This is a solution of Personal and Professional Development Assignment, related to HND Hospitality Course. This unit is also available in Business course.
Learning is a continuous process through which we enhance our existing skills and also learn new skills. These skills form the basis of our personal and professional growth. There are many learning methods and places where we could learn, but self-managed learning is the best way. It helps us understand our weaknesses and guide us to set a goal and how to achieve that goal. In this paper we will be discussing different self-managed approaches and also how to implement them in our daily life.
LO1 Self-Managed Learning
P 1.1 Approaches to self-managed learning
In the words of Mr Knowles (1975), self-managed learning process could be defined as, “Self-managed learning is a process in which a person or individual assess himself and take an initiative to make himself better on the basis of the outcome of the assessment without any assistance from any other individual. In this process, a person first identify the needs of learning and then take the actions accordingly by setting up the goals and making a strategy to achieve those goals.”
The term self-managed learning is very interesting in listening but when we try to apply this technique to our own development it seems very tough. This is the problem which makes self-managed learning hard and needs a proper approach to get it working. Although there are many approaches identified by the authors and lots of matter is available on this topic, but following 4 approaches to self-managed learning seems to contain the juice of all the approaches:
- Being Ready to learn
The first and foremost thing about self-managed learning that the person going through the process should be ready to do this. There are many areas which the person has to explore in order to start self-managed learning. The first one is to assess the skills he possesses and the second one is the attitude of the person (Malm, 2009, pp. 81).
- Setting learning goals
Once a person id ready to learn and identified the changes he has to do, a goal must be set to achieve. The goal is the only thing which keeps reminding the person about what he has to achieve and how could he manage to achieve that goal. But the goals a person is setting up should be achievable otherwise the person might end up in the frustration and depression. The goal should be specific and achievable.
- Engaging in the learning process
The next step in self-managed learning is to engage in the learning process. Unless a person is engaged in the process, it is very difficult for him to implement the various techniques of learning. To engage the people in the learning process, it is required that the learning process has some activities which could get the attention of the person and persuade him to take part in the learning process.
- Evaluating the learning
The last and most important approach is to evaluate himself. Through the continuous evaluation, person knows what he has learnt and what is remaining. It also let him know where he is lacking in the process. Sometimes people are not able to evaluate themselves because everyone is not very honest and revealing his own mistakes might be tough for him. In this kind of situation an advisor could help the person in evaluation process (O’Hanlon, 2012, pp. 103).
P 1.2 Ways of lifelong learning in personal and professional learning
There are many ways to encourage lifelong learning in personal and professional context. Many times people think that they are not achieving enough in their personal and professional life. But they do not contemplate the reasons for this underachieving. Most people think that they have been working in a field for 3 or 4 years, yet their achievement is very less and also the demand of their work in the market. But according to the researches done, it takes at least seven years to be a master in the field and unless you are a master of your field, your demand in the market will be ignored because of the tough competition in the professional work.
- Personal development through hard work
As people have always said that hard work is the key to success, same is the case with personal development. There are many people around toy whom you find very successful in the same field as yours, but these people are not smarter than you. The only reason they are successful is that they have devoted 5 to 7 years in the field and only then they have achieved what you have not. But if you could do the same you will be in the top 15% people who have the same profile as yours. To do the same there is only one thing you have to do which is, “develop a thinking of excellence and work on that.”
Commitment is the one factor which determines your desire to do something. Whether it is professional and personal development, commitment is always required to become an expert and achieve the excellence. Commitment also gives birth to another personal and professional technique, which is “Optimism”. If a person is optimistic, all the negative thoughts will disappear and person would be able to focus in the process of learning.
There are four factors of self-managed learning which could be determined through a set of questions. The table below shows how these factors are related to self-managed learning:
|Desire||What is the desire of a person which could be fulfilled with self-managed learning? What sacrifices a person is ready to make for the sake of learning?|
|Resourcefulness||What kind of resources available for learning? What are the opportunities which could be used in self-managed learning?|
|Initiative||What is the first step, a person can take for self-managed learning? Does the person possess the strength to take an initiative?|
|Persistence||How long a person can continue the process of self-managed learning?|
P 1.3 Benefits of self-managed learning to individuals and organizations
There are lots of benefits of self-managed learning to individuals and Organizations i.e. it helps in understanding people and organization. Some of them are summarized below:
- Self-managed learning provides the individuals a great freedom in deciding their choice and performs according to that.
- Self-managed learning is very flexible in nature. Through self-managed learning process people may learn the things which do not come under his duties but people are interested in them.
- People could customize the self-managed learning in the way they want and could allot the time accordingly.
- For an Organization, self-managed learning increases the quality of work delivered by the individuals.
- It is a continuous process which could be maintained on the daily basis through the working with leading people and culture.
- Make the employees more responsible and initiate taking when it comes to learn a new technology or methodology.
LO2 Responsibilities for own personal and professional development
P 2.1 Evaluation of own skills and competencies
Evaluating own skills and competencies against professional standards and organizational objective is very much important. Unless a person knows what skills he has and how these skills could be used in order to achieve the perfection in a concerned area, skills are useless. Hence, as always the first step is to evaluate ourselves and to do that we could follow the following steps.
- Identify the activities which you love to perform.
- Find ways of implementing these activities in your profession.
- Always ready to learn. Whenever you find a person who is more skilled than you, do not feel embarrassed, instead go to them and persuade them to tell you the secrets of their knowledge (Penuel, Fishman, Yamaguchi & Gallagher, 2007, pp. 951).
- Always take the initiative whenever something new and challenging comes up. It will help you to gather more knowledge in a new field, which would ultimately help you in your professional growth.
- Build a roadmap of your learning plan and evaluate the progress with that roadmap. If you feel that you are lacking somewhere, try to compensate that by hard work.
There are four scales on which you can evaluate your skill against the professional standards and organizational objectives:
- Conceptual Skills : Test you concepts whenever a problem occurs at work by using the information available and use that information to solve the problem.
- Communication Skills : Test your communication skill by participating in the activities which need good quality of communication skills.
- Effectiveness Skills : Test your effectiveness skill by mingling in different activities like negotiation with the clients, multitasking and reviewing the work of your subordinates and check if they have followed your instructions.
- Interpersonal Skills : Test your interpersonal skills by participating in the seminars, cultural activities and other activities which requires good interpersonal skills.
P 2.2 Development needs and activities required to meet them
Every person has its own development needs which depend on his current knowledge and what knowledge he must gain to meet the criterion of personal and professional growth. As soon as a person is able to find where he is lacking, he takes the first step towards learning because unless you know what to learn, how would you proceed. Sometimes the development needs depends on the profession you are in but still there are some common requirement which every person should possess.
Finding your development needs is a three step process which is explained below:
- Identify the skills you need to become an expert in your profession
Every role in every organization provides you a job description where it is clearly mentioned that these are the jobs you will be performing in your daily job. Some organizations also mention if you have to pass some kind of certification to do your job. This document will tell you everything you need to know about the required skills at work.
- Find out your current skills
The next step is finding out the current skills and knowledge you have. Do not listen to people what they say about you. It is you who has to decide about your skills.
- Compare the required skills found in first step with your current skills found in second step
This is the most important part of the process where you have to compare the skills needed and skills you already have. This step requires complete honesty from your side. Here you to find out exactly what needs to be done to complete your job and this comparison would give you your development needs.
Activities required in meeting the needs
Activities needed to acquire depends upon the needs you identified in the above mentioned process. For different kind of needs, different activities are available (Hildebrand, 2011, pp. 45). For e.g., if you are not good enough in organizing your work and setting up the priorities in the mail, you have to learn how to manage your mail box. Another example is that if the job requires you to have the knowledge of a specific technology, you could start by reading and taking classes of that technology.
P 2.3 Development Opportunities to meet current and future needs
Setting up the goals is one of the most important opportunities one could have in his personal and professional life. When you setup a goal, you know exactly what you have to do and this turn into an opportunity to learn something new. But setting up the goals should fall under the SMART category which is:
- Specific goal – The goal should be very specific
- Measurable goal- The goal should be measurable in the term of growth
- Achievable goal- The goal should be achievable
- Reasonable goal- Always ask the question to yourself, if you should go for that goal
- Timely goal- Always think about the time you could devote to your goal.
Future needs are also important in today’s competitive world where everyone is trying to do something new. There are latest technologies invented every day and keeping yourself updated is very important. To satisfy the future needs, foresight is required to see what is coming and how should you prepare yourself (Griffin & Moorhead, 2011, pp. 89). In many organizations where people who have good knowledge of a subject or technology are getting shifted to the projects which have the different technology from the skill set of the employee. This way organizations are preparing the employees for future needs and employees should consider this an opportunity provided to them. Another opportunity is to join the training programs in the organization.
P 2.4 Development plan for personal and professional growth
A development plan for personal and professional growth could be divided in four steps. These four steps are explained below:
- Getting in
- Getting started
- Getting on
- Getting out
Getting in is the first phase of the development plan. In this step people find out the needs of development and then find a suitable place or process where they can learn what is required. In some organizations have Training Set Advisors who advise the people in this type of situation (Bunderson & Boumgarden, 2010, pp. 618).
Getting started is the phase when people join the training program and start thinking seriously about his future needs and start working on them. In this phase people set up the benchmarks for themselves.
In getting on phase people compare their learning with the benchmarks they established in the previous step. If any kind of discrepancy found, they have to resolve them and put more efforts.
Getting out is the process when trainer thinks that people are ready to implement the skills they learnt in the program and assess their knowledge with various kind of tests. If people pass these results, they come out of the program and apply their skills wherever required.
LO3 Implement and continuous review of own personal and professional development plan
P 3.1 Process and activities required to implement the development plan
Implementing a development plan is one of the most challenging works in any organization. Whether it is an individual or work force in an organization, everyone has set up a comfort zone for them because they are doing the same activity for years and whenever a development plan is implemented, it seems to people that they are getting forced to come out of their comfort zone. There are two main activities required to implement a development plan. These two activities are explained below:
- A great effort to set up the communication
Whenever a development plan is implemented, managing communications throughout is vital. If it is getting implemented in an organization, it involves all the senior managers, managers and all the employees. To communicate the development plan to so many people is always challenging (Bolton, 2010, pp. 45).
To face this challenge, different modes of communications could be used. Use of internal messages through emails, use of the notice boards and managers’ meeting with their teams could be very useful.
- Missing self-organized learning
Most of the employees in organizations and individuals do not have enough respect for self-organized learning. Only 10% people in the world thinks that self-organized learning is important to their growth while others just follow the instructions given by their superiors.
Motivating these people through various activities and SMART process could help in implementing the development plan.
P 3.2 Document development activities
Documenting the development activities is a very good technique which could provide tremendous help in the long run. Developing Managers and team leads are always excited when they get a development or enhancement project. But these projects normally have a very strict deadline and because of that, they feel the need of documenting the development activities is only going to waste the time of the resources and also their own time in reviewing and commenting. Initially they are right because documenting all the developing activities, steps to follow and setting up the parameters for the project takes time. But in the long run they come to know what they have missed not documenting the activities.
Documenting the development activities as planned could increase the efficiency of the work and it may also add some quality to the project. If a project is properly documented, it may reduce the efforts in the form of avoiding repeating mistakes and may also become a source of knowledge (Ross, Maclachlan & Cleland, 2009, pp. 69). Documentation helps the new people coming into the project I understanding the basics of the project and also helps them in understanding the methodology used in the project. This kind of help would obviously reduce the time of training the new resources.
There is one thing to take care while documenting a project which is regular updating of the document, otherwise it may disguise the people who may not know the changes in the application and follow the document blindly.
P 3.3 Reflecting own learning against original aims and objectives
The original aim of this paper was to explain and implement different self-managed learning techniques which helped me a lot in understanding the skills I have and the skills I need to develop. The four basic approaches to self-managed learning gave me the idea about how I could start learning. Now I am ready to learn and also able to set the goals for me. I have also started engaging in some learning processes and also evaluating myself.
Another advantage of the above discussion is the SMART technique which taught me how to set up the goals and what should be the attributes of a worthy goal. Strategic time management techniques also helped me a lot in saving the time and use that time in the learning process. Before this, I was wasting so much time in the activities which were of no use in my personal or professional development, but now I could find these activities and started avoiding them. Achieving perfection through hard work and commitment is also a very good approach. The development plan discussed above gave me the strength to do the hard work and making the commitments. It also taught me how to keep a commitment and never let go the faith in hard work.
P 3.4 Updating the development plan based on feedback and evaluation
The development plan explained above is kind of perfect. The only thing which could be updated in the development is to categorize it according to the different segments of people. Although everything is mentioned there but categorizing the development plan would help the people to take up the actions as per their professions. Personal development plan should be same as mentioned, but professional development plan could be updated in these categories. One other thing which could be discussed while updating the plan is self-managed learning. Though self-managed learning is essential for the personal development of a person, but it could not be applied to everyone (Jung, 2007, pp. 56). As explained in the development plan, people tend to remain in their comfort zone and avoid any kind of change in that zone. This type of people may not go for self-managed learning and a proper plan is needed for them where they could be forced to learn or may be some kind of incentives could help.
A lot of self-managed techniques and approaches are discussed in this paper and also the methods of evaluating the skills we already have or learnt in the process of self-managed learning. The most important part of self-managed learning is to get ourselves ready to learn. Once we are ready to learn, we must keep going on this path. Other two important things we discussed are, “learning through hard work” and making a commitment towards the learning process. These are some small things which could make a big difference in our life.