When was the last time you caught up with your professional development?
What about your team?
You might recall, in some near or distant past, being told at school or university that continuous professional development would be important for your career. Over the years, you might have even been forced to sit in on a few workshops or sign in to some online courses by the Learning and Development team at your workplace.
Let’s be honest, how engaging did you find them?
Can you even remember the subject of the workshops you pretended to be awake in? What you might not know is that you can make online learning a lot more interesting and less time-consuming.
Technology is taking over, and there’s a new way to tackle the challenge of professional development across teams with professional development platforms.
Ticking your professional development goals off the list for your team doesn’t have to be boring anymore. Because of today’s social networking landscape, giving your staff access to knowledge, mentoring and coaching through an online platform comes naturally. These platforms excel in developing community collaboration and engagement.
‘Platform’ isn’t just a fancy new buzzword either. When in-house resources are thin on the ground, this style of professional development can make or break what you have to offer new employees without breaking the bank. It allows you to build personalized communities that encourage the exchange of valuable learning experiences.
Traditional learning management systems are dead. It’s time to reinvent your professional development delivery!
Read more about Keeping Your Professional Development Continuous
Here are our top 5 tips for taking advantage of a professional development platform:
1) Create real-time learning communities
Nowadays, any new resources, skills or learning ideas become outdated before they’ve made it in front of the nominated L&D professional, let alone by the time they reach your eyes and ears.
Because of this, it’s often not viewed as a valuable part of most organizations, and two-fifths of companies don’t have a coherent strategy for learning across their teams.
Professional development platforms allow learning communities to communicate in real-time with one another. They get to share resources and lessons as they happen. Facilitators and teachers have a much easier job of getting information out to the team. You and your team should make practical use of it in their roles.
Which is what the whole professional development thing is about in the first place, right?
2) Acknowledge, recognize and share successes
Everyone wants to be recognized for a job well done. From giving and receiving feedback, sending a virtual high five for a great score, to sharing valuable learning insights–it all counts and gives individuals a great incentive to keep investing in their learning.
Professional development platforms give you the capacity to make sure your team members are rewarded for their commitment.
We’ve already gone over how important building a social community for your brand is and at the heart of that is your team. Help them build their own social community through peer to peer evaluation. Acknowledge their hard work with highly personalized profiles with records and badges of achievement.
By allowing trainers and trainees to connect with each other while learning, you’ll create a professional learning environment that is both fun and effective.
3) Maximise on giving your educators (and learners) full control
Learning management platforms have a finite amount of resources. These are usually outdated and pre-approved by some unknown person sitting somewhere outside your business.
Who needs that?
Your team is already accessing up-to-date, high end, quality resources. This through other online communities, blogs, social media or informal networking groups. Use your professional development platform to allow your education team to make full use of that.
We know that effective community engagement needs input from your community–your team’s learning community is no different.
A strong professional development platform allows your team to open resource discovery–meaning they can tag suitable resources on other applications that they think will bring value to the wider team’s ongoing development.
4) Assign mentor and ambassador roles
Just as your learning community can engage and deliver feedback in real-time, you need to take action in real-time too.
If a learner’s questions, ideas, feedback and requests for support are left unnoticed for too long–or, worse yet, ignored completely–you’re going to have a real problem on your hands. No one will want to engage with the platform.
This is one of the biggest downfalls of traditional learning management systems. Once a learning session is complete, no one looks at it again. But, professional development platforms are different–they’re designed for continuous engagement and you need to make sure that this is promoted.
Take advantage of the functions that allow you to stay in control. For example assigning teacher/mentor roles and creating alerts about any unread posts of overdue training materials.
Creating opportunities for learning ambassadors who can take a lead on this for you is another great way to stay on top of this AND help put into action point number two above.
5) Personal Diaries
No matter what community platform you’re running, at some point, you’re going to need to make sure you export some of that beautiful data it’s collecting for you and make use of it.
One of the biggest advantages of a professional development platform over a traditional learning management system is the access it will grant you to instant, high quality and actionable feedback from your team.
You can glean valuable insights about who is under- or overachieving, who is a driving force behind learning across your teams and what you need to be doing to address this. Definitely, make sure you take full advantage of this. It’s all achievable with the right software platform.
Where To Start?
You’re no doubt thinking that sounds great, but where the heck do I start with finding a platform that lets me achieve all of that? Well, turns out you’re in luck in here too. CMNTY has you covered with our very own professional development platform.
Ready to take your social networking software to the next level? Try CMNTY 14 Days for FREE.