Professional Development

Developmental Activities

Coaching (Learning through People)

Coaching is a planned, purposeful meeting or conversation, usually more than one, with an individual that has strong competency in an area that you want to develop in. The key outcome of this activity is to have this person pass on or teach their expertise to you. It is most useful when trying to develop a particular job skill.

Challenging Assignments (Learning On-the-Job)

This is adding a new challenge to your current job or increasing the complexity or scale of the job itself. You continue your current job and add some assignment(s) to improve your skills or knowledge. This activity helps develop skills, knowledge and attitudes or insights for a higher level of a particular competency.

Self-Study (Self-directed Learning)

It is independent study and is usually used jointly with other development activities.

Self study involves using any kind of resources such as books, videotapes, professional writings, professional discussions etc. to increase skill, add to knowledge, change values or attitudes, and satisfy an interest area to improve competency levels.

Job Rotation/Secondments (Learning On-the job)

This is a development activity where you are assigned to work in a different location or job for the purpose of improving your existing competencies, or gaining different ones. It is usually for an extended term with the expectation you will return to your original job with improved or different skills. It is sometimes used to assist individuals with career development.

Job Shadowing (Learning On-the-Job)

In this activity you actually “shadow” another person to observe their job. It is useful for gaining awareness and basic knowledge of a job with different competency than your current job. It is usually of short duration. It is a useful development activity for people exploring career choices and for expanding general awareness of other jobs in the organization.

Mentoring (Learning through People)

Mentoring refers to a sustained supportive relationship between two individuals who are not in a reporting relationship. A more senior, experienced person assists a less experienced person. This assistance takes many forms, but in work settings it often focuses on the professional and career development of the inexperienced person. It is usually a long-term relationship between an experienced person, often an executive, who shares the benefit of their experience and understanding of the goals, practices, and values of an organization with a colleague who is less experienced. It is primarily to help in career development.

Visits to other areas in department/sites (Learning On-the-Job and Self-Directed Learning)

This activity is similar to job shadowing in that it is intended to increase awareness and basic knowledge of other areas of the organization. It focuses on overall activities and not just one job.

Community Involvement (Self-Directed Learning)

Often a competency can be developed outside of the workplace. You become involved in various community activities to build a broader perspective, develop certain skills and knowledge. This could include speaking at community functions, serving on community boards, service groups, or professional associations, participating in fund raising, managing budgets, doing volunteer work, sports and so on. You apply the skills you learn back on the job.

Special Projects (Learning On-the-Job)

These are workplace activities usually outside the scope of your current job. They are often in addition to your regular job. They are usually substantial activities that can last over a period of time. These could be special task forces, committees, or individual projects. They can be used to improve your existing skills or add to your competencies.

Research Projects (Learning On-the-Job and Self-Directed Learning)

These are usually individual projects and are useful for increasing knowledge, increasing an existing skill level such as analysis, communication, reporting etc. These projects also help in improving awareness in specific topics

Task Forces/Committees (Learning On-the-Job and Self-Directed Learning)

Usually these are workplace activities that have a similar benefit as community involvement activities. These activities help develop skill level, knowledge and awareness and appreciation for dealing with workplace issues.

Guest Speaker Series (Self-Directed Learning)

You attend presentations by experts in topics related to the core and technical competencies. The intent of these activities is to increase an individual’s knowledge and awareness and values in a particular area.  It can be considered self-study.

Professional Forums (Learning through People and Self-Directed Learning)

Similar to attending guest speakers, this activity allows you to gain knowledge, improve your awareness and gain insight from peers. This activity helps in the development of technical competency.

External Classroom Training (Learning through formal education)

You attend formal education courses to address development needs. These may include college or university course and customized courses from private development centres. This is usually classroom training that may range from a single workshop to certificate/degree programs. It is useful for acquiring knowledge and expertise in technical competency in a particular topic.

Computer Based Training (Learning On-the-Job and Self-Directed Learning)

Computer-based training (CBT) such as CD-ROM and the Internet can be used as a convenient, effective method to assist in self-study.

Internal Workshop Training (Learning through Training and Learning On-the-Job)

This is a traditional and effective method for developing skills and acquiring knowledge in specific competency development. It is usually a small group learning format and often customized to the work group.

Action Learning (Learning through People and Self-Directed Learning)

You or a work group tries out a concept or idea on the job. You work independently or together on a project for a specific period of timeThis type of learning activity usually requires setting learning objectives at the beginning, researching, planning, carrying out the project and evaluating the results. There is a planned evaluation session at the end to identify the lessons that were learned.