One of the features I most appreciate in the An Overview of Training and Development: Why Training Matters book is the profiles of training and development professionals at the end of every chapter. In this text, Carliner and Driscoll interview various professionals in the field about how they got into the field, their current role and responsibilities, and specific questions pertaining to their educational/professional background. The interviews offer great insight into the education and training that professionals in the field of training and development have and evidence that there is not one defined path to success in this career.
There are two components of these profiles I find most useful. One is the responses to the question about how the field has changed and what changes they expect to see. Shahron Williams van Rooij, Ph.D., PMP, Associate Professor and Academic Program Coordinator, Instructional Design and Technology Program Learning Technologies Division in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University, stated, “…nearly every job ad talks about “business acumen” as a requirement. In other words, the instructional designer needs to be aware of his or her role within the larger organization and be conscious of how to demonstrate the contribution of learning to organizational success” (Carliner, et al. 2019, Kindle Location 1563). ROI measures that corporate success and instructional designers can lead the charge to emphasize how robust evaluation processes of learning and development events can identify that ROI. Williams van Rooij also stated to “expect the lines between Training and Development professionals and performance improvement professionals to blur” (Carliner, et al. 2019, Kindle Locations 1570-1571). This is evidenced in the HPT/HPI movement, and not solely the domain of corporate and industry organizations. Performance support can be utilized in any organization’s learning and development toolkit. The emphasis has shifted away from solely offering training to address any performance concerns.
The other profile component I find most useful are the responses to the question about how to develop skills and maintain knowledge. B.J. Schone, Digital Learning Lead at Atlassian, indicated that he “read(s) articles and research reports from the eLearning Guild, Bersin, the Association for Talent Development (ATD), Harvard Business Review, and various learning/ technology blogs on a regular basis. I also check Twitter several times a day to stay on top of trends and discussions” (Carliner et al. 2019, Kindle Locations 3335-3337). Adam Ashton, a Technical Training Specialist with Multimodal Integrated Technical Training (MITT), Transport Canada stated “…we got together every two weeks for Think Tank sessions. I think the secret for these sessions is to keep them informal, so that people feel comfortable contributing without having prepared anything in advance…the aim was to see how we could vary our instructional methods and try to stray from the typical text-on-slides-with-pictures model that is so easy to fall back into” (Carliner et al, 2019, Kindle Locations 5421-5422). In these responses, I find validation, for these, are methods I employ as informal learning to supplement my education in this MSIDT program. As a career development coach, I encourage job seekers to get advice and insight from current practitioners in the field. Engaging professionals directly in-person, or online, or via social media provides valuable learning and access to materials and knowledge that new professionals may not be aware of. I reached out to my growing ID network on LinkedIn to source journals and research to choose an article for my midterm review. I joined the local ATD chapter and volunteered on the conference planning team to meet other professionals in the field. I watch webcasts and online learning conferences. In those, I discover the new trends and tools that are hot topics in the field of learning and development that aren’t yet covered in my introductory courses.
As this class comes to an end, and I revisit my first reflection paper, I can say that I’ve applied the approaches I am learning to a corporate class project. My interest in learning experience design remains strong. Going into next semester, I will likely feel slightly overwhelmed, but as I process this experience as a learner, I will hopefully be influenced to keep the learner central in any iterative design process I am involved in the courses to come.
Carliner, S., & Driscoll, M. (2019). An Overview of Training and Development: Why Training Matters [Kindle Locations 1781-1783]. Retrieved from Amazon.