Recently, an acquaintance phoned me at about 9 am on a Wednesday. While I’m not 100% sure why, she asked if she had awoken me out of bed. I’m assuming that because I work from home, she made a leap of judgement that I don’t really work and I get to sleep in every day.
The truth is that I’m usually working by 6:30 am and I often work past 9:30 pm. Like others who have home offices, my breaks might include throwing a load of laundry into the washer or going running, but my work is equally intense. In fact, I plan to continue teaching at the university and college level until I am too old or infirm to continue.
Teaching can be done from home for any online class. A professor could ostensibly wear pajamas and slippers as office dwellers and offhand acquaintances might assume. In my case, I shower and dress daily and when I make the short commute from the kitchen to my office, I enter my office with the same dedication to work as anyone else. In this way, I can maintain a high commitment to education of students, colleagues, and clients. I am as dedicated to being a good teacher as I am to being a good learner.
Teaching as Lifelong Learning
Teaching is the ultimate zenith in knowledge. Not only do we have to understand a subject with both breadth and depth, we also have to be able to make the topic engaging enough for heterogeneous groups of students to find interest in the topic even for required, foundational classes. Being able to restate learnings in a new way or apply knowledge to a new situation is what makes education successful – from both the teacher’s perspective and the student’s viewpoint.
What many students don’t realize is that teachers learn from them as well. Every term, I find that there are new or unusual interpretations of homework assignments. What seemed to be a clear cut question to the course designer can elicit a wide range of responses. In some cases, the responses are so far off that the learning materials and homework assignments need redesigning to meet the course objectives.
Learning events have to be as carefully planned as any college course. First, the organization’s objectives need to be considered in full. For a college or university course, the learning objectives typically align with a certificate or degree program, and are often specified by various accreditation bodies. In corporate learning, our objectives must match a desired business outcome. If a company wishes to improve its success with new product launches or increase communications among virtual team members, the learning event must include these results as success measures.
Key to a successful learning event or course includes application of the new knowledge or skill in the workplace. Simply going to a class and having absorbed information is insufficient to demonstrate transfer of knowledge. An important measure of success, then, tracks the student beyond the classroom to ensure that s/he is applying the skill in the real world. Firms can measure the implementation of new skills via professional certifications and management surveys to determine that the learning event met corporate objectives. Colleges and universities measure success by job placement and feedback from employees.
While I get up every day, shower, and get dressed in real clothes before going to my office, learners today are cramming skills development into ever smaller parcels of time. A student very well may be wearing his or her pajamas while watching an online lesson or be listening to a podcast during the daily commute.
Online knowledge delivery has changed how we learn. Indeed, our attention spans as a whole have dropped precipitously. Most of us remain engaged for less than 10 minutes. So, education delivery must meet these parameters and still impart a new skill or behavior within each lesson. All of our online courses at Simple-PDH.com include short videos or podcasts that can be consumed in brief intervals of time, yet each lesson delivers an important topic necessary to gain and maintain professional certification.
Perhaps more important for professional certification and corporate training is a knowledge check that learning new skills has occurred. Again, the measurement of knowledge transfer should be part of the organizational planning effort. In the case of university students and candidates for professional credentials, knowledge checks include practice exams leading to the final, formal exam administered by the appropriate credentialing body (PMI, PDMA, or ASEM, for example).
Practice quizzes offer a risk-free environment to learners to hone their test-taking skills as well as verifying their knowledge base. CAPM and PMP practice tests help to solidify the sometimes peculiar wording used by PMI that is not as common in an industrial project setting. New Product Development Professional (NPDP) practice tests help to bring higher order strategic processes into focus with objective, application-oriented questions.
Teaching and Learning
We must all be committed to lifelong learning – whether we are working from a traditional office, a home office, or a student wearing pajamas! Teaching is the ultimate demonstration of lifelong learning. Both university and corporate learning event should start with extensive planning to ensure that course objectives, goals, and measures align with the desired business outcomes (e.g. job placement or improved results).
As students today, we demand on-the-go knowledge delivery. Online courses deliver content that is engaging and brief. Follow-up practice tests are recommended for those seeking professional certification. And, yes, you can learn and teach while you are at work or at home!
Contact me at [email protected] or 281-280-8717 to enroll in a free NPDP overview course or any of our newly scheduled PMP, Scrum, or NPDP workshops in Houston as well as our online PDH courses. At Simple-PDH.com where we want to help you gain and maintain your professional certifications. You can study, learn, and earn – it’s simple!
Study. Learn. Earn. Simple.
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