Professional Learning is often seen as something that takes place outside the workplace. In fact as most organizations only focus on training individuals to do their basic duties, there is a strong need for individuals to take responsibility for their own professional learning (outside their organisation) and constantly update their knowledge and skills to remain marketable, as I pointed out in The future belongs to those who take charge of their own learning.
However, if professional learning is encouraged and supported by an organization, it can benefit immensely from the continuous learning of its employees. I recommend the SCOPE approach to Professional Learning planning. SCOPE stands for ..
Self-regulated: The individual is in the driving seat. Their learning is not organised for them and managed for them by a Training Dept; on the contrary they organize and manage it themselves
Continuous: It involves a continuous (daily/weekly) approach to professional learning, rather than attending one-off, ad hoc “learning events” on an irregular basis
Objective-led: What is learned is driven by an individual’s own professional objectives. They set these themselves and also decide the best way to meet them, in terms of what they learn and how they do it. They also determine how they will measure the success of their own learning
Personalized: In this way learning is personalized to an individual’s own needs, and fits in with their daily life and workload. It is a one-size-fits-ONE approach, not a one-size-fits-ALL approach which is what most training is all about.
Evidenced: As part of these professional learning activities the individual is encouraged to record their learning journey as well as evidence their achievements against their own performance objectives.
There are therefore three main aspects to SCOPE Professional Learning planning:
1 – Objective and Time Setting : this involves identify your long-term professional/career vision, your short term professional performance objectives (ie what you want to be able to DO in, say the next 3-6 months), as well as how how you will know when they have achieved these professional objectives. It also involves deciding how much time (daily/weekly) you will spend on these activities, and in particular how much time your organization will enable to be done within the working day. (Note, that just 10 minutes a day adds up to around an hour a week, and around 50 hours a year, which is equivalent to around 6-8 training days! ) It also involves determining when and how you will allocate that time, e.g. 10 minutes daily at a specified time, or two 1/2 sessions during the week, or perhaps 1 weekly 1 hour session.
2 – Deciding the What and How: this involves deciding the personal learning strategies that best suit you, e.g. it might be a formal, structured approach to learning, or an informal approach; it might involve accessing content or interacting with people in different ways. It will also involve determining whether it’s about learning the new or learning the old, and will involve considering how to find the most appropriate resources, tools or networks – e.g. through web searching, or inviting suggestions from others, or from help with a learning advisor. Useful resources might include those like: Learn something new in 10 minutes a day.
3 – Recording, Reflecting and Evidencing: this involves determining how to best record and reflect on your learning journey, as well as evidence achievements (e.g. formal certificates, online badges as well as testimonials). In other words, how best to set up and maintain a Professional Learning Portfolio, which can provide a valuable professional online presence, that can be shared with others. Consequently, helping individuals set up their own Professional Learning Portfolio is an interesting new concept for organizations to consider, and I’ll be going into more detail in my upcoming Professional Learning Portfolios workshop at the Social Learning Centre. If you are interested in this new area of work, come and join us.