18 Places for Training Professionals to Sharpen Their Skills

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:

Free:

1. Reading others’ blogs. This is where I get fresh ideas and energy to try new things every week. Five of my favorites include:

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:

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)

Low Cost:

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.

Higher Cost

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:

What am I missing? How do you avoid being like the cobbler’s children that have no shoes?

7 thoughts on “18 Places for Training Professionals to Sharpen Their Skills

  1. Thanks for the lists Brian. Glad to be put onto Will at Work…this is right up my alley. A free resource that I tap into is “Mind Tools” http://www.mindtools.com/. Lots a great templates and articles. I think they may be moving to more of a pay model, but still good ideas.

    • Thanks Scott. Will Thalheimer has some VERY good stuff up on his blog. I’m going to post something else related to his blog on Thursday.

      Thanks for the Mind Tools site… this is EXACTLY what I’m talking about when I say other L&D professionals can really learn a lot by starting their own blog. You and Priscilla have both listed resources I hadn’t used before!

  2. Thanks for the shoutout, Brian! I must give a +1 for Priscilla’s mention of Thiagi…whenever I’m in need of an interactive exercise to use in a session, his site is always one of the first I look to! He is actually our keynote at our Central Indiana ATD (ASTD) chapter Learning Summit this fall – woo-hoo! (shameless plug: if you are within driving distance of Indianapolis, you should definitely attend! http://www.ciastd.org)

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