Personal and professional development
“The most successful nations in the future will be those which develop high quality, skilled and motivated workforces and make good use of them. ” Government White Paper (1994) This object of this assignment is to identify what personal and professional development is, if there is any difference between personal and professional development and what opportunities there are, how this benefits both staff and Lancashire Care Foundation Trust (LCFT) as an organisation.
I will consider how motivation affects people and their desire for development both personally and within the workplace Briefly I will be looking at qualifications: how these are obtained, utilised as a means to recognise stages of development and as evidence to demonstrate competencies of staff. As the theories show, people learn in many different ways and so I will discuss further 2 examples of these – Behaviourism and Humanistic learning theories. Delving into experiential and reflective learning styles and strategies and how these link into the theories of how people learn and what resources are available to aid learning.
How to plan for personal and professional development Personal development can be described as self-improvement, or development of skills and knowledge on a personal level not related to a specific job role but are personal goals. Adair and Allen categorise this as self-development and feel that these “Transferable skills are the key to improved prospects” (Adair and Allen 2003 p64). Improvement of these personal skills can be taken to any job and will be beneficial no matter which role is undertaken.
In the same context, Wade (1996) suggests in addition to professional qualifications, employers also demand abilities that are considered as personal transferable skills such as communication, leadership, decision making and teamwork. Professional development is learning or enhancing necessary skills to carry out specific job functions effectively or improving practice and is aimed at the team/service/ organisational goals. This often defines where a role fits within an organisation or hierarchy and indicates promotion opportunities or employment prospects for career enhancement.
Although viewed by many as separate agenda’s, Morrow states that she “does not believe there is a significant difference between personal development and professional development. Learning is learning. Personal development is professional development – what is learnt at home is taken to work and experience at work is implemented at home. ” (Morrow, 2008). Whether personal or professional, development encourages staff to focus on their present circumstances, evaluate career progression and plan for the immediate and long term future.
In order to put a strategy in place, current skills are identified, competencies and achievements recognised, goals clarified and then the difference between to the two assessed to outline the development required. Within the workplace, staff need to be motivated to achieve good results and engage with the development process. Abraham Maslow believed that people are motivated by a number of different needs and grouped them into 5 areas (see appendix 1 – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need). Maslow (1943) theorised everyone is capable of moving up the levels in the hierarchy – once one need is satisfied, the next arises.
Failure to meet each of the lower levels will prevent the ability to reach highest level of self-actualisation. ‘It is quite true that man lives by bread alone — when there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled? At once other (and “higher”) needs emerge and these, rather than physiological hungers, dominate the organism. And when these in turn are satisfied, again new (and still “higher”) needs emerge and so on. This is what we mean by saying that the basic human needs are organized into a hierarchy of relative prepotency’.
(Maslow, 1943, p. 375) Within the workplace the very basic ‘biological and physiological needs’ along with ‘safety needs’ are governed by law in the UK and so the higher three needs (Social, Esteem and Self Actualisation) may be realised through learning and development leading to increased motivation and confidence If invested in and developed, employees are more likely to feel their social needs are met by being part of a team are well regarded and appreciated for their skill set and therefore motivated to work harder to reciprocate which leads to higher production and efficiency.
People are able to realise their abilities and potential, take on more responsibility or variety of tasks which improves versatility and prevents boredom leading to demotivation. Staff feel happier if they feel valued and are likely to stay within the organisation. Learning can be the result of many activities which can include formal classes and training sessions, on the job training and mentoring or self-study. Every time we encounter something new, there is an opportunity to learn and improve skills.
As a result of increasing and honing skills and gaining qualifications, people tend to develop a greater sense of self-worth, dignity and well-being as they become more valuable to their employer and to society. These factors give a sense of satisfaction and motivation through improving performance, achieving personal and company goals which can also give them physical rewards such as increased remuneration and benefits. Qualifications are evidence of the level of knowledge gained and the competencies developed.
The type of qualification i. e. Degree or NVQ dictates the characteristics and context of the learning and the learning outcomes are measured or assessed and qualifications awarded based on the results. The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) (2009) states that the 5 main purposes of qualifications are: •Recognise personal growth and engagement in learning •Prepare for further learning or training and/or develop knowledge and/or skills in a subject area •Prepare for employment
•Confirm occupational competence and/or ‘licence to practice’ •Updating and continuing professional development (CPD) Every post in LCFT has a profile of requirements to fulfil the role including which qualifications are required e. g. a midwife must be a qualified nurse and have a degree in Midwifery, a secretary must have RSA3 typing. Proof of qualifications obtained (certificates and professional registrations) must be shown prior to job offers to evidence the level of competency and skills of potential employees to fulfil the requirements of the job.
Within LCFT, staff learning and development is viewed as being an integral part of fulfilling the needs of the business as well as the growth and motivation of staff. Within the organisation, Learning Needs Analysis’ (LNA) are carried out to ensure learning provision is in alignment with the business strategy and so that employees have the capabilities to deliver the organisation’s strategy.
The root of the LNA is the gap analysis – an assessment of the gap between the knowledge, skills and attitudes currently possessed and the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are required to meet business objectives The core of training in LCFT is ‘Mandatory Training’ which is any training deemed necessary by law for safe and effective function in the NHS and then training and development to meet the business needs is then prioritised.
Every member of staff in LCFT has an annual Personal Development Review which is updated every 3 months to adjust objectives and monitor progress. A Personal Development Plan is written as part of this process which outlines training requirements and skill enhancement for the following 12 months. Staff are required to continue their professional development to build their professional skills and competencies which then improves their performance at work. LCFT also provides training opportunities to support staff to develop and manage their career benefitting LCFT by retaining staff with the aptitude and ability to meet the future organisational needs and adjust to the ever changing environment within the NHS. Management Development programmes are also in place to enable leaders to foster this learning environment and motivate staff to embed the learning culture within the organisation. This benefits the NHS as they are assured of the level of staff they are employing and helping to sustain the future of their workforce.
Staff feel they are valued and invested in which in turn leads to job satisfaction and potential career advancement. This all ultimately benefits service users and patients of the NHS in that it gives them confidence they are being treated by qualified staff and they received the best care possible by all employees from administrators to surgeons. Development and training comes in many different guises which benefit different learning preferences.
On the job training may include acting up into a role, shadowing or being mentored which are very effective methods to develop skills or enrolling on an NVQ course which would be suited to kinaesthetic learners. Many training sessions for Mandatory Training within LCFT and most external courses follow a pedagogy approach utilising traditional learning methods using a classroom setting with a lead or tutor giving information with some interaction from attendees.
This can be beneficial to all if the programme is tailored to every learning need including images, audio and hands on tasks and by having a person on hand to ask questions of and explain points although this is often time consuming and costly as staff have to travel to a central location to join a training session Due to the low costs involved and ease of adapting or amending training templates and resources, e-learning is now a favoured approach to training staff within the NHS.
Whilst this is good for people who are visual learners and are office based within LCFT buildings, it can be very difficult for staff with no IT connectivity or only one PC between 10 people on a ward for example. E- learning is also very inadequate for staff who have a kinaesthetic learning style, especially for those with additional learning needs such as dyslexia. ? LO2 – How people learn Reece and Walker (2004) state that learning is about change brought about by developing a new skill and understanding something new.
Many academics have studied learning theories such as Behaviourism or Humanistic Learning and use these models to explain the principles of how people adopt new skills and understanding. The methodology of how the learning is carried out is directly linked to the theory and so as hypothesised by Pavlov and Skinner, a person that tends to follow a Behaviouristic theory would learn by changing their behaviour in response to an external stimuli.
This was proven when Nobel Prize winner Ivan Pavlov carried out ‘Classical Conditioning’ experiments by ringing a bell when giving food to a dog. The dog would salivate at the food but eventually the dog would respond in the same way to the bell ringing as it had been conditioned to expect food at the sound of the bell. In the adult learning context, psychologist Burrhus Skinner developed the ‘Operant Conditioning’ methodology by repeating actions and reinforcing or promoting the desired outcome and punishing or supressing negative outcomes.
A pedagogy approach is required to deliver these conditioning methods but this often means there is little input from the learners themselves. Humanistic Learning theory recognises that all humans are inherently good and have unlimited potential for their own growth. Maslow believed that people learn from experience but are motivated by the need to reach their potential and self-realisation (as previously discussed. See also appendix 1 – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need).
Carl Rogers theory is based upon the same foundations as Maslow but believed that the basic motive for all humans is to fulfil their own potential and reach self-actualisation – to become who they would like to be. Both Rogers and Maslow endorse learning by experience and an andragogy teaching method which fosters student centred learning (as opposed to teacher centred learning) allowing the students to engage their own learning style and subsequently gain rewards by satisfying their own needs.
This follows Kolb’s Learning Cycle (see Appendix 2) which states that after an event, experience should be reviewed, actions revised to produce new theories and then the theories should be tried and tested, The cycle then begins again by reviewing the testing etcetera. Gibbs Learning Cycle (see appendix 3) expands further on Kolb’s theories by encouraging further the human thought processes within these stages, to debrief on the activity and reflect on all the phases of an experience or activity and how the person feels at every stage I feel that I am a reflective learner but adhere to Kolb’s cycle rather than Gibbs as I am
more practical and less emotional in my learning. In a classroom situation, I find an andragogy approach with open discussion and practical work or auditory and kinesthetic learning much more stimulating in the first instance but as I am a visual learner, I need this backed up by visual aids (notes or presentations) which I then use to reflect on the knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of the objectives.
In conjunction with Kolb’s learning cycle, this supports the thoughts of Itin (1999) who states that experiential learning is the process of making meaning from direct experience to which Moon (2004) adds that reflective learning is a phase of learning resulting from the actions inherent to experiential learning.
Dewey (1933) reasoned we have to regard reflection as implying purpose which is in line with Cognitive Theory but Moon (2004) suggests that although we reflect for a purpose, conclusions to complicated issues can just ‘pop up’ without our being conscious of their having been a reflective process – this is a subconscious event supporting Humanist theory. Experiential learning is based in humanistic theory but Behaviourists believe that it can be influenced by external stimuli which in turn changes behaviour.
For highly motivated Humanist learners who are adept at self-directed study, the most readily available is the internet which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be accessed by computers, tablets, phone and even via gaming machines and TVs. It enables searching for information virtually and sometimes instantaneously from across the world but not all content found on the World Wide Web is from a reliable source and so may not be accurate.
The library at college contains a wealth of validated information around the courses that are delivered there but the number of books is limited and so there may be waiting times for specific items to be returned. There are also restrictions on entering the library as opening hours are limited mainly to daytimes and even close earlier on Fridays which severely limits access to working pupils. Public libraries often do not stock academic books and a charge is often made to order books in which also incur waiting times for the books to arrive.
There is also a Library within LCFT but it is many miles away from most workplaces, only open during office hours and generally stock books around clinical subjects. Within the workplace, colleagues are an excellent resource for learning as they can impart the knowledge gained from their own training and experience and are available during the working day Difficulties can arise though if new methodologies contradict what is favoured by the experienced colleague.
Learning resources may be used as the basis as the foundation for some learning strategies – the way a learner identifies the best way to carry out a task. For those who chose reading as their strategy, the library and the internet are immensely advantageous but is also beneficial to many other strategies for finding out the initial information. Conclusion Learning and development for an organisation improves quality, skills, productivity and motivation which leads to a reduction in overheads and errors.
This in turn increases profitability and stability for the organisation which enables them to become successful. An organisation needs to recognise its required outcomes alongside the needs of the workforce and develop them accordingly to ensure they retain staff with the aptitude and ability to meet those future needs. In the NHS, patient outcomes are a main focus of the delivery plan but this must be balanced by the financial implications brought by the cost delivery and so development of staff is the most beneficial and cost effective route to achieving this goal.
When it comes to learning, there are no right or wrong answers to how people learn. People may follow a certain theory or use a specific learning strategy in the main but often it is a mixture of theories and strategies that produce the best outcomes and is often dictated by how the information is offered, whether online or classroom based and what resources are available to support the student.
I have learned that when I am imparting information to a group I need to try and incorporate a variety of learning styles, allowing kinesthetic learners to interact with the subject matter, the audio learners to listen to information and the visual learners to view pertinent materials individual, On a personal level, I have discovered that I learn using a mixture of theories and styles but I am consistent with my strategies and instinctively know how I learn the best.?