Development for Me

Currently my professional development plan has included a career move to transition from the teaching profession to Inst Design & Technology which I have pursued here at Walden for 3 years and now as I am nearing the end would like to enter the job market as a training professional or consultant in the HPT field. Continued success will come with job experience in this discipline. Eventually as a new hire I would advocate for and am in favor of coaching, mentoring or peer review. These describe social competency development. “Social competency development enhances specific job-related competencies through interaction with others such as a mentor or coach, or through encountering challenging job experiences. The competencies that are developed are typically not necessary for successful performance of one’s job but help prepare employees for future roles or positions.” Noe, (2013)

I am always a strong supporter of OJT or guided contextual learning which are usually formal training activities designed and developed by the company to achieve specific learning goals. Although I understand the significance of the learner having an active role in their learning, there is much value in learning from the experts or when they are inherent in the learning method. For example, the instructor bears the responsibility for identifying what should be learned, determining the most appropriate methods, and evaluating the extent to which knowledge and skill acquisition resulted from the learning activity.” Noe, (2013). In other words, written and observational assessments are often valid and credible measurements of acquired knowledge. Equally beneficial however are hands-on methods that “are ideal for developing specific skills, understanding how skills and behaviors can be transferred to the job, experiencing all aspects of completing a task, or dealing with interpersonal issues that arise on the job. Noe, (2013)

About development Stolovitch says, “Provide employees with the ability to do that which they value and to grow beyond their initial vision for their careers.” I have contemplated this often about past and current employment and how I had wished there had been more opportunities offered for learning and leadership. If training is offered, objectives must indicate what information is important, what actions the trainee should take, and what the trainee should master. To make life better I believe in proactive learning, committed to it being lifelong.

 

References

Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Employee development [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Stolovitch, H. D., & Keeps, E. J. (2011). Telling ain’t training. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

 

Technology & Learning

Mobile technology & Learning– “Mobile technology allows learning to occur anywhere, at any time. “Mobile technology makes learning both convenient and engaging to learners; what they do best where they do it best at encourages creative though, exploration of content and confidence in the learner. Mobile technology consists of • Wireless transmission systems such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that allow transmission of data without the need for physical connections between devices or between a device and an Internet connection. • Mobile devices such as PDAs, smartphones, tablet computers, iPods, iPads, global positioning system (GPS) devices, and radio frequency identification chips (RFIDs). • Software applications related to processing audio files, word processing, spreadsheets, Internet, e-mail, and instant messaging. Here is where technology meets you where you are at! Advantages of mobile learning include getting up-to-date info to employees and enhancing transfer of training through providing follow-up. “Through mobile technologies, training and learning can occur naturally throughout the workday or at home, employees can be connected to communities of learning, and employees are given the ability to learn at their own pace by reviewing material or skipping over content that they already know.” Noe, (2011)

Blended Learning– “Blended learning combines online learning, face-to-face instruction, and other methods for distributing learning content and instruction. Blended learning courses provide learners with the positive features of both face-to-face instruction and technology-based delivery and instructional methods (such as online learning, distance learning, or mobile technologies like tablet computers or iPhones), while minimizing the negative features of each.”  For the trainer, “a blended learning approach may be the best way to capitalize on the strengths of available training methods.” Noe, (2011) As a teacher and fellow learner, it remains a personal favorite of mine, one that retains the best of both worlds (increased learner control, provides more face-to-face social interaction and ensures that at least some of the instruction is presented in a dedicated learning environment.  Using the classroom to allow learners to discuss and share insights with each other makes for meaningful learning. Despite the benefits however, research suggests significant issues concerning insufficient management support, time commitment and a lack of understanding of what blended learning is and how to implement it.

Advantages of E-learning– It supports the company’s business strategy and objectives. It is accessible at any time and any place. The audience can include employees and managers, as well as vendors, customers, and clients. Training can be delivered to geographically dispersed employees. Training can be delivered faster and to more employees in a shorter period of time. Updating is easy. Practice, feedback, objectives, assessment, and other positive features of a learning environment can be built into the program. Learning is enhanced through the use of multiple media (sound, text, video, graphics, etc.) and trainee interaction. Paperwork related to training management (enrollment, assessment, etc.) can be eliminated. It can link learners to other content, experts, and peers.  E-learning is not effective for all learners, especially those with low computer self-efficacy.

Online Learning– How Effective? • Online instruction is more effective than face-to-face classroom instruction for teaching declarative knowledge (cognitive knowledge assessed using written tests designed to measure whether trainees remember concepts presented in training). • Web-based instruction and classroom instruction are equally effective in teaching procedural knowledge (the ability of learners to perform the skills taught in training). • Learners are equally satisfied with web-based and classroom instruction. • Web-based instruction appears to be more effective than classroom instruction (1) when learners are provided with control over content, sequence, and pace; (2) in long courses; and (3) when learners are able to practice the content and receive feedback. • Web-based instruction and classroom instruction are equally effective when similar instructional methods are used (for example, both approaches use video, practice assignments, and learning tests). • The employees who get the most from online learning are those who complete more of the available practice opportunities and take more time to complete the training. Some companies say, Online learning may be valuable, but it is insufficient for teaching complex analytical, conceptual, and interpersonal skills. This may be because online learning lacks communication rich- ness, some online learners may be reluctant to interact with other learners, and, although online learning increases accessibility to training, employees with busy work schedules have a greater opportunity to more easily delay, fail to complete, or poorly perform learning activities. Noe, (2011).

 

References

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

 

Needs Assessment

Needs Assessment

“As training increasingly becomes used to help the company achieve its strategic goals, both upper and mid-level managers are involved in the needs assessment process.” Noe, (2013)

  1. Stakeholders- I would gain buy-in from each, upper-level managers help to determine if training is related to the company’s business strategy, and if so, what type of training is required. Upper-level managers are also involved in identifying what business functions or units need training (person analysis) and in determining if the com- pany has the knowledge, skills, and abilities in the workforce that are necessary to meet its strategy and be competitive in the marketplace.

 

  1. Questions: And with mid-level managers that ask how training may affect the attainment of financial goals for the particular units they supervise. As a result, for mid-level managers, organizational analysis focuses on identifying (1) how much of their budgets they want to devote to training; (2) the types of employees who should receive training (e.g., engineers, or core employees who are directly involved in producing goods or providing services); and (3) for what jobs training can make a difference in terms of improving products or customer service.

Along with consideration of whether training is aligned with the business strategy, trainers and inset designers are primarily interested in needs assessment to provide them with information that they need to administer, develop, and support training programs. This information includes determining if training should be purchased or developed in-house, identifying the tasks for which employees need to be trained, (task analysis) and determining upper- and mid-level managers’ interest in and support for training.

Representation for needs assessment: “There is no rule regarding how many types of employees should be represented in the group conducting the needs assessment. Still, it is important to get a sample of job incumbents (employees who are currently performing the job) involved in the process because they tend to be most knowledgeable about the job. Specifically, an expert or SME must be e knowledgeable about the content that training must cover, as well as realistic enough to be able to prioritize what content is critical to cover in the time allotted for the subject in the training curriculum. SMEs also must have information that is relevant to the company’s business and have an understanding of the company’s language, tools, and products.

  1. Records /Documents to see: Because no single method of conducting needs assessment is superior to the others, multiple methods are usually used. I believe identifying training needs in different ways is significant to building effective training programs. I would give preference to using focus groups, (are a type of SME interview that involves a face-to-face meeting with groups of SMEs in which the questions that are asked relate to specific training needs. Or in this context, crowdsourcing refers to asking a large group of employees (i.e., the crowd) to help provide information for needs assessment that they are not traditionally asked to do. The process requires a review team to filter, sort, and build on the best ideas. The process allows the learning department to get a larger number of employees involved in the needs assessment process rather than relying only on interviews with SMEs. Use of online technology in needs assessment would be my last choice due to employee dissatisfaction and low turnover rate.

 

  1. Techniques to employ: I would ask for employee development and performance management data, historical records and benchmarking data for review and comparison of other companies training practices.

 

 

References

Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

 

Purpose for Training

-Training can play a key role in helping companies gain a competitive advantage and successfully deal with competitive challenges

-Keep in mind that regardless of what individual, department, or function is responsible, for training and development to succeed, employees, managers, training professionals, and top managers all have to take ownership for them; -employees at all levels of the company play a role in the success of training.

-Finally, training and­­ development must be aligned with the business strategy and must support business needs.

For The Campbell Soup company, Success centers around a culture that values learning. “Campbell believes that the more training and development opportunities are provided to employees, the more engaged in work they will become. Employee engagement leads to better performance in their roles and better performance for the company in the marketplace.”

 

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Accurate Estimating

Ask yourself as you read, how good is your skill set for predicting the time, funding and resources your projects will require. This article suggests using estimating techniques to improve your estimating practices, reduce and mitigate risks, and increase your project success rate.

This statement appropriately defines the nature of projects:  “projects are risk magnets; the possible reasons include the fact that projects typically involve many dynamic aspects, yet they’re often constrained by finite conditions. These opposing forces make it very challenging to identify with great accuracy the time and effort required, and can result in many budget and schedule “collisions” during the life of the project.” The reality is that “providing an accurate estimate can be quite elusive” and invariably often the answer is “it depends” which is neither affirming to you or your client. Evidence suggests the following reasons we find estimating a challenge:

  1. The presence of hidden or unknown variables that are difficult or impossible to anticipate, and sometimes even more difficult to resolve
  2. Our often-idealistic views of our own capabilities. We frequently believe that we can achieve much more than is possible in the available time
  3. A strong human desire to please other people by telling them what they want to hear. (After all, who wants to be the bearer of bad news?)

Below are 12 tips for Increasing Estimating Accuracy:

  1. Maintain an ongoing “actual hours” database of the recorded time spent on each aspect of your projects. Use the data to help estimate future projects and identify the historically accurate buffer time needed to realistically perform the work
  2. Create and use planning documents, such as specifications and project plans
  3. Perform a detailed task analysis of the work to be performed
  4. Use a “complexity factor” as a multiplier to determine whether a pending project is more or less complex than a previous one
  5. Use more than one method to arrive at an estimate, and look for a midpoint among all of them
  6. Identify a set of caveats, constraints, and assumptions to accompany your calculations, which would bound the conditions under which your estimates would be meaningful. (Anything that occurs outside of those constraints would be considered out of scope.)
  7. If the proposed budget or schedule seems inadequate to do the work, propose adjusting upward or downward one or more of the four project scoping criteria: cost, schedule, quality, and features
  8. Consider simpler or more efficient ways to organize and perform the work
  9. Plan and estimate the project rollout from the very beginning so that the rollout won’t become a chaotic scramble at the end. For instance, you could propose using a minimally disruptive approach, such as a pilot program or a phased implementation
  10. In really nebulous situations, consider a phase-based approach, where the first phase focuses primarily on requirements gathering and estimating
  11. Develop contingency plans by prioritizing the deliverables right from the start into “must-have” and “nice-to-have” categories
  12. Refer to your lessons-learned database for “20:20 foresight” on new projects, and incorporate your best practices into future estimates

References

Retrieved from https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/12-tips-for-accurate-project-estimating.php

Time to Develop One Hour of Training

As I look at budgeting time in an ID project I have been intrigued about how to arrive at accurate estimates for the design or development of a training. How is that time figured; for self-instructional or instructor led, low or high interactivity, e-learning with or without a template)

“Here are the results from a survey we developed in a rough attempt to align credible numbers for use in estimating work based on delivery method and complexity of interactivity. We also review the key factors that can cause delays and contribute to that famous “it depends” answer.”

Factors that affect development time:

  • lack of understanding of one’s responsibility to project; which included not allotting enough time to review work, SME unavailability, provision of materials in a timely manner
  • organizational changes; changes impacting either resources for the project or the overall project
  • incompatible technology and/or lack of knowledge of a technology. It was noted several times that the clients’ technology was incompatible and/or there was a learning curve to using the new tools. To a lesser degree it was also mentioned that software quirks also lent to development time being impacted.
  • Expectations of what the project would look like as a finished product causes delays as does the desire to add additional content at the last minute (tendency for over planning; Laureate Education).

I will be sure to keep these in mind for my next training project!

References

Retrieved from https://www.td.org/Publications/Newsletters/Learning-Circuits/Learning-Circuits-Archives/2009/08/Time-to-Develop-One-Hour-of-Training

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Planning for contingencies [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Time to Develop One Hour of Training Monday, August 31, 2009 – by  Karl M. KappRobyn A Defelice 

“I said”

Effective communication is truly an art; “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”

––Anthony Robbins

My interpretation of these three modalities of communication was dependent on how important the message seemed to be and how real, authentic value it had. These then, the email message, phone message and live visual where likely influenced by spirit and attitude, tonality and body language or timing. Personally I like the related-ness or sincerity of the communication I receive; thankfully TEXT message was not included in this exercise! Lol Ha! The implications of this exercise speaks of the importance of effective communication and gives proof of its value in knowing how to best develop that. I still believe that in person, live communication gives and gets the best results. “Important communication is best delivered live and with all people present” (Laureate Education). The live visual was close to ‘in person’ but the message seemed a little odd. Likewise with the voicemail, but at least believable. Although less personal, the email message was informational and easy to review. Successful rules of engagement with people include: Keep the stakeholder involved; tailor your communication to fit what makes it convenient for them. Meet with key players about communication. (Laureate Education) The overriding idea is to take care in keeping people informed with feedback, follow up and review.

A new understanding about effective communication has come from two weeks spent in my brand new job position as Care Coordinator where diplomacy is fundamental to project success here. The Director of Children and Family Ministries continually speaks of building relationships through continuous networking and keeping in close contact with your team members. In other words, keep your stakeholders involved, adapt to your client, and build in trust.

Resources

Video Program: Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Communicating with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Video Program: Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Strategies for working with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Lessons Learned

Whether all of us acknowledge it or not, people tend to respond better and processes function more smoothly when there is a structured system that governs the whole assembly of it. Rules and routines in our work life provide organization to help people to perform more efficiently individually and as a whole. It is this “systematic approach to improving individual and organizational performance (Pershing, 2006) that defines Human Performance Technology and points to the importance of its use and understanding in our personal and work life. Since most of my career has been devoted to education and the teaching discipline, I am easily reminded of projects in which more often than not fell short of employees and stakeholders expectations and ultimately in the end had a lot of important lessons to learn from. Projects I was involved with in regards to improvement plans were off task many of the times due to: inaccurate scheduling and resource needs, sharing key project assumptions, poor team communication, and inconsistent upper-management support” Portny et al, (2008). Information from our resources this week said a lot about the many challenges associated with plans and projects. Much frustration, especially for teachers, can be attributed to adding more extras on to a project and then eventually one loses sight of the focus and initial objectives. In our video program this week practitioners talk about limiting scope creep; things that come up in a project that one was unprepared for and was unexpected and sticking to agreed upon objectives of the project.” Laureate Education. Also, losing track of time lines and task duration belabors a well-meaning effort and slows things down. “Identify all activities, set realistic estimates of task duration, consider task interdependencies, identify needed skills and estimate person-hours in sufficient detail.” Portny et al, (2008).There were many parts of the project management process along the way that could have been planned better.

References

Murphy, C. (1994). Utilizing project management techniques in the design of instructional materialsPerformance & Instruction, 33(3), 9–11.
Copyright by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Used by permission via the Copyright Clearance Center

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Video Program: Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Defining the scope of an ID project [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu