Prioritising Professional Development for Trainers and Learning Professionals
As trainers, educators, and L&D professionals, we are dedicated to enriching the knowledge and skills of others. We passionately invest our time and energy into educating our clients and teams, striving to ensure their growth and success. However, we often forget to pay close attention to our own continuous development.
In vocational education, trainers and assessors are required to provide evidence of all professional development as a part of their compliance standards. In the non-accredited space, we could consider some of the structured approaches the accredited space follows in order to hold ourselves to a recognised standard. This has been the approach used in several government organisations we have worked with in areas like assessment policies and trainer skills. The truth is, to effectively facilitate learning and drive meaningful change, we must first prioritise our own growth and advancement, in order to keep our axe sharp and our knowledge current.
Staying Relevant: We can’t help but be aware that things are constantly evolving; and doing so at an accelerating rate. New technologies, methodologies, and theories emerge regularly, reshaping the learning landscape. By engaging in continuous professional development, we can stay abreast of these changes. It ensures that our time is spent on activities that are pointed in the right direction; helping us to stay at the forefront of what we do.
Enhancing Effectiveness: Investing in our development directly impacts our performance and effectiveness. By refining our expertise and expanding our repertoire of teaching & learning strategies, we can better engage learners, address their diverse needs, and foster deeper understanding and retention of knowledge; all of which our clients and other stakeholders demand from us.
Inspiring Innovation: Professional development motivates us to be more creative and innovative. Exposing ourselves to new ideas, perspectives, and practices stimulates our intellect and ignites our passion for learning. This, in turn, enables us to devise innovative solutions, design engaging learning experiences, and push the boundaries of L&D excellence.
Despite the benefits of professional development, many of us need help prioritising it amidst our busy schedules. We become so consumed with educating others that we neglect our growth and enrichment. However, integrating professional development into our daily routine can be manageable.
Here are some simple strategies to make it a seamless part of your day:
1. Allocate Time: Set aside dedicated time each day for professional development. Treat it as a non-negotiable appointment with yourself. Whether it’s early morning, during lunch breaks, or before bed, find a time that works for you and commit to it consistently.
2. Utilise Resources: Leverage various resources available at your fingertips. Platforms like LinkedIn offer articles, videos, and discussions on a wide range of topics relevant to our field. Make it a habit to read at least one article or watch one video daily to broaden your knowledge.
3. Be Disciplined: Discipline is critical to establishing any habit. Hold yourself accountable for your professional development goals. Set realistic targets, track your progress, and celebrate your achievements. Remember, small, consistent efforts yield significant results over time.
For example, I make it a point to read at least one LinkedIn article and learn something new daily by prioritising my development.
I employ several strategies to ensure discipline in my professional development journey. Firstly, I block off dedicated time in my schedule for learning activities, treating them equally crucial to client meetings or project deadlines. Additionally, I utilise tools such as task lists and reminders to stay organised and on track with my goals.
Finally, I cultivate a growth mindset, viewing every opportunity as a chance to learn and grow, whether challenging or successful.
Professional development is not just a box to tick; it’s a lifelong commitment to excellence and growth. By investing in ourselves, we elevate our capabilities and enrich the learning experiences of those we serve. So, let’s embrace the journey of continuous learning for the betterment of ourselves and the learners we empower.