Stephanie and I recently came across a request for proposal that asked for proof of our recent professional development and it got me thinking. Although we’re in the business of creating and providing learning opportunities for our customers and clients, many of us neglect our own ongoing self-development and learning. Granted, we’re all busy with looming deadlines, multiple projects and countless day-to-day tasks but we get so focused on these activities that we sometimes forget to lift our heads up and focus on the bigger picture. I’ve been guilty of that myself. But how can we provide relevant and current learning solutions to our clients and customers if we’re not updating our own knowledge and skill?
Stephanie and I strongly believe that educating ourselves is a priority in our profession and we constantly work on doing just that. We read books and research reports, contribute to on-line discussions, complete certification training and many other things to keep up with what’s going on in the industry. Doing a Google search uncovers an incredible amount of informative and thought-provoking T&D information. Books, research and best practice articles, information, discussions and debates on blogs, LinkedIn groups and Twitter feeds as well as meet up groups, conferences, online webinars and podcasts are available and most are free! As an example, I recently started using Twitter (@PaulaYunker) and am amazed at the amount of information that “Tweeters” in the industry are sharing. Through their tweets, I’ve found new inspiring blogs to read, informative research, the latest T&D trends and practical tools and tips for instructional design. I’ve also taken advantage of a number of free webinars and am currently reading a great book that was recommended by others online.
So make a conscious decision to “educate” yourself on a regular basis. Schedule an allotted amount of time each week into your calendar and stick to it. With a little time and practice it will become a habit - just another one of the tasks you accomplish each week. It’ll benefit not only you but your clients and customers as well.
So, ask yourself…what are you learning this week?