4 Steps to Personal Professional Development

 

employee-development

Click Here: A Company Wide Employee Development Plan

Personal 4 Step Professional Development Plan 

It is important for every professional to have a plan committed to growth weather or not there is something in place officially at one’s current or future place of employment. Complacency and mediocrity make the aspiring professional cringe. Therefore, it is good to have a few methods in place to ensure continued growth. There are an abundance of methods and approaches that could aid in personal professional development. I have chosen only four that are common and sure to help any professional maximize their potential.

Formal Education – I will commit to formal education each year. While attending a university for a formal degree is always an option. This will not always be feasible. Plan to attend conferences, symposiums, workshops, and retreats. Additionally, participate in executive education and in house custom programs that are designed to study real world problems and gain real world skills (Noe, 2010, p.253).

Job Experiences – I will commit to being mindful of work relationships, problems, demands, tasks and other features of the job by spending time reflecting each day. Keeping a daily spoken log, video log, or written journal to record significant events that occur as a away to gain awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses as well as any issues that need particular and specific attention. (Noe, 2010, p. 364).

Job Enlargement – I will commit to finding new challenges and new responsibilities in my department and organization. The goal of undertaking theses tasks is to learn about the company’s career opportunities but also to use leadership and organizational skills to help the task force reach its goals. Volunteering and internships, transfers and promotions are all strategies that combined will lead to job enlargement (Noe, 2010, p.366).

Career Support – I will commit to finding a colleague that is willing to be a coach or mentor figure. It is paramount that this individual or group of individuals have experience in the organization and be willing to share tips, suggestions, advice, concerns, accountability, and motivation. Additionally, I will seek to find protection, sponsorship, exposure, and visibility. The ultimate goal for this support includes skill development, higher rates of promotion, larger salary, and greater organizational influence (Noe, 2010, p.373).

Reference:

     Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development(5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

 

Advertisements

Major Learning Technologies of the 21st Century

The different ways that people learn and interact has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Organizations are being impacted positively by focusing how their staff best learns and when it is necessary,  utilizing technology to enhance staff training ensuring improvement of overall company performance.

There are benefits from appropriately implementing technology according to Noe (2010), new technologies have influenced the delivery of training, training administration, and training support:

  • gain control over when and where they receive training
  • access knowledge and expert systems on an as-needed basis.
  • avatars, virtual reality, and simulations
  • multimedia types electronic training records and reduction in paperwork ( p.297)

Gamification

Related image

Gamified training applications “are often more effective for learning than traditional training approaches,” (Whybrow, 2015). Games are more engaging and facilitate better learning and transfer of training. Lasola-Caramol (2016) reports that there are 4 major components of this style of training:

  1. Addition of Story – where traditional e learning focuses strictly on the course content, gamification adds additional intrigue.
  2. Rules – awareness of guidelines and boundaries
  3. Increased Interaction – engaged participation as a gamer
  4. Element of Competition – gamification harbors an element of mastery.

Utilizing gamified training can have tremendous positive impact on organizations. It is likely that this trend will continue as gaming capabilities develop better applications.

Customized Training Software Learning Management Systems

Related image

 

These technologies are listed together because there is an overlap in their purpose and function. Noe (2010) posits, “Digital collaboration can be synchronous or asynchronous.” An LMS impacts the learning environment to enhance traditional, technical, and blended learning environments. Benefits of the LMS include intuitive dashboards that improve learning acquisition, training available anytime from any place, can integrate third party applications, live around the clock IT support, and social media connections. Perhaps one of the hugest impacts is the virtual classroom features of video conferencing, whiteboard, screen sharing, document sharing, surveys and assessments, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The impact of these technologies will continue to impact the immediate future because it is so versatile and gives designers, instructors, and learners so many options to engage in the learning process.

Mobile Learning

Image result for mobile learning

Mobile learning involves using portable computing devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones with a wireless network so learning extends beyond the traditional classroom. There are more ways for learning to occur, more ways for trainees and students to stay connected to the instructor and to each other. According the multi-year study  83% of adults between 18 and 29 own a mobile device. The impact that mobile learning will have on training will increase because the demand for it will increase as more and more people utilize mobile devices.

Authoring Tools

Image result for authoring tools

This software is not a word processor, instead it enables trainers to integrate an array of media to create professional, engaging and interactive training content. Authoring tools are used primarily for repurposing digitized elements or learning objects from an existing course for use in a new course. Since repurposing involves taking old curriculum and repurposing it, the impact this technology has on training will continue to have a positive impact on the training industry. Authoring tools allow the needs, design, and evaluation to have manageable solutions (Noe 2010, p.311).

References:

Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development(5th ed.). Retrieved from http://202.74.245.22:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/123456789/435/Employee%20Training%20and%20Development.pdf?sequence=1

Top Training Software Products. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2017, from http://www.capterra.com/training-software/

Pappas, C. (2017, June 03). The 20 Best Learning Management Systems (2017 Update). Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://elearningindustry.com/the-20-best-learning-management-systems

Norman, S. (2017, August 03). 10 Authoring Tools For Easy eLearning Design. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://elearningindustry.com/10-authoring-tools-easy-elearning-design

What is an Authoring Tool. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://www.trivantis.com/authoring-tool

http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/6/students-mobile-learning-practices-in-higher-education-a-multiyear-study

Top Training Software Products. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2017, from http://www.capterra.com/training-software/

Lasola-Caramol, E. (2016, June 26). 4 Ways Gamification Transforms eLearning Experiences. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://elearningindustry.com/4-ways-gamification-transforms-elearning-experiences

Whybrow, L. (2017, July 20). 5 Killer Examples Of Gamified eLearning. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://elearningindustry.com/5-killer-examples-gamified-elearning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kickstart a Needs Assessment Training

 

My father owned a corporate office design and office furniture dealership. I used to work for him for many years. Steelcase was one of the many manufacturers he dealt with. According to Noe, when a needs assessment is being done it is to locate the “pressure points.” He says that that there are three basic areas to analyze for them: organizational, persons, and tasks.

What stakeholders would you want to make sure to get buy-in from?

Steelcase key stakeholders would include CEO’s, customers, dealers, and employees. These stakeholders are in one of three industries: health, education, or workplace. Steelcase has several different brands and does business internationally. Therefore the scope of the needs analyses should be broad enough to collect data from each group and should include what Noe posits, “ pressure points (from) performance problems, new technology, internal or external customer requests for training, job redesign, new legislation, changes in customer preferences, new products, or employees’ lack of basic skills.”   

What questions would you ask (and to whom would you address them) during the organizational, person, and task analysis phases?

Organizational questions for Steelcase CEOs: 1. Are manufacturing procedures safe and efficient? 2. What steps are being taken to train the talent base to innovate commercial interior design? 3. What sustainability strategies exist for new and old products? 4. All of Steelcase product is manufactured of plastic and metal, with what partners and in what areas are sustainability being protected and threatened?

Person questions for Steelcase employees: 1.What are top challenges in communication with Steelcase 2. What drives your Steelcase brand and product knowledge? 3. What impacts assembly and installation procedures? 4. What are interruptions in your workflow?

Task questions for dealers: 1. In what ways do product and industry knowledge impact market share? 2. How do logistics procedures affect  Steelcase relationships with dealers and customers?

Questions for all: 1. Are customer needs being met? 2. Is knowledge being shared efficiently and effectively?

What documents or records might you ask to see?

  1. Training manuals
  2. Sales reports
  3. Employee Files
  4. Safety Records
  5. Sustainability Audit
  6. Damaged Goods Report
  7. Customer Testimony
  8. Assembly Manuals and Software
  9. Brand and Product Manuals
  10. User Manuals
  11. Recall Report
  12. Supply Chain
  13. Logistic Reports
  14. Marketing Tools

What techniques would you employ (see Table 3.2 on page 108 of the Noe text), and why?

Interviews would be ideal when working with Steelcase management employees because their information is critical to get a sense for they type of need and the magnitude of those needs as it pertains to implementing training to address the problem. Interviews will provide a better sense of the mood and other nuances that exists and more than likely managers will have more time to meet than other stakeholders. Online questionnaires are the best way to assess customer and dealer needs because it’s the quickest, easiest, least expensive way to assess needs in mass and instantaneously.  Comparing documentation to observed practices is the best way to determine if company objectives are being met.

References:

Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee Training and Development(3rd ed., Vol. Chapter ). Retrieved July 15, 2017, from http://serverlib.moe.gov.ir/documents/10157/42675/Employee Training and Development.pdf

 

Office Furniture Solutions, Education & Healthcare Furniture. (2014, June 16). Retrieved July 14, 2017, from https://www.steelcase.com/

A Very Basic Elevator Pitch

 

Access wav. file click here

Is it true that the training in this company is going to a learning organization model? 

Well- Do you have systems and departments in place to ensure that learning goals are aligned to business goals?

Does your organization have a diversified learning portfolio?

Just wondering because there is a great tendency to have a disconnect between strategy and execution of strategy?

Really, it is just part of my professional responsibility as a learning professional to offer services that ensure your training initiatives and training activities are aligned with your ultimate business strategy, the necessary financial resources, and the support required to carry out appropriate training activities.

Should you decide that, in fact, your organization would like to invest more into the learning that needs to take place so that there are less and less gaps between the business strategy and execution, consider personal and professional growth opportunities including a commitment to self-development, coaching, learning solutions, and training, management training, and performance management.

In addition to formal programs, consider also on the job training by changing jobs. Learning the roles of other positions in the company well enough to enhance the performance of their individual roles has proven to be a major learning asset that should be included in your learning portfolio.

I’m a learning specialist, in the event that your company will be needing a learning portfolio and I’d be glad to set one up for you.

Here’s my card, I’m happy to help.

Thanks for your time.

 

Reference:

Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Crafting an Elevator Pitch: Introducing Your Company Quickly and Compellingly. (n.d.). Retrieved July 07, 2017, from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/elevator-pitch.htm

THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF DISTANCE EDUCATION

What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5–10 years; 10–20 years)?

I disagree with this quote, “Without reliable, affordable, and equal access to the Internet, online educational resources including those developed and promoted by organizations such as the Khan Academy (see http://bit.ly/1e5kGyU/) will run the risk of becoming an elitist educational provision that will remain inaccessible to those without the requisite tools and technologies (Naidu, p. 266, 2014)

There will be more opportunities for individuals that need the flexibility of participating in distance learning courses. There are more MOOCs that are emerging like Alison, Khan Academy, and Udemy that are making learning subject matter more accessible. I also think that there will be more individuals that start designing and publishing their own e-learning assets for less academic subjects in the form of tutorial videos and webinars. The next 5-10 years will bring about opportunities for people to become better prepared to compete for better jobs and set up avenues for entrepreneurship. Distance learning will no longer be perceived as second rate education. I agree with those that believe that distance learning will no longer be the exception, but instead, become the standard as the economy becomes more and more dependent upon information technology and virtual collaboration.

In the next 10-20 years I think that the idea of distance learning will become somewhat obsolete. People will become more used to the idea of using the distance learning for acquiring new skills and adding to their professional repertoire. Additionally, more traditional brick and mortar institutions will offer more online courses in order to meet the growing demand and to compete with institutions that are already strictly online. The information age is creating a demand for people to become more technologically savvy, and since technology changes so rapidly, there will be a growing demand for people and organizations to stay current or risk becoming less employable or less marketable.

 

How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning?

There is not one specific thing that I think would improve society’s perception of distance learning. However, I’ll be taking the time to learn how to become efficient and consistent in my knowledge, skills, and ability to make authentic and meaningful connections to help meet needs, solve problems and to provide resources, outlets, and support. I will be a motivator, encourager, and criticizer. Improving perceptions one at a time by empowering people and organizations. I will maintain a growth mindset that finds ways to cultivate learning that can maximize ROI for my employer and or client.    

 

How will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education?

Love to love learning, and learn to stay in love with the learning process. I will continue to learn how to implement new tools by compiling a portfolio and archives of my projects. ‘I plan on attending conferences such as DevLearn, Learning Solutions Conference, Deeper Learning Conference, and ASCD to remain a positive force in the field of distance education and also by maintaining an intuitive attitude and staying current and connected to the leading minds and practitioners in the field.

Finally, I think that constantly reflecting and being open to new ideas and criticisms is vital to becoming a positive force in the field. Wang and Torissi-Steele (2015) posit, “To pave the way for transformation of practices such that online teaching moves towards strategies where educators are facilitators, and where learners are more actively engaged, self-regulated and collaborative (Clemmons, Nolen, & Hayn, 2014) requires reflection on current practices.” To accomplish this I will seek out individuals that can serve as a mentor, persons that can share wisdom and experience with me and serve as a guide and confidant. Having one person or a small group to maintain my own level of encouragement and accountability will be paramount in maximizing my positive impact potential as an ID.   

 

References:

Naidu, S. (2014). Looking back, looking forward: the invention and reinvention of distance education. Distance Education, 35(3), 263–270.

 

Wang, V. C., & Torrisi‐Steele, G. (2015). Online teaching, change, and critical theory. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 27(3), 18–26.

Tips on Blended Learning for Designers and Instructors

The following tips and snippets are inspired by a collection of articles that provide instructors/designers with concepts and components for modifying a f2f course into a blended course that includes some online instruction. The information herein captures best practices as set forth by industry experts.

Essentials of Online Course Design: A Standards-Based Guide

(Vai/Sosulski 2011)
Tip: Consider these phases during pre-planningThese elements determine how the elements of the class are structured. Having the information to provide is important, but having these elements implemented appropriately 
1. Graphic Design – easy to read, clean and lean design, no clutter or crowding
2. Images, Audio, Video – clarifies understanding, balance of visual and text elements
3. Language and Writing Style – use clear and concise wording, inviting and conversational tones
4. Learning Resources – textbooks, articles, references, websites, blogs, etc.
5. Chapter Structure – introduction and summary, links for further exploration and discovery
6. Real World Examples – Screenshots, templates, case study,

UX Design: Humanizing Interaction

uxdesign.com/ux-defined
Tip: Overview User Experience:breakdown how users interact with the online portions of a course. Consider these elements to enhance engagement, interaction and learning transfer. 
Tip: Overview of the Design Context:breakdown all the components in the design context. Use this throughout the design process. It seperates the design context into four basic zones. Things and people need to be considered, this graphic keeps everything in range and is a great tool for envisioning the elements of your blended course.  

E-learning methodologies: A guide for designing and developing e-learning courses

Beatrice Ghirardini, Instructional Designer, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:
Tip: Use during pre planning to determine program flow model: The set up of how the class is actually blended is paramount. How much will be done online, how much is done in class? How will the two phases compliment each other and what are the learning benefits?

The Basics of Blended Instruction

Catlin R. Tucker
 
Tip: Accept the changes trainer’s role from f2f to blended learning format: Don’t overthink the use of technology and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Use the feedback that you are getting from your class guide any tweaks that you need to make in an activity. Let the student’s teach you how to teach them.  Students want a choice in how they learn. Collaboration through games, case study, and field work is a good way to give students control in a blended setting.   
Avoid becoming overwhelmed with web tools– find one piece of technology that will complement your class, and start with that.
Be flexible – Ask for student feedback, learn from mistakes, keep communication constant.
Make technology valuable – Use technology to replace and improve what you already do.
Use tools for discussions and investigations and projects (individual and groups)
Utilize conversation starters – Hot topics and current issues help to enhance discussions and can lead to the formation of hypothesis for collaboration or projects.
Empower Students – Giving students control over the learning process requires that they know how to communicate, collaborate, and solve problems in groups, pairs, and individually.
Provide students authentic learning experiences – Deeper learning requires that the learning design take into consideration the learner’s context of practice, ways of learning, as well as experience in the world.

Designing Deeper Learning Experiences for Online Instruction

Betul C. Czerkawski
University of Arizona-South Campus
Tip: Use learning strategies for Deep Learning–  Always consider the culture of your participants. Think beyond the demographic and deeper into the values that come from their experience. Students need to use their own experience to think declaratively. Blended learning is an opportunity to explore deeper into subject matter in order to understand function and purpose.

Blended learning approaches enhance student academic performance

Neil P Morris
Tip: Enhance original training: Multimedia presentations should be used by the students for lectures, discussions, Q & A, and feedback. Students should be given the opportunity to give candid expressions during class or record it live and post it online. During f2f class using online interactive survey tools for surveys is effective and appropriate. (Makes for awesome gameshow style competition) 
Use of video resources to enhance learning opportunities – provide students with short videoed lectures with associated presentational materials, narration and self-assessment quizzes with instant feedback, in addition to the face-to-face teaching.
Revisit lectures that may have been missed, or not fully understood, allows for deeper understanding and a more flexible approach to learning
Use mobile assessment to enhance learning opportunities – A recent study by Morris (2010) highlights one way that mobile assessment can be useful to improve the learning experience and educational outcome for students who make use of mobile blended learning resources
Increasing interactivity in teaching sessions – eVoting handsets, or student response systems

Switching to blended learning: The impact on students’ academic performance

Zhigang Li, Ming-Hsiu Tsai, Jinyuan Tao, Chris Lorentz

 
Tip: Create a culture of accountability – conduct frequent and brief checks for understanding. Blended learning courses are great for addressing complications, concerns, and other nuances. Encourage students to be prepared each week by becoming acquainted with course material 
 
Design a variety of interactive activities to accompany pre-recorded lectures and reading assignments such as drag-and-drop, ordering, matching, and short quizzes.  
Small quiz at the start of online class to check students understanding of pre-recorded lectures.

Taking the “Distance” out of Distance Education: A Humorous Approach to Online Learning

 
Donna Gayle Anderson Instructor, Texas A&M University-Commerce
 
Tip: Encourage Online Communication – Have some fun with learning! Students should enjoy the learning process. Being lighthearted and having a jovial personality can help ease the natural tension that exist between students and teachers. Also, sharing good news, sharing in student celebrations, and or even a contest can motivate, encourage, and inspire. 
Use Humor – The positive correlation between humor incorporated in online class sections and student participation suggests that humor contributes to motivating more students to engage more in online discussion. This finding supports Shatz & LoSchiavo’s (2006) and Goldman’s (2001) research where students appeared to be more fully engaged in humorous online classes.
This material is from various publications so that instructors and designers access the major takeaways for the most important criteria when designing blended learning courses.  This guide is an overview of the most critical elements that must be considered when designing a blended learning course. This guide is not exhaustive, but does provide a useful tips for a designer/instructor to visualize and produce learning that enhances the levels of engagement and interaction and improves the overall quality of learning during blended learning.  
References:
Anderson, D. (2011). Taking the “Distance” out of Distance Education: A Humorous Approach to Online Learning . MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching,7(1), 74-81. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no1/anderson_0311.pdf
Czerkawski, B. (20). Designing Deeper Learning Experiences for Online Instruction . Journal of Interactive Online Learning,1(2), 29-40. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/pdf/13.2.1.pdf
Ghirardini, B. (2011). E-learning methodologies: A guide for designing and developing e-learning courses (Rep.). Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Li, Z., Tsai, M., Tao, J., & Lorentz, C. (2014). Switching to blended learning: The impact on students’ academic performance. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice,4(3). doi:10.5430/jnep.v4n3p245
Morris, N. (n.d.). Blended learning approaches enhance student academic performance. Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, United Kingdom. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://www.cetl.hku.hk/conference2010/pdf/Morris.pdf
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. M. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education. Charlotte, NC: IAP – Information Age Publishing.
The Basics of Blended Instruction. (2013). ACSD,70(6). Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar13/vol70/num06/The-
Basics-of-Blended-Instruction.aspx
UX Design Defined. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://uxdesign.com/ux-defined
Vai, M., & Sosulski, K. (2016). Essentials of online course design: a standards-based guide. New York: Routledge.

 

There’s No Such Thing as Distance Learning

Web tools are eliminating the idea of Distance Education:

In 1779 Thomas Jefferson proposed a two track educational system with different tracks, his words for, “the laboring and the learned.” Scholarship would allow a very few of the laboring class to advance, Jefferson says, by “raking a few geniuses from the rubbish.” The distance in learning was designed to wedge an intellectual and institutional gap between the minds of those that worked with their backs for a living and those that worked with their mind. Frederick Douglass said, “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” The messy truth of the history of the US is that it needs mindless workers. The result of mindfully learned individuals could result in a revolt against an oppressive government.

Amy Collier gave a TEDx talk and posits that access, quality, inequity and relevance are the driving issues in education. The fact that only certain people have traditionally been able to access the resources, outlets, and support institutionally has been the number one leading cause for the idea of distance in learning. Why should there be distance in learning? There is certainly more than distance to time and space. Simonson would agree that distance can mean “…possible intellectual distance”, (2015, p.9).

There are two ideas that need to be taken away from all of this. The first, since Thomas Jefferson who is one of the founding fathers of the US and Public Education, had thus devalued the organic learning process by segregating access, quality, equity, and relevance, the public needs to decide what to do about these injustices and then determine what is the best course (pun intended) of action would be. The second, this is the information age and Weapons of Mass Distraction are on everyone’s desktop. The wedge is still there even in the age of information. Mark Burgess writes, “…information is not truly knowledge until someone relevant has a relationship to it,” (2015).

The Agricultural and Manufacturing Ages in the US have passed. In the Information Age, the world is a smaller place. Everything is becoming more globalized through technology and the world wide web. However, what is the value of knowledge? How does knowledge effect learning? What are people learning? How does what they are learning effecting how they perform? The US is still as capitalist as it has been since Jefferson. “Key motivating factors for corporate e-learning are predominantly economic… unfortunately in many e-learning implementations, effectiveness is either naively assumed or not particularly valued… more cynical practitioners observed that it often seems that managers or customers care only about the appearance of training.”(Moller, et. al., 2008).

The true worth of learning throughout the history of the US has been divided and devalued. Learning has always been and will become evermore critical. However, traditional education methods and processes have sacrificed organic learning for capital gains. The concepts of education, learning, training, knowledge, and information have been purposely muddled with devilish intent. Every individual person will have increased access to a world of information and it is the value and the purpose of learning. Those that design learning experience must realize, “interactive, real-time, on-demand, learner-centered, authentic and learner-constructed environments will characterize the educational environment of the future. Ultimately, the concept of distance will disappear as insignificant, and the idea of interaction will replace it,” (Simonson, p. 26).

This is an illustration of the future of what used to be Distance Learning:

New-Mind-Map

References:

Burgess, M. (2015). In Search of Certainty: The science of our information infrastructure. Segastopal, CA: O’Riley Media.

Collier, A. (Writer). (2013, June 20). The Brave New World of Online Learning: Amy Collier at TEDxStanford [Video file]. Retrieved March 08, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRl9kmpNc6A

Frederick Douglass Quotes (Author of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass). (n.d.). Retrieved March 09, 2017, from https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/18943.Frederick_Douglass

Historical Timeline of Public Education in the US. (2015, October 08). Retrieved March 08, 2017, from https://www.raceforward.org/research/reports/historical-timeline-public-education-us

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C. (2008, September). The Evolution of Distance Education: Implications for Instructional Design on the Potential of the Web. Retrieved March 8, 2017, from http://search.proquest.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/docview/223118296/fulltext/9A9FC817592246D1PQ/1?accountid=14872

Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 3: K12)

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 2: Higher education).

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scope Creep is like…

 

Understanding scope creep is like understanding what happens when a middle age man decides to quit his job and change careers as a project to afford his family and himself a better living. To make things even more challenging for this gentleman, he is newly married and has a young son aged 2. He had just recently suffered a heart attack and is recovering satisfactorily but the stress of such sudden lifestyle changes is taking a toll. Oh yes, he has just moved back to Ohio from Florida and has not found a place to stay yet. But his project is to use his education to find better pay to get his family and his own life back on track.

 

When this guy first set out, he knew he needed to change careers but didn’t know what it would involve and how much he’d have to sacrifice. All of those setbacks and interruptions that he would have to endure to successfully complete the project of becoming an Instructional Designer with a Master’s of Science and Technology were not prevalent until he started to under take the tasks in the project. The more time he put in the more time was being demanded from his wife and son. His health was different now and he had to exercise and eat differently. His sleeping patterns changed, suddenly he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to just have blocks of uninterrupted time to understand new concepts and complete objectives like he could in undergraduate school.

 

Scope creep on a project is like this man that did not consider all of the different things that could go wrong and did not have any contingencies set up for himself or his family at first. But then as graduation neared opportunities for work increased and the sacrifices began to seem like they were all worth it. In the end, scope creep are the unexpected things that make completing a project difficult, or darn near impossible. Keys to dealing with scope creep start with resilience and ultimately hinge on resourcefulness. If this guy can complete this project not only will it be miraculous, but it will also show that when scope creep is inevitable it can be dealt with, even during the craziest moments.

 

To manage the situation better perhaps the gentleman could’ve waited for a better time to quit or for his family to be at a better point in their lives. However, from the way he saw it, things weren’t going to get better until he finished the project, in spite of any creepage.

Awesome Project Management Tools

Choosing a good project management tool can be difficult process. However, after doing a brief inquiry online I found the following tools to be highly functional and are easy to use.

  1. Dapulse– This is my favorite out of the ten or so that I learned about. The number one feature is that users don’t need training to use the application.  It eliminates overlapping communication, for example, team members can meet less often since responsibility and accountability can be seen by every one on the team. Also, less lengthy email threads to sift through for pertinent info. For each task, each person in all departments can comment and make notes. Sharing feedback and making corrections is simplified. This tool keeps everyone focused on what is important and motivates the team by automatic color coded updates. All goals, tasks, and objectives are transparent and able to be seen by the entire team. New groups, tasks, and even unexpected changes can be created with a click or drag and drop. Dapulse is ‘alive’ and makes necessary adjustments where needed if something changes that effects the entire project or just a few specific areas.
  2.  LiquidPlanner– This would be my next choice for a project management tool. This is a tool that would be great for a large project or one that had multiple components. The feature that stood out to me the most was the deep analytics. Automatically have reports generated from the data and resources that are completed during each project. Keeping people on the same page is important, this tool does this in a way that automatically adapts to change and allows project members to see impact of shifting priorities. Team members always have access to documents and comments and reports at the click of a button. Streamlining tasks and making everything transparent really helps to shorten the average time of projects because this app has simplified complex tasks.
  3. InMotion– I also liked this tool because it seemed like it would be the easiest application to learn and would be good for small projects. The templates makes it easy to get started. Tasks, team members and timelines are automatically assigned. Reviewing and corrections are made easy by allowing comments and feedback to be clearly seen by team and comments to be marked directly onto the proof.

Choosing a reliable project management tool is critical to the efficiency and overall success of teams that collaborate. Each of these tools have free trial periods. Once the trial period is over, all of them are nominally priced, not more than $20 per month for basic access. All of the programs have similar features and will give teams a great way to communicate and execute projects with ease and efficiency.

Clear, Organized Communication as Project Manager

 

When communicating with a person professionally, Stolovitch reminds us to have the purpose up front. Emails, voicemails, phone calls, virtual/live face to face interaction need to be free from certain things that distort the message and sure to include the things that make the message clear, concise, and focused; list issues, scope of problem, need and possible thoughtful win/win solutions.  “Spirit and Attitude is key!” (Solovitch, n.d.).

The recipient should not be thinking about poorly structured or clumsily  delivered messages, especially when everyone is under a deadline. Offering help, emboldening and championing team growth, can help send a clear and acceptable message. Following Standards of Communication can help to ensure the message is appropriately received.  Be aware of your recipient like a writer that is aware of his audience.

Syntax and grammar issues make the tone seem unprofessional, patronizing and off-putting. It is selfish of a colleague to ask for data from a report that is not yet due, immediately after an all day meeting. Considering the colleague that is receiving the message, it was not well timed. When you know your colleagues has had a tough day it could be a bad time to ask him to put a rush on something, especially, for the sole sake of putting a colleague’s mind at ease.

Don’t dance around the message. Get to the point! Achong posits that when making requests from stakeholders, do so in an advisory or team building capacity. Ask questions that get directly to the heart of the needs of the team. Budrovich suggests tailor making communication strategies for each stakeholder. Knowing when the best time to talk to someone, how to be encouraging, team-oriented; being good steward is critical to the success of any project.

Don’t be a know it all. Never start a message that says “ I know you’ve been in a meeting all day but…” Unless it is absolutely urgent or for the overall benefit of the team, never ask for a sudden clumsy favor. If anything, try to build a relationship that allows a more unrestricted dialogue. It is not always what is said but, it’s how, when, and to whom it’s being said. A good relationship doesn’t have to tip-toe around favors or collaboration. Stolovitch also maintains that having Standards of Communication containing frequency, response time, language and format etc. should be a part of every project’s documentation process.  

Resources:

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Communicating with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Practitioner voices: Strategies for working with stakeholders [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu