs so that the employee can pursue an education outside of the company. The only stipulation is that the courses taken are related to the employee’s job. In my case, the course work would not only apply to what I am doing now, but also prepare me for a number of other positions both inside and outside of the company.

Reflected Best-Self

Unlike many development programs, which seek to “fix” an employee’s deficiencies, reflected best-self assessment (Pace, 2010) looks to identify and enhance an employee’s strengths! This is accomplished by surveying 20-30 of the employees co-workers, friends, and family members, asking what the employee was doing when they considered him “at his best.” I thrive on positivity, so such an assessment would be a boon to my self-esteem. Further, it would help me to maximize the strengths I already possess, and channel them for greater productivity.

Mentoring

I have always been a proponent of the mentoring process (Noe, 2013), where a senior, productive employee takes as it were a less senior employee under his wing and teaches him or her about the business. I have had several mentors over the years, who have taught me about public speaking, writing, business acumen, and other subjects. I look forward to the next mentoring relationship, in which I hope to develop my own employee-development skills, preparing those who work for me for the next steps in their careers.

Temporary Assignment

Several times over the years I have been fortunate to serve on what my company calls “core teams.” These teams, formed generally to either create a curriculum or enhance a business practice, generally require a roughly 5-10% time commitment – that is, for the average employee, 2-4 hours per week would be devoted to the team’s work. I would like to expand that percentage and take a temporary assignment in another part of the company or on a deeper core team. Such an assignment would expose me to different parts of the business, where I would develop new skills associated with that part of the business, and gain a greater appreciation for the company as a whole. Further, such an assignment would open my eyes to new possibilities as I work through what Noe (2013) describes as a “job tryout.”

Conclusion

Each of these development opportunities would yield a benefit to the company as well as to me, in each case enhancing my capabilities in my current role and preparing me for the next. While this blog post is for a school assignment, I plan to discuss these development opportunities with my manager to see which of them is feasible.

The PowerPoint presentation below, which represents the second half of the week’s assignment, examines a proposal for employee development which could be presented to a company’s human resources or training department.

Resources

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.

Pace, A. (2010). Unleashing Positivity in the Workplace. Training and Development, 64(1), 40-44. Retrieved from Academic Research Complete Database

 

Power Point – Rising Stars

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Posted by on June 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

High-Tech Training

Technology is everywhere around us. Next time you’re riding any form of public transportation, take a moment and look around you at the collection of iPods, iPads, tablets, smartphones, Bluetooth headsets, and fitness bands that envelop you. It is little wonder that tech has invaded the realm of learning. In this week’s blog, I’m going to take you through five different technological advances in learning and examine their influence and impact on learners. First up, we will look at the podcast.

The Podcast, which derives its name from Apple, Inc’s innovative iPod, is described by Noe (2013) as “web-based delivery of audio and video files.” Usually, podcasts are themed by the author and often assembled in series formats. The podcast enables the learner to search either the open internet or app stores from Apple, Google’s Android Play, or Microsoft’s Windows store for a wide range of content, putting quick learning snippets on the student’s computer or mobile device. They can either be streamed or downloaded for future use. One of my favorite podcast sites is https://www.ted.com/talks/browse. The site, hosted by TED (the name stands for technology, entertainment, and design), currently has over 1700 talks on a variety of subjects, each spanning 18 minutes or less.

Next, we look at Computer Based Training (CBT). While Noe (2013) notes that CBT can include technologies such as CD’s or DVD’s, it is most often associated with online learning. Online course work can be hosted on any number of learning management sites – I use www.coursesites.com. Creating an account there is easy, and the site, once you learn how to use it, has a robust feature set for course creation. CBT is at the heart of many corporate learning strategies, including my company’s, primarily because of its ability to put learning on-demand. Further, CBT is used by many universities, including Walden University where I attend. Much like the podcast, CBT places the learner in control of his or her learning schedule, with the added element of instructor input and opportunity for two-way interaction.

The third stop on our tour of learning technology is the Webcast or Webinar. The primary difference between a podcast and a webcast is that the webcast is generally delivered live, where a podcast is recorded. That said, many webcasting software packages, such as Adobe Connect (www.adobe.com/connect ), provide tools for recording sessions so that learners who cannot attend the live session can listen later. Andy Nilssen and Alan Greenberg, writing for ConferTel (n.d.) offer some excellent discussion of why company trainers are turning to webinars to deliver training content, among them the simple fact that webinars allow learners who could not otherwise attend training to do so, live. See the references below for a link to their discussion. I offer a word of caution regarding recorded webcasts, however, as one who designs and delivers many of them for both meetings and training where I work: the webcast is almost always geared to the live delivery, and often includes dialog and activities designed to engage the learners in that live environment. Listening to a recorded webcast removes that interaction from the experience, and can result in a loss of content retention.

Our next-to-last stop on our journey through learning technology is the web log, or Blog. Blogging, as it has come to be known, features web pages where “the author posts entries and readers can comment.” You are, of course, reading this exploration of technology on my blog, hosted by www.wordpress.com. Thomas (2008), writing for www.openeducation.net, offers several tips for using blogs to enhance learning, noting specifically that blogs can “enhance the ability of students to self-reflect and process concepts.” While other students can read and comment on their colleagues’ blogs, Thomas notes, it is important to understand that the blog is an individualized learning tool, and the teacher is seeking collaborative input from a large group, a wiki is a better tool.

A relative newcomer to the technological learning toolbox is Game-based Learning. My company just started working with a company called M-Level (www.mlevel.com) to create learning games that can be played on mobile devices. These games, which can help sales reps learn new products or practice positioning statements, are designed to be played quickly when the employee has a few extra minutes. M-Level and others have incorporated a mission-based learning game with robust reporting tools to not only give the learner a fun learning experience, but also to give the company a solid base of understanding regarding learner retention and return on investment.

There are many other technologies available to training professionals, each with its benefits and drawbacks. The key to using technology is suitability. Ask yourself whether the technology will actually help the learning achieve the learning objectives. I close with this quote from www.openeducation.net: “The first critical consideration for teachers is whether or not the tool being used is necessary to the learning process. In this regard teachers must be unequivocally clear; if teachers do not effectively contextualize the use of any web 2.0 tool, then students are not likely to see the tool as being of benefit to the learning process.”

 

References

CourseSites by Blackboard. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.coursesites.com

Health Podcasts | MemorialCare Health System | Orange County | Los Angeles County. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.memorialcare.org/events-education/podcasts

Nilssen, A., & Greenberg, A. (n.d.). Why Trainers Are Turning to Webinars | ConferTel. Retrieved from http://www.confertel.net/support/resource-library/why-trainers-are-turning-to-webinars/

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.

Stolovitch, H. D., Keeps, E. J., & Rosenberg, M. J. (2011). Telling ain’t training: Updated, expanded, and enhanced. Alexandria, Va: ASTD Press.

Thomas (2008, October 10). Using Blogs to Enhance Learning – Some Helpful Tips. Retrieved from http://www.openeducation.net/2008/10/10/using-blogs-to-enhance-learning-%E2%80%93-some-helpful-tips/

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Uncategorized