Training other people is an art form that, if done well, can change the world… and if done poorly, will not only have an adverse impact on your own session, but can turn your audience cynical about the value of any future training opportunities, too.
Friend and fellow blogger Michelle Baker recently raised the concern that training professionals in some organizations are like the “cobbler’s children who have no shoes” – they take care of others’ learning needs but often don’t have opportunities to develop their own skills.
Do you happen to suffer from the Cobbler’s Children syndrome? Here are 18 ideas and resources for training professionals to brush up on their own skills:
1. Reading others’ blogs. This is where I get fresh ideas and energy to try new things every week. Five of my favorites include:
- General topics and trends in training: Learning Rebels: Fighting the Good Fight
- Research and evidence-based practices in learning: Will at Work Learning
- Elearning design: Any of Articulate’s Elearning Heroes Community Bloggers
- New hire orientation and onboarding: Phase(Two)Learning
- Amazing instructional design ideas: Cathy Moore’s blog
2. Write your own blog. I’ve found that by getting into the routine of writing a blog post twice each week, I’m forced to stay on top of what’s happening. And when I’m not on top of what’s happening in the industry, a reader will often gently remind me of more recent research and findings. I’ve also connected to a number of other thought leaders across the training field through my blog.
3. Industry publications. As long as you can prove you’re in the training field, you can subscribe to the following publications for free:
- Chief Learning Officer
- Talent Management Magazine
- Training Magazine (and I don’t just mention them because they named me a top young trainer in 2011… though that did build my affection for this particular publication!)
4. Twitter. Finding nuggets of wisdom through 140-character tweets is still a hit-or-miss experience for me. I have been exposed to a number of articles and research papers through some of the people I follow on Twitter. (Click here if you need some ideas on a few people to begin following)
1. Industry groups. It’s important to be a part of something greater than us as individuals, and it’s crucial to stay on top of trends and research in the field. Here are a few industry groups that training professionals may be interested in. Each of these groups carries a membership fee in exchange for publications and discounts on events.
- Association for Talent Development (formerly ASTD, but don’t get me started on the name change… actually, click here to read my thoughts on the name change)
- Society for Human Resources Management
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (if you want to really make training “stick”, you need to throw in a little organizational psychology!)
1. Professional development classes. I’ve found conferences and workshops in which I have an opportunity to be exposed to thought leaders and get my hands on new ways to create change through my training efforts while networking with others in the field to be the most energizing way to sharpen my skill set. Although these opportunities can be pricy. Some of my favorites include:
- ATD’s International Conference & Expo
- ATD’s TechKnowledge Conference
- SHRM’s Talent Management Conference
- Elearning Guild’s DevLearn
- The Bob Pike Group’s Train the Trainer Bootcamp
What am I missing? How do you avoid being like the cobbler’s children that have no shoes?