This is a solution of Personal Professional Development Plan Assignment in which we discuss self learning in professional and personal improvement and self managed learning.
LO1: Understand How Self-Managed Learning Can Enhance Lifelong Development
LO 1.1: Evaluate Approaches to Self-Managed Learning
Self-managed learning is a process of managing the learning when an individual takes initiatives and becomes responsible on his own. Every aspect of learning process is selected, assessed and managed by the individual himself. When an individual becomes more responsible about self-learning, it means that he decides what to learn, the medium of learning, and the basic reason of learning. He also decides on where to learn and when to learn, in order to make his learning process smoother. Opportunities and basis of managing self-learning can come from various sources around the individual; various factors which affect learning may come from travel, projects, reading, and most importantly from people who are around. One approach of self-learning may be in the form of continuous learning, which is the continuation of formal class room based learning after completing formal education (Zimmernan, 1990). This can also be in the form of gaining knowledge from seminars and other similar training platforms. In a few professions, it is mandatory to spend some education hours in order to keep the licenses intact. This helps in keeping the professional requirements up to date with the changing business environment and consequent adjustment required in the professional style. In organizational context, continuous learning is beneficial for both the employer and the employees; it helps in sustaining a highly skilled-work force. The learning can be formal or informal, but it enhances the skill sets of the workers making them more employable. Although continuous education is seen more as an option, it is becoming more of a necessity because of increasing requirement enhanced skill sets at workplace. In the current economic and sociological demands, the requirement of lifelong learning has become an essential approach. Lifelong learning is the holistic learning gained from each aspect of environment around the individual (Cunningham, 1999).
LO1.2 Propose Ways in Which Lifelong Learning in Personal And Professional Contexts Could Be Encouraged
We live in a society where changes are rapid in every aspect of lifestyle. Demographic changes taking place in the fields of science, technology, professional methodology and economics, affect the way people are living and their conditions of lifestyle. These changes have emphasized beginning of a new concept “knowledge society”, which demands people to be proactive in getting acquainted with new changes. Every member of the knowledge society must have the willingness to learn and accept the changes happening in the social environment. There is a necessity of continuing education, and the process of learning is no more a choice. The requirement has gained importance because people have to deal with the developments taking place and its situations these may trigger. With increasing importance of knowledge society concept, self-managed learning has taken central stage, as the process enables an individual to decide and steer upon the learning processes based on the importance and context. However the learner must have the abilities to reflect the acquired knowledge through his active involvement in the society and critical developments taking place in it. The objective of lifelong learning must have capability to be applied in thematic context in knowledge society. Self-managed learning should be able to connect the learning from formal and informal sources and its application. Learning through research also enables the learner to decide the context, application and source of learning through self-decision which are managed and realised through his own way(Boud, 1988; Conway & Donohue, 2003).
LO1.3 Evaluate the Benefits of Self-Managed Learning tothe Individual and Organisation
Benefit obtained from self-managed learning can be applied to both individual and organizations. The process enables an individual to decide upon the how, when, what and where elements of learning. In terms of personal development, SML helps the learner achieving self-actualisation. The feeling of constant development in an individual reflects his performance at workplace, hence making him more capable in career advancement and also gives an increased satisfaction at job. SML identifies personal weakness areas which need improvement and the individual gets clue about the remedy of his weakness. It helps in knowing personal limits or inadequacy in certain areas; a better knowledge about own capability helps the learner set his priorities and targets more realistic and practical. Continuous learning process also results in acquisition of new skill sets required to perform better at the job, which boosts the learner’s confidence. Self-managed learning business environment provides a platform where feedbacks are encouraged to be constructive and individual shortcomings can be made open in order to devise a remedy (Davis & Davis, 2000). The atmosphere also fosters collaborative learning platform among workers; sharing knowledge among colleagues multiplies the outcome of learning process. SML has also potential to benefit the organisations while offering a positive learning environment which results in a better -workplace. In the current era of constant changes occurring everywhere on various grounds, it is important for all workers to keep them informed and advanced in order to survive in the changing environment. SML helps in lowering the employee turnover by providing a better work environment and employees get better ideas about working effectively. The process of continuous learning and resultant better skill-sets inculcated among employees give better growth and revenue generating capability to the organisation (Harasim, Hiltz, Teles&Turof, 1995). Better workforce results in keeping employees aligned with the overall organisational goal and vision. For better execution of SML outcomes getting aligned to organisational context, management of organisation needs to be proactive (Butler, D.L. &Winne, 1995).
LO2: Be Able To Take Responsibility For Own Personal and Professional Development
If I am without a job during my studies, I need to work on the following areas in order to pursue occupation after completion of academics. In today’s organizational context it takes more than just academic and personal development learning (classroom education) to achieve significant accomplishment. In professional environment, it is very important to possess interpersonal skills. It helps in getting along with colleagues easily and helps in networking inside the organisation. The skill is critical because all employees need to work with people from different background, hence with various cultural effects and I need to have interpersonal skills to get along with my colleagues. Communication skills are equally important as it reflects verbal presentation aptitudes which are necessary to portray ideas into visible formats. It helps in integrating various categories of employees; to have a better integration everyone must ask and listen to others. While working for an organization, it is expected from an employee to utilize his or her talent to solve problems and enable the business to grow. Conceptual skills acquired through academic learning come into play while facing troubles related to organizations business and it is of a minimum expectation from an employee to have a comprehension about how to prove him by resolving issues. Conceptual skill refers the ability to choose key information from piles of statistical data, which are vital to organizational business structure and help in understating the user’s needs(Alexander & Judy, 1988). Effectiveness skills are also necessary to perform the multitasking capability and to prove the ability of contributing to organizational objectives. Numerous proficiencies in management constitute effectiveness at workplace such as time supervision, bargaining aptitude, project handling, and standard maintenance. There are other skill sets required to perform as a manager (at higher position in organization), which I intend to perform over a period of time. The managerial skill sets include decision making power, expertise in domain, observation power and employee monitoring aptitude.
My personal development needs are similar to the professional development needs. Scientific skill, conceptual skill and individual skill requirements are essential to be paid attention, in order to have a holistic personality development. All the skill sets are important in terms of their relevance. Interpersonal skills need be developed in order to have a better personality and a sound professional aptitude. My current level of interpersonal skills needs to be sharpened, so that I can reach out to numerous people from various backgrounds. For better interpersonal skills, there is strict requirement of proper mentoring and training. A mentor will be helpful in identifying the specific areas of improvement where more attention can be paid and following prescribed action plan would be followed. Communication skills are also important in terms of both individual and professional requirement. My capability at effective communication still needs to be developed. A holistic approach is required than just identifying requirements and making plan for improvement in communication skills. Conceptual skill development is very important because of its application in future employment. Gaining domain knowledge and evaluation current dimension of performance will help in identifying the actual development areas, which would be followed by necessary actions for development. Effectiveness in performing tasks comes from precise approach adopted while undertaking the responsibility. Leadership skills are also a major area of development which is very critical in deciding the career prospect.
There are opportunities in and around my learning environment required for the skill sets, which I have identified above. My interpersonal skills are at a manageable level (although I need further sharpening of the skill), which has enabled me making a group of friends. My friend circle contains students from various backgrounds and with different upbringing; but I have managed to reach out to them and because of my networking skills I have made friends through mutual friends. My group behaviour is not bad, though it can be bettered. My communication skill in terms of presentation and verbal exhibition is sound, if not great. I can manage presenting my idea to a medium sized audience. My excellence at conceptual skills is not uniform; I am good at a few and need to work at a few. The domains where I possess stronger hold are my leverage points, from which I get confidence to perform in others. In terms of effectiveness, I am sound at prioritising things based on their merits. I am quite okay at multi-tasks things at hand and can perform few tasks effectively given my acquaintance with them are stress-free. I am still developing in my leadership skills; however I have excelled in few team-based activities where I have taken initiative and motivated others.
LO2.4, LO3.1, LO3.2: Personal Development Plan
Development plans are based on current performance; based on my current opportunities and required areas of improvements and future requirements I need a blueprint for betterment. I would devise and follow a SMART objective methodology (which is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time targeted). Personal development plans are outlined by my objectives, activities required to fulfil the objectives, and outcomes from PDP activities.
- To develop my interpersonal skills. I need to network with more people in my institution.
- To develop my communication skills. I need to develop my presentation and report writing skills.
- To develop my conceptual knowledge about financial markets, insurance and risk.
- To enhance my effectiveness. I need to be able to solve problems in better ways.
- To develop my leadership and managerial skills.
- To improve my interpersonal skills, I need to mingle with more people irrespective of their background, and to be more assertive while dealing with my friends and team mates.
- To improve my communication skills, I need to join report writing course, and to be present at various presentation related workshops, and to follow my tutors’ presentation styles. After learning about my shortcomings in presentation and communication, I need to do regular practice in order to improve communication skills.
- To improve my conceptual skills, I need to follow an internet-based community which provides online learning about financial markets, insurance and risk management. I also have to borrow books from a nearby library and study financial books. I also need to spend time with my friends discussing more about financial concepts and finance market.
- To improve my effectiveness skills, I need to learn about managing time in an effective way. In order to solve problems, I need to prioritise tasks based on their merit and then go about solving them in respective order.
- To develop my leadership and managerial skills, I need to search for related tools and need to recognise various sources and mediums which are helpful in developing my skills and help me achieve my objectives.
- I was able to mingle with more people my class and also with students from other classes. I made a group of friends who are interested in discussing financial concepts, and we discussed rising trends in financial markets and emerging topics in world economics. I was more assertive while our discussions were in progress; I have often sent invitations to new people to join the discussion.
- I joined a report writing course, and joined several workshops held in my institutions to improve my communication skills. I was able to produce better written reports and followed the report writing with peer feedback and tutor evaluation.
- I joined an online finance community where people discuss about finance and market economics regularly. I also gained knowledge about financial markets from my friend group, of which I had taken initiative to create. Now I have a sound knowledge about risk management and insurance market apart from financial happenings in the market.
- I devised a time management framework and stuck to that in order to do tasks. I have applied the time management practices both in my academic life and personal life. Before jumping into conclusion about solution of problems, I take a closer look at different aspects of the problem and then divide the tasks in order of their priorities. Now I am able to come up with effective and thoroughly thought solutions to all problems, both in academic and personal life.
- I have made the best use of all available tools and techniques related to leadership quality improvement. I have been able to implement my learning about leadership in practice.
I have been able to meet most of my personal objectives which I have set in PDP. My goal of developing my capabilities in key areas of personality has been mostly a success. My objectives and outcomes have been in proper track, apart from few deviations in execution of plan and some unexpected events (which have helped and hindered at the same time). My primary aim towards improving communication skill has been successful in meeting my desired objective. I am able to produce better written reports and can give a good presentation. Learning from my tutors’ presentations however is still under process. I am able to make more friends who are helpful and I have been able to make best use of my friendship circle in gaining domain knowledge. This was an unexpected turn of event, that I was able to form a group of financially interested people. However my participation in online finance community was not very much active as I expected. I need to gain more understanding about insurance and risk management in business practice. My two objectives were met at the same time. In order to have a better approach about solving problems, I was able to devise time management strategies and can handle more tasks at the same time. I am taking initiatives in various platforms, reflecting betterment in my leadership skills.
Based on my evaluation of PDP where I was not able to meet few objectives, I made changes to PDP with an updated plan. I lagged behind in achieving fantastic presentation skills, gaining better understating of insurance, and learning from my tutors’ presentation style.
Revised PDP Objective and Activities
- I need to go through more articles, journals, website, and books about better presentation.
- I need to actively participate on web-based learning platforms for a better knowledge about insurance and risk management. I need to enrol in an online paid finance course.
- I need to follow my tutors more closely. I need to learn the requirements of a smooth presentation, and I need to reflect their styles in my presentation and ask my friends’ feedback about the same.
LO4 Be Able To Demonstrate Acquired Interpersonal and Transferable Skills
I am interested in banking and finance sector. One of the many problems faced by employees in the sector is flexibility issue. This work related issue often comes into picture because of multi-tasking requirements in the sector. Employees face a number of responsibilities each day; hence it becomes difficult to handle all the tasks at once. Moreover because of the unique needs of various types of customers, problems may rise at any time and the employee may have to address the issue right away keeping other tasks on hold. Keeping a number of things on hold and then resuming them can become cumbersome.
Priorities change frequently because of the things which are out of an employee’s control. Hence it is important to have tentative plans instead of static plan for the day. It helps in reshuffling tasks based on urgency. Flexibility comes when the power of rearranging tasks becomes easier. Until the actual time of delivery and time of execution arrives, an employee must remain flexible about the unforeseen and changeable priorities. If flexibility is not adopted then it becomes very difficult to achieve all prioritised tasks.
Time management is about using time effectively by prioritising works. Proper management of time needs appropriate objective setting. My time management system is the best among the following three strategies: Prioritising, being flexible, and working efficiently and quickly (Winter, Puspitawati, Heck, & Stafford, 1993). The best suited strategy is prioritising. Each day of academics offers me a number of tasks which often get cluttered due to their arrival at the same time. Handling several tasks simultaneously can be difficult to perform. Hence it is important to prioritise tasks based on their urgency and merits. All tasks which are supposed to be finished that day must be done that day itself. Multiple tasks should be given merit of first come first serve, which helps in submitting tasks based in their due dates (Adams, &Jex, 1999). Difficult and boring tasks should be given first preference in order to speed up the following relative easy tasks. In case of numerous tasks at hand, priorities in the academic life must be given to solving them at the first place. Other unrelated things must be made to wait so that the pile of tasks is freed one by one. An approach of solving each task at once should be followed; it helps in solving tasks whenever there is time availability.