provide professional development

How Can You Determine if the Professional Development You Are Offering…Worked?


At first glance, it seems that it is getting easier and easier to efficiently and even economically “train” people in our workforce.  In addition to bringing in a firm to conduct on-site training, organizations can opt for staff to receive training at conferences or via the ever increasing webinar selections.

Sounds pretty easy to provide professional development these days, doesn’t it?  Well, YES, it is easy to PROVIDE training.  It’s also easy to lead a horse to water.  Are you now thinking like I am thinking?  Just because people are provided with training, do they learn?

Professional development:

  • is meant to make an employee become more effective as s/he learns new information or skills and/or improves current knowledge and skills.
  • can revive an employee’s eagerness to be productive.
  • demonstrates an organization’s commitment to the person being trained.

Professional development has the ability to be a very powerful tool in increasing an organization’s level of success.  Like any tool, it must be used correctly.  If the right professional development is not offered, both the employer and the employee will be very disappointed.


How can you determine if the professional development you want to offer SHOULD work?

  • Look closely at the objectives and outcomes purported by the training?
    • Does it list what it will provide … or … what the outcomes (results) of that experience will cause?
    • Should the new information be able to be learned immediately or will it take repeated or further training?
  • Make sure that the outcomes align with your employee’s and organization’s needs:
    • Does the training match the type of work you are doing or must the employee make
      inferences about how to adapt the new information to his/her setting?
    • Is the learning format you are offering to the employee compatible with his/her learning style?
    • Will the learner be able to glean the content from a flat screen or a room full of strangers or the same people he sees every day?

How can you determine if the professional development you offered DID work?

  • Know the employee’s level of understanding prior to the training:
    • Have a conversation with the employee prior to the training.
    • Examine past performance evaluations.
    • Give a pre-test in written or oral form.
  • Evaluate the employee following the training:
    • Have a conversation with the employee following the training.
    • Ask the employee to write a review of the training – and what s/he learned from it, how s/he will operated differently in the job.
    • Give a post-test in written or oral form.

If you are thinking, “Gee, this looks like a lot of work!” you are right.  Professional development is not like eating a brownie or taking an aspirin.  It’s serious stuff.  It’s time consuming and expensive.  It rattles the thought processes (but isn’t that the idea?). It’s added effort for the betterment of the organization and the employee. Just think: where will you be without it?

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