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eLearning SIG Annual Career Tune-Up

Monday, February 6, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jesus Diaz
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On Wednesday, February 1, 2012, Ross Squire, President of Knowledge Staff, led a very enlightening discussion for the eLearning SIG about the current state of eLearning and industry forecasts for the next 12 to 24 months.  He partitioned his presentation into three parts -‰ÛÒ observation, reflection, and action.

Ross jump-started the meeting with a thought-provoking question: How satisfied are you with the current direction of your career?  By a show of hands, the audience indicated from the highest level whether they were very satisfied with their careers through the lowest level very dissatisfied with their careers. Ross told the group that everyone should be at the highest level very satisfied with the direction of their careers and his objective that evening was to help us work towards that goal.

Ross strongly encouraged all of us to develop the skill of observing---to become competent observers of the economy, the workplace and eLearning and Technology. As the discussion pursued, Ross helped us to hone our observation skills as we examined the three aforementioned areas.  

He noted three things about our present economy:

  • The economy is still very fragile
  • Recovery of the economy has been a series of stops and starts
  • Very modest improvements are forecasted for 2012  

Ross observed the following things about our current workplaces:

  • Workers are expected to have at least 10 different jobs in their lifetime
  • Small businesses and self-employment will drive the economy
  • Lifelong learning will be vital to career success
  • Face time will be a precious commodity
  • Companies are conserving their cash and working on tight budget
  • Workers are expected to do more with less and work faster
  • Companies are relying on outsourcing and off-shoring more than ever before 

Ross also shared with us eye-opening statistics on the growing elearning/technology field:

  • 750m Facebook users
  • 130m LinkedIn users
  • 1.3 billion cell phone users
  • 45% of our current workforce is contingent. 

After observing the current state of affairs, we then moved into the second part of our discussion----Reflection.  Ross began by boldly stating that it is our responsibility not our employer's responsibility to develop our own careers.  

He encouraged us to individually consider which career path we might want to take--- (1) staff and department management (focusing on strategy and project management at a macros level) or (2) senior performers (focusing on tactical execution on a micro levels and strategy at a macro level). 

He concluded this section by raising four (4) important questions:

  • Is your current position consistent with your short and long-term career goals and objectives?
  • Is your career progressing with acceptable velocity?
  • Are you having the conversations with your manager that will move your career forward with acceptable velocity?
  • Are your skills and experience reflective of emerging trends in e-learning and the overall Learning space? 

Ross ended our lively discussion by outlining a handful of action items he encouraged the group to take to help us reach our professional goals:

  • Develop minimally one new skill, tool, technology, or method every year.
  • Set aside $1,500 ‰ÛÒ $2,500 to invest in new skills
  • Attend at least 1 national conference per year (ASTD, elearning, etc.)
  • A lot of software tools offer 30 day trial membership and some are free. Utilize them!
  • Become competent observers by following the thought leaders in our industry (Eliot Masie, Jeanne Meister, Brandon Hall, Jay Cross, Josh Berson, Allison Rossett, are just a few).

Survey results and Ross's  presentation slides  can be found here.

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