Vocational education and training professionals must respect their title and be responsible for their own learning if they expect respect from others. While this seems like common sense, many of our colleagues (particularly in the RTO environment) fail to challenge what they know and make little attempt to discover what they don’t.
To be open to learning you must be open to learn
As VET professionals, our objective is not only to foster employee learning but to become learners ourselves. As a profession, we must be the first to practice what we preach. If we don’t lead by example, then what are we good for? Our own professional development is absolutely essential if we want to instill learning within our organisations.
Our concern arose over a many conversations with learning professionals during the workshop Managing trainers and assessors. We asked participants to interpret the VET Quality framework (particularly requirements for trainers and assessors) and challange them to find ways to use the legal framework to help them to achieve their RTO’s goals. Many could not see the connection at the beginning of the training, and some even disagree with the relevance of the requirements under SNR 15.4. Professional Development is an esential part of our system, is in fact our commitment to relevant, industry current learning.
Relevant PD for Trainers
Again, being a learning professional is a significant responsibility. You must be a learner yourself, and more importantly, you must be a critical thinker. Learning is not a unidirectional process. Learning is an exchange of knowledge, ideas, and discovery of the unknown. Ultimately, our job is to improve employee performance. We must lead by example to foster lasting learning benefits. To do this, we must:
- instill a need and urgency for continuous learning
- develop learning designs that stimulate discovery, ensuring participants want to learn more
- have excitement about our own professional development, not just in training and education but in the industry
- challenge the status quo
- think critically and support the relationship between industry and learning concepts.
Possess a healthy dose of skepticism and never take anything at face value. Question everything you see, read, and hear…even what we write and say in our courses. You are in the business of learning. And if you want to be seen as a professional, it’s important to act like one. Master what you know and discover what you don’t. Ultimately, if we are not actively learning and challenging preconceived notions, who will?