Saturday, April 14, 2007

Keeping Up with Workplace Learning and Performance

One of my students asked me what I do to keep up with the field of workplace learning and performance.

To be honest, one of the best tools I have is my network: we share insights and news on an ongoing basis, we send questions when issues arise and, when it's possible, and we find opportunities to work together--on conference presentations, articles and similar projects, all of which provide opportunities to share knowledge.

Networking is nurtured through attendance at conferences and meetings, e-mail messages, lunches, coffee, and similar activities.

But aside from the network, some other ways to keep up:

-- Choose a couple of publications to track on an ongoing basis.ASTD's T&D and TRAINING Magazine are probably the largest and best known publications.

-- ASTD also provides its weekly "Buzz," which summarizes all of the news
about training in every newspaper in North America. I find it to be an extremely useful tool (though I don't get to read it each week) and usually mail summaries of interest to my contacts.

-- I also try to keep up with general trends in business. The New York Times business pages provides daily updates and I like Business Week for more in-depth coverage, because of its focus on design.

-- I also try to keep up with trends in other fields. For general Human Resources information, I check out Talent Management. For trends in web development and communication, I check Boxes and Arrows, a website for information architects and designers.

-- I also suggest that my students regularly attend meetings of one professional organization. Just one--that's about all anyone can really keep up with. If it's possible, volunteer for the organization; it's a great way to meet people and feel involved. Choices include the Canadian Society for Training and Development for those of us in Canada. In the U.S., there's the American Society for Training and Development, which has has chapters everywhere.

There's also the International Society for Performance Improvement, which I've been active in in the past.