As part of TrainingZone's CPD month we are asking training professionals to share how they learn. Here David Mascord shares how he keeps up-to-date with the latest thinking in learning and development.
Learning from delegates
I find out - or remind myself of - useful lessons every time I run a learning event, whether it’s a formal course or a facilitated workshop. In my view learning is about sharing, so everyone benefits from a good workshop: even the person leading it.
The trainer often gets a double benefit: first, some great reminders of the skill or personal development they’re leading people through; second, an opportunity to keep learning about training by standing up and doing the job.
Reviewing to improve
One of the best training experiences I had as a delegate was a residential session that included a module on the value of reviewing to improve.
All too often people fail to review and learn from successes and failures of work projects. Learning and development is one the few areas where you are potentially reviewing your work every day. This can take many forms: it comes via gauging the feel of a group and modifying sessions as you go; from evaluation forms – and most importantly from actively doing formal reviews, either with clients or as a personal development aim.
"My two personal aims for the coming months are to attend more seminars and to begin a masters qualification."
Working with clients
An increasing amount of my time is spent working closely with clients and their teams to develop bespoke business communication, editorial skills or management workshops to meet their needs. Inevitably it means I pick up useful pointers on topics I’m due to help them with, plus thoughts on related areas.
Twitter and other social media
I learn something every day using Twitter and other social media tools via links to useful a material that others share and from conversations with people in my network.
Networking: face to face and virtually
Virtual networking using sites such as LinkedIn are powerful, giving you a far greater - potentially global - reach to others interested in the same subjects. But there’s no doubt that good old face to face chats are still the best for learning and sharing experiences.
Formal seminars, courses and qualifications
Formal learning and CPD work is vital. My two personal aims for the coming months are to attend more seminars and to begin a masters qualification.
Making time for reading – and listening and viewing
Wherever possible I opt to travel to client sites by train. This gives me time to keep up with relevant books, blogs, RSS feeds, videos and podcasts.
Practising what I preach
Being involved in training provides a constant reminder of the habits, skills and best practices that I should be using. It’s all too easy to bang on about some subjects then fail to apply those same lessons yourself. L&D consultants should always model the behaviours they promote.
Also, I’m lucky enough to still take part in the market sectors and subject areas I train in including business communication – report writing, effective e-mails; editorial skills – writing articles such as this; and general management – I am involved in another business which has seven staff. As a result I get to try out every topic area I cover.
David Mascord is an independent L&D consultant and journalist specialising in training in business communication, editorial and media skills, and general management. He was training manager at major publisher Reed Business Information, was later director of two training companies and has worked with several universities offering BA and postgraduate qualifications in media and writing skills. See @DavidMascord for his tweets, www.dmctraining.co.uk or his media skills blog www.journalismlearning.blogspot.com