Guest Post: The Value of Connection

Over the past few months, I’ve had coffee and kicked some training ideas around with an up-and-coming trainer named Brittany Flajole. After a recent chat, I invited her to share some of her reflections on what’s been helping her maneuver around the learning curve of becoming an L&D professional. Here are some of her reflections:  

A couple months ago I approached Brian, who I had met several years ago during a tour of his organization as part of my masters program. I was interested in learning and development and his passion for making learning stick left a lasting impression.

Recently, I took a position as a Training and Development Manager where I’ve been tasked with building the department from the ground up – an exciting and daunting task.  I quickly realized I would need to strengthen my network within the L&D community to be successful in the long run.

Brian was one of the first people I reached out to because of his expertise as an L&D practitioner. There were a few other measures I took to ensure I would stay up-to-date on industry best practices and the training programs I created would have a lasting impact.

Here are four measures that I took that I’m hoping can help others who are just getting started in the L&D field to create a lasting impact with the work they do:

  1. Connect with other local L&D professionals quarterly – Set a time to meet over coffee/tea to provide feedback to one another on current initiatives. Or find an experienced L&D professional with whom you can bounce ideas around. Can’t think of anyone? Drop Brian a line and have a virtual coffee via Skype!
  2. Join your local ATD Chapter – Learn from monthly speakers on how they’re applying best practices to their organizations. Super-charge your experience by getting involved in a volunteer opportunity or become part of the local chapter’s Board.
  3. Join the national ATD Chapter – Your membership comes with a monthly subscription to TD Magazine in which you can read about national trends in the industry.
  4. Attend relevant conferences – There are many conferences held around the country that are relevant to improving skills such as instructional design, training delivery,  or mastering new learning technologies. Along with learning new material you get to meet industry professionals from around the world. Not sure where to beging? Check out ATD events, Training magazine events (fun fact: Brian will be facilitating a session at Training magazine’s Online Learning Conference on September 21) or eLearning Guild Events.

Here’s to growing your community of practice!

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