Making Time for Learning
Making time for learning can be one of the biggest challenges in achieving your Professional Development goals. The following tips can help you make the time to develop your most important asset — you!
Develop Your Learning Plan
Prepare a Learning Plan that has clear training goals and targeted completion dates. These learning goals should be developed in conjunction with your supervisor and should include both live Instructor-Led Training and online courses that will enable you to perform your current job even better or will prepare you for future career opportunities.
Once your Learning Plan is developed, make a personal commitment to stick to the plan and to achieve the defined goals. Remember that you, and only you, own your Professional Development. It should be a priority.
Schedule Time for Growth
The benefit with online training is that you get to work through the training course at your own pace, not at the pace of an instructor. You can schedule your training time in a variety of increments. Online courses generally take between 1-3 hours to complete, but you can schedule your training time down to the topic level, which could amount to as short as a ten minute learning session. Also, keep in mind that it is not always necessary to fully complete online courses. Sometimes the best strategy is to log in, get the portion of the course that directly applies to your development goal, and then move on.
Make sure you don’t mistake the “available anytime” benefit of e-learning for “when I have time.” To get the full benefit of your e-learning experience, you need to make the time.
Managing Distractions from Progress
The workplace is always busy and full of distractions. Telephones, visitors, and the ever-present email inbox can make it difficult to focus on learning. Some suggestions to help curb unplanned interruptions:
- If possible, forward your phone to voice mail and record your voice mail greeting to reflect that you will be in training for a specific period of time. Note that you will return the call as soon as you are finished with your allotted training time.
- Post a notice at the entrance to your office or on your desk indicating that you are busy training. Invite visitors to leave a message so you can get back to them as soon as you are finished with your training time.
In the event that you are unable to spend the entire amount of time you had allotted for training due to an urgent interruption that could not wait, remember the bookmark feature of the courseware: The course will remember where you left off, so you can jump right back to the place you were when you exited the course.
Washington State University is on your Professional Development Team. To learn more about WSU’s training policy please follow the links below: