I read a lot, and I am often asked by my friends (you know who you are), "how I do it?" In a recent conversation with a friend and colleague, we discussed this very topic. He has just finished his masters degree, and has not had time, in a long time, to keep current on learning industry trends and technologies. He asked me how I keep up, and how I manage to read so much. The answer lies in the premise that staying current in any field is a vital part of the job, not a luxury to be indulged on occasion. I told my friend that my job is not just to do my job, but to prepare for my job of tomorrow, whatever that is. For me, reading is as necessary is brushing my teeth, eating vegetables, and exercising.
I don't know about the rest of you, but my Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator skills are circa 1998. I can muddle my way through the easy stuff, but for the most part, I'm hopelessly out of date. How did I, a self-proclaimed professional student, let my graphic design skills become obsolete? I blame it on PowerPoint.
High-society events aren't my scene but when an opportunity came up recently to mingle with a group of independent business owners over free wine and hors d'œuvres, I couldn't pass up the chance to build my personal learning network (and enjoy a free lunch). And sure enough, within a few minutes a woman tapped me on the shoulder seeking my professional advice.
We're all hearing the same grim news on the U.S. jobs front: Nationwide unemployment sits stubbornly above 9 percent. The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows no significant uptick in hiring. And the proportion of Americans who are either actively employed or looking for work hit a new low-water mark of 64.3 percent. The outlook looking forward, though, is more promising -- one that job seekers and hiring managers should study more closely. For starters, there are signs that hiring is turning the corner: The latest survey from the National Association of Business Economics shows that 42 percent of U.S. businesses in four major industrial sectors plan to expand payrolls over the next six months, up from just 29 percent at the same time last year.
Dan Silmore joins the online training software company as VP of Marketing
As a learning and development professional, I have often struggled with the question, "how can we keep up with the constant and increasing need for learning and demand for training?" Organizations of all sizes are moving so fast, that as soon as we finish learning something new about products, customers, a change in the competitive landscape, or how to use a new software system, something new comes along to replace it. New learning is once again needed. Learning professionals scamper to come up with a way to train people on the new thing. That's life in the L&D trenches. It is to be accepted and embraced.
One day in my studio I was perusing YouTube for a video to embed in my blog when my 4-year-old daughter skipped in.
Chief Learning Officer magazine recently reported that its Business Intelligence Board (BIB) of learning leaders is more optimistic about the outlook for 2011 it was in 2010. Sixty percent of learning executives report feeling more optimistic about employee development in 2011. This might not seem like a large number, but the data is showing that the trend is up. In support of this trend of increasing optimisim, economists and bankers are forecasting strong GDP and job growth in 2011 indicating the economic recovery is occuring.
In a society where "there's an app for that" is synonymous with quick problem-solving, who wants to read a book or take a class to learn something new when a simple keyword search or a dedicated application will do? This desire for self-directed, highly accessible and instantly applicable information is a defining characteristic of our convenience culture and it doesn't just vanish when we go to work. For most trainees (particularly millennials) this is an expectation -- and it means that we must embrace opportunities to replace old-school training content with new-era performance support tools.
Turns out there may be a truly useful -- if not urgent -- purpose to having members of Congress take turns reading the U.S. Constitution. And party affiliation has nothing to do with it. According to the latest survey from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, elected officials in the United States actually understand less about the U.S. Constitution than average Americans -- who don't exactly qualify as Constitutional scholars to begin with. (Test yourself: Take the Mindflash Constitution course.)