How to Design Your Personal and Professional Development Program

Sections of this topic

    How to Design Your Personal and Professional Development Program

    © Copyright Carter
    McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC
    .

    Self-directed learners can use these guidelines to develop
    their own training plan. Whether their training goals involve
    learning certain topics and/or skills, learners can start their
    learning by starting their planning.

    NOTE: Do not be intimidated by the length of this framework.
    If you looked at a list of all of the steps necessary to go grocery
    shopping, you’d likely stay at home! You can complete these guidelines
    without being an expert. All you need is to make a commitment
    and take a few hours of your time — time during which you’ll
    be learning, too!

    Sections of This Topic Include

    Directions to Follow These Guidelines
    Preparation for Designing Your Training
    Plan

    Determining Your Overall Goals in Training
    Determining Your Learning Objectives and
    Activities

    Developing Any Materials You May Need
    Planning Implementation of Your Training
    Plan

    Planning Quality Control and Evaluation
    of Your Training Plan and Experiences

    Follow-Up After Completion of Your Plan

    Also consider
    Related Library Topics

    Optional: Also See the Library’s Blogs Related to Designing Training and Developments
    Plans

    In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs
    that have posts related to training and development. Scan down the blog’s page
    to see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in
    the sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post
    in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

    Library’s
    Career Management Blog

    Library’s
    Human Resources Blog

    Library’s
    Leadership Blog

    Library’s Supervision Blog
    Library’s
    Training and Development Blog


    Directions to Follow These Guidelines

    Fill In This Template

    As you go through each of the guidelines in this document, fill in this Learning
    Plan document.

    If Designing a Leadership, Management or Supervisor Development Plan:

    If you are designing a training plan to learn any of those topics, then follow
    the directions in the respective topic: How
    to Design Your Management Development Program
    , How
    to Design Your Leadership Developmen Program
    or How
    to Design Your Supervisor Developmen Program
    . Each topic includes resources
    about leadership, management or supervision and guides you through the steps
    in these “Complete Guidelines …”


    Preparation for Designing Your Training Plan

    Don’t Worry About Whether Your Plan is Perfect or Not — The
    Plan is Guide, Not Law

    Don’t worry about whether you completely understand key terms
    in training or whether your plan is “perfect” or not.
    The key is to get started. Start simple, but start. Do the best
    that you can for now. There is no perfect plan. You’re doing the
    plan according to your own nature and needs.

    Also, it’s not important to stick to the plan for the sake
    of the plan. The plan will likely change as you go along. That’s
    fine, as long as you’ve notice that it’s been changed and why.

    Remember that Training and Development is a Process

    So often when we design a plan, the plan becomes the end rather than the means.
    The plan is a general guide — the real treasure found from implementing your
    plan is the learning you achieve. Learning is an ongoing process.

    Get Some Sense of These Basic Terms

    You don’t have to be expert at the following terms — just
    get a general sense about them.

    Training Goal

    overall results or capabilities you hope to attain by implementing
    your training plan, e.g.,

    1. pass supervisor qualification test

    Learning Objectives

    what you will be able to do as a result of the learning activities in this plan, e.g.,

    1. exhibit required skills in problem solving and decision making
    2. exhibit required skills in delegation

    Learning Methods / Activities

    what you will do in order to achieve the learning objectives, e.g.,

    1. complete a course in basic supervision
    2. address a major problem that includes making major decisions
    3. delegate to a certain employee for one month
    4. etc.

    Documentation / Evidence of Learning

    evidence produced during your learning activities — these are results that someone can see, hear, feel, read, smell, e.g.,

    1. course grade
    2. your written evaluation of your problem solving and decision making approaches
    3. etc.

    Evaluation

    assessment and judgment on quality of evidence in order to conclude whether you achieved the learning objectives or not

    The following articles might improve the quality of your training plan
    Basic
    Requirements of Learners

    Suggestions
    to Enrich Any Training and Development Plans

    The following topic might give you additional ideas of topics to learn about.
    Personal
    Development (setting goals, learning styles, studying, taking tests, remembering,
    etc.)


    Determining Your Overall Goals in Training

    This section helps you identify what you want to be able to do as a result
    of implementing your training plan, for example, qualify for a certain job,
    overcome a performance problem or meet a goal in your career development plan,
    etc. Learners are often better off to work towards at most two to four goals
    at a time.

    1. Optional: You may want to re-review some of the following
      information:

      Goals
      — Selecting the Training and Development Goals

    2. Are there any time lines that you should consider in your
      plan?

      Do you have to accomplish any certain areas of knowledge or skills
      by a certain time? If so, this may influence your choice of learning
      objectives and learning activities to achieve the objectives.
      (Record your time lines in the Framework
      to Design Your Training Plan
      .)
    3. Are you pursuing training and development in order to
      address a performance gap?

      A performance gap is usually indicated from the performance appraisal
      process. The performance appraisal document should already include
      careful description of the areas of knowledge and skills that
      you must learn in order to improve your performance. To understand
      performance gaps, see
      Employee
      Performance Management
    4. Or, is your plan to address a growth gap?
      If so, carefully identify what areas of knowledge and skills
      are needed to reach your goals in your career. Consider referencing
      job descriptions, lists of competencies or even networking with
      others already in the positions that you want to reach in the
      near future. The following links might help you.
      Job
      Descriptions
      | Competencies
      | Networking
      | Career
      Planning
      | Job
      Searching
    5. Or, is your plan to address an opportunity gap?
      If so, carefully identify what areas of knowledge and skills
      are needed to perform the job or role that soon might be available
      to you. Again, consider job descriptions, lists of competencies
      or even interviewing someone already in the job or role that
      may soon be available to you.
      The following links might help you.
      Job
      Descriptions
      | Competencies
      | Networking
      | Career
      Planning
      | Job
      Searching
    6. Get feedback from others
      Ask for advice from friends, peers, your supervisors and others.
      They can be a real treasure for real-world feedback about you!
      For example, you (and your supervisor, is applicable) could work
      together to conduct a SWOT (an acronym) analysis, including identifying
      the your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
      and any threats to reaching the your desired goals.
    7. Should you conduct a self-assessment?
      For example, you (and your supervisor, is applicable) could work
      together to conduct a SWOT (an acronym) analysis, including identifying
      the your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
      and any threats to reaching the your desired goals. There
      are also a wide variety of self-assessments available at
      Self-Assessments
      (numerous self-assessments)
    8. Is a list of competencies, job descriptions or job analysis
      available to help you identify your training and development
      goals?

      A competencies list is a list of the abilities needed to carry
      out a certain role. The list can be very useful to you when identifying
      your learning objectives in your training and development plan.
      See information in the sections
      Job
      Analysis
      | Job
      Description
      | Competencies
    9. Begin thinking about how much money you will need to fund
      your plan.

      You might need money, e.g., to pay trainers, obtain facilities
      and materials for training methods, pay wages or salaries for
      employees during attendance to training events, etc. Begin recording
      your expected expenses in the “Budget” section of the
      Framework
      to Design Your Training Plan
      .
    10. Identify your training goals.
      By now, you should have a strong sense of what your training
      goals are, after having considered each of the above steps. It’s
      important that goals be designed and worded to be “SMARTER”
      (an acronym), that is, specific, measurable, acceptable
      to you, realistic to achieve, time-bound with a
      deadline, extending your capabilities and rewarding
      to you. (For more guidance, see Goals
      and Objectives Should Be SMARTER
      .) Write down your training
      goals in the Framework
      to Design Your Training Plan
      .

    Determining Your Learning Objectives and Activities

    The purpose of this part of your planning is to design learning
    objectives that ultimately accomplish your reaching your overall
    training and development goals. You will also identify the learning
    activities (or methods) you’ll need to conduct to achieve your
    learning objectives and overall training goals.

    1. You may want to re-review information in the sections:

      Designing
      Training (identifying learning objectives, methods to use, etc.)

      Methods
      — Remembering Some Basic Principles About Adult Learning

      Methods
      — Some Basic Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting Methods

      Methods
      — Building More Learning into the Training and Development Plan

      Various
      Ideas for Ways to Learn

    2. Identify some preliminary learning objectives for each
      new area of knowledge or skills that you need to learn.

      Carefully consider each of your training goals. What specifically
      must be accomplished (that is, what objectives must be reached)
      in order for you to reach those goals? Which of these objectives
      require learning new areas of knowledge or skills? These objectives
      are likely to become learning objectives in your training plan.
      Similar to the nature of training goals, learning objectives
      should be designed and worded to be “SMARTER”. (See
      Basic
      Guidelines and Examples for Writing Learning Objectives
      .)
    3. In what sequence should the learning objectives be attained?

      Usually, learning builds on learning. It may be useful to learn
      certain areas of knowledge and skills before learning new areas.

    4. Carefully consider — When you have achieved all of your
      learning objectives, will you indeed have achieved all of your
      overall training goals?

      Now you’re read to write down your learning objectives in the
      Framework
      to Design Your Training Plan
      .
    5. What are the best learning activities (methods) for you
      to achieve your learning objectives?

      Do the methods match your particular learning style, e.g., reading,
      doing or listening? Do the methods stretch your styles, too?
      Are the methods readily accessible to you? Do the methods take
      advantage of real-life learning opportunities, e.g., use on-the-job
      training opportunities, real-life problems that occur at work,
      use of projects and programs at work? Note that learning activities
      do always match learning objectives on a one-for-one basis. You
      might benefit from the following links, Some
      Typical Ways of Learning
      , Some
      New Ways of Learning in the Workplace
      and Learning
      Style Inventory
      .)
    6. Do your learning activities include your ongoing reflections
      about your learning?

      You (and your supervisor, if applicable) will benefit from regularly
      taking time to stand back and inquire about what is going on
      in your training, what are you learning and how, if anything
      should be changed, etc. Skills in reflection are critical for
      ongoing learning in your life and work. Consider using a private
      learning journal
      . Now you’re read to write down your learning
      activities in the Framework
      to Design Your Training Plan
      .
    7. What observable results, or evidence of learning, will
      you produce from your learning activities that can be reviewed
      for verification of learning?

      For ideas about what results to design into your plan, see Samples
      of Learner’s Results as Means to Verify Learning.
      Now you’re
      ready to write down your evidence of learning in the Framework
      to Design Your Training Plan
      .
    8. Who will verify that each of your learning objectives
      were reached?

      Ideally, your learning is evaluated by someone who has strong
      expertise in the areas of knowledge and skills required to achieve
      your training goals. Now you’re ready to write down your evaluator
      in the Framework
      to Design Your Training Plan
      .
    9. Now that you know what activities that will be conducted,
      think again about any costs that will be needed, e.g., for materials,
      facilities, etc.

      You may want to update the “Budget” section in the
      Framework
      to Design Your Training Plan
      .
    10. How will you handle any ongoing time and stress management
      issues while implementing your plan?

      Professional development inherently includes the need for self-development,
      as well. Therefore, you might consider information in the sections
      Stress
      Management
      | Time
      Management
      | Work-Life
      Balance
      | Self-Confidence
      | Emotional
      Intelligence
      | Maintaining
      a Positive Attitude

    Developing Any Materials You May Need

    The goal of this phase of your planning is to obtain or develop
    any resources you need to conduct the activities you selected
    in the previous phase of the plan.

    1. You may want to review information in the section

      Developing
      Training Materials (developing facilities, documents, graphics,
      etc.)

    2. Consider if you need to obtain, or start:
      Enrolling in courses, buying books, scheduling time with experts,
      getting a mentor, scheduling time with your supervisor, etc.
    3. Now that you’ve thought more closely about learning methods
      and associated materials, think again about any costs that will
      be needed, e.g., for materials, facilities, etc.

      You may want to update the “Budget” section in the
      Framework
      to Design Your Training Plan
      .
    4. Should any of your planned learning methods be pretested?

      Should you have anyone else use the methods and share their impressions
      about the methods with you? Have you briefly reviewed the methods,
      e.g., documentation, overheads, etc? Did you experience any difficulties
      understanding the methods?


    Planning Implementation of Your Training Plan

    The goal of this phase of your planning is to ensure there
    are no surprises during the implementation phase of your training.

    1. You may want to review information in the following section

      Implementation
      – Conducting or Experiencing the Training

    2. During your training, how will you be sure that you understand
      the new information and materials?

      Periodically conduct a short test, e.g., everyone once in a while,
      try recall the main points of what you have just learned, test
      yourself, etc. If you are confused, tell your trainer now.
    3. Will your learning be engaging and enjoyable?
    4. Are you sure that you’ll receive the necessary ongoing
      feedback, coaching, mentoring, etc., during your training and
      development activities?

      Consider information in the sections
      Sharing
      Feedback
      | Coaching
      | Mentoring
      | Motivating
      Employees
      | Counseling
      | Sustaining
      Morale
      |
    5. Where will you get necessary administrative support and
      materials?
      >
    6. During implementation, if any changes should be made to
      your plan, how will they be tracked? How will the plan be redesigned?
      How will it be communicated and to the right people?

    Planning Quality Control and Evaluation of Your Training Plan
    and Experiences

    The goal of this phase of your planning is to ensure your plan
    will indeed meet your training goals in a realistic and efficient
    fashion.

    1. You may want to review information in the section:

      Evaluating
      Training Process and Results

    2. Who’s in charge of implementing and tracking your overall
      plan?

      How will you know if the plan is on track or needs to be changed?
    3. Consider having a local training expert review the plan.

      The expert can review, in particular, whether
      – your training goals will provide the results desired by you
      (and your organization, if applicable),
      – learning objectives are specific and aligned with your overall
      training goals,
      – the best methods are selected for reaching your learning objectives,
      and
      – your approach to evaluation is valid and practical.
      You may want to update the “Budget” section in the
      Framework
      to Design Your Training Plan
      .

    4. Are approaches to evaluation included in all phases of
      your plan?

      For example, are your methods being pretested before being applied?
      Do you understand the methods as they’re being applied? Are regularly
      providing feedback about how well you understand the materials?
      How will the you (and your supervisor, if applicable) know if
      implementation of the plan achieves the training goals identified
      in the plan? Are there any plans for follow-up evaluation, including
      assessing your results several months after you completed your
      plan?

    Follow-Up After Completion of Your Plan

    This is often the part of the plan that gets neglected. In
    our society, we’re often so focused on identifying the next problem
    to solve, that few of us have the ability to acknowledge successful
    accomplishments and then celebrate. The design and of this plan
    has probably been a very enlightening experience for you — an
    experience that brought a perspective on learning you can apply
    in a great many other arenas of your life. Congratulations!

    1. Are follow-up evaluation methods being carried out?
    2. Did you (and your supervisor, if applicable) complete
      a successful experience to develop and implement a training and
      development plan? Is this accomplishment being fully recognized?

      Consider information in the section Reward
      Systems

    Go to main Training
    and Development
    page.


    For the Category of Training and Development:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

    Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

    Related Library Topics

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