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Virtual Professional Development Strategies

Posted By Ewald Consulting, Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

By now, you have surely settled into a new normal. Whether that be in your office with distancing policies, working entirely from home or somewhere in the middle, you are working in an environment you have not been in before.

A significant change many of us have felt is the mass shift to online platforms. It is where we hold meetings, conferences and even some celebrations. Professional development is another area that has had to make that shift online in order to stay relevant and useful.

Professional development provides the tools and education to become better in the workplace. With in-person options being limited, how do we approach professional development in a virtual environment?

In this post, we will look at a few virtual professional development strategies.

  1. Use questions to identify your goals: Tech & Learning recommends using guiding questions to guide your professional development strategy. With endless virtual professional development opportunities, it is crucial that you fill a specific need. Use these questions to narrow down your focus:

    1. How do you hope participants would change as a result of your professional development?
    2. Who would most benefit from this professional development?
    3. How often should participants engage in professional development?
    4. Does the content align with company values?

  2. Try new things: Edutopia explains that one positive consequence of virtual professional development is much lower operating costs. No one has to fly or stay in hotels to learn more about their profession. Now, you can run a webinar on Zoom or Facebook Live at no cost or lower cost. Capitalize on this opportunity and try testing out some new ideas.

  3. Make it fun: Tech & Learning explains that participating in virtual professional development can be difficult. It is much harder to stay engaged with a screen than a speaker in person. Be selective in choosing your content and who delivers it. A course may be full of information, but if it is long and dry, it will be much harder to absorb the information given. Try experimenting with multimedia. Include short videos and images to keep participants engaged.

  4. Check in: According to Tech & Learning, you should check in and see how the development exercises are being received. Participants are excellent resources for you to get a better understanding of how everything is working. Send out a short survey following your sessions to get a feel for how things are going.

While COVID-19 has presented myriad challenges, it has given us a great opportunity to innovate and explore new ideas in professional development.

Watch for our new podcast, Associations Next, premiering this month. Our first episode focuses on how the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged professional development — and presented new opportunities.

Tags:  leadership  Professional Development 

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