Core Activity 3.4: Reflecting on personal and professional development planning (PDP)
This has been a useful week, I’ve been working on a personal development needs analysis which I decided to use to focus on the skills and competencies that I need for my current work, rather than for my current studying. I am in the early stages of a career change and although I have many years of academic publishing experience, I am transferring these skills to a new career in eLearning.
I produced quite an extensive needs analysis grid, based on the job description for my role as an Account Manager in a commercial company developing educational media. The actual role is as a project manager, overseeing the development of a range of interactive learning materials e.g. half hour modules developed in Articulate, or 5-10 minute animated presentations or interactive tasks (in my first two months).
The skills and competencies broke down into core areas of:
- Project management
- Client management
- Commercial and financial
- Sales Support
- Knowledge and technical skills
Within these I ended up with 45 individual skills or competencies, rather more than the recommended 10-20! The grid I was using then had a rating scale to apply to each entry, ranging from ‘complete novice’ to ‘expert’. I rated each one by comparing myself to A.N.Other account manager – an experienced colleague I work alongside, and also by relating my years of publishing experience and skills to my current work context.
Interestingly I didn’t rate myself as ‘expert’ for any of the skills . . . I think is because I am so new to my current working context that it seems rather presumptuous to consider myself an expert after barely two months. However, if I had been applying this rating to my previous working context I know I would have certainly rated myself as ‘expert’ in many areas, because I was so familiar with the context, with over 15 years in the company and over 20 in the industry, and comfortable in my role as a senior manager.
Having written that down it makes me nervous realising how new I am in my current role, but I also need to remind myself that those 20+ years in another industry are very relevant to what I am doing now, not least because they were all years working on healthcare related books and journals which were educational materials and my current role is working with similar content, just in different media. Complementary to that experience is my learning as I progress through modules on this OU course, learning more about delivering education online, and my day-to-day work is starting to give me practical hands-on experience, seeing the theory applied in practice.
Back to my grid – follow this link, the next step is to develop a set of learning objectives for my personal development, based on the outcome of my ratings and from these identifying areas of weakness and opportunities for further development. To do this I reduced the grid down to a core of 14 competencies, just over half of these I rated myself as ‘average’ and the remainder as ‘below average’ – this is very subjective, showing how I compare myself to my more experienced colleague. It helps that I identify my colleague as a successful account manager and a good mentor for me, providing many examples of best practice and behaviours for me to emulate.
In my next post I’ll go on to explore my weaknesses and the objectives I’m setting myself to address these.
A parting reflection . . . identifying and admitting to weaknesses isn’t an easy thing to do, it’s more natural to identify strengths – but what I’ve come to realise is that a weakness isn’t a problem, as long as you are prepared to do something positive about it.