Are your learners living their dream?

The title of this article might seem a little strange but bear with me for a moment – I’m not suggesting that our offices are filled with people living in some sort of work-focused nirvana. 

Most organisations will have some form of performance management process in place to help their staff focus their professional development activities and ensure that staff are meeting both individual and organisational targets and standards.  These targets and standards may be based on the current role that an individual performs but may also be based around their aspirations or desire for career progression – for example, to become a team leader or manager.

These aspirations or aims are the overarching reason behind the training activities we will be working on in the year ahead - these are our inspiration, or in many ways, our dreams. (After all, who doesn’t dream of the next pay-rise or promotion at some stage during the year!)

The problem with many dreams and overarching goals is that often they rely on things that are (at least in part) outside of our direct control.  For example, many people working towards becoming a team leader during 2020 will have been affected by the shift to working online and interacting via Teams and Zoom calls, possibly even being furloughed for periods during the year.

Accepting that we cannot control everything is important, but so is identifying the things that we can control.  This means that we need to be able to define performance-related targets that we can work towards, which collectively will lead us closer to achieving our dream or overarching goal. These smaller goals need to be clearly defined, and be positive, challenging, and achievable – using SMART objectives or similar strategies will really help you here.

Ultimately, we need to break down each of the smaller goals further in to specific processes – clearly defined activities that combine to help us reach the goals, which in turn combine to help us achieve our dreams.

The important point here is that all three elements are required for success.

Without having an overall ambition or dream, there is no motivation for individuals to persevere when things are tough.  The smaller goals allow us to focus on what is important to achieve our dream and reduce the chances of spending time on things that distract us or are un-necessary.  They also help to keep the dream in sight and not seem too distant.  The individual processes and tasks then guide us towards our goals and give us achievable targets that we can reach on a daily basis.

To return to the opening question – are your learners living the dream?  Have they got a clear ambition of where they (and the organisation) want to be in twelve months’ time?  Have they got an understanding of the key targets that will enable them to realise these ambitions?  And finally, have they got a clear pathway to meeting these targets – whether through continuing professional development or delivering a service or product?

The Development Zone provides a secure and easy to use platform to store records of training activities and set and monitor targets for your learners.  Combined with a growing catalogue of course material covering topics from study skills to technical knowledge, and the built-in tools to allow you to create and deliver your own training content, the platform is an essential tool to help L&D teams enable their learners to live their dreams.

To find out more about the features and benefits of the Development Zone, visit www.mydevelopment.zone, or if you already have a DevZone account, why not try our DevZone Academy to find out more about how the platform can help your organisation.

About the author

Lisa joined RWA in 2014 as an e-Learning Assistant, designing training material for the Aviva Development Zone e-learning platform.

Her role as Head of Content and Communications involves the editorship of RWA Insight. It also includes reviewing e-learning content as well as providing proofreading, copywriting and standards support across the business.

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