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Chapter 7. Building Your Career > Basic Elements of Professional Development

Basic Elements of Professional Development

To derive the most benefits from professional learning activities, your selection of subject matter, education or training structure, site, and delivery method should be based on specific reasons and outcomes—for example, availability of educational institutions nearby and learning skills needed to make a professional shift. Most times, making a decision to attend a professional event like a chapter meeting or a half-day seminar is quick and easy. Not much time, money, or effort is being invested. But you should have a clear idea of what you hope to gain by participating. You definitely need to give much thought to a long-term professional learning activity like a certificate program or a long-distance advanced training course. This level of commitment requires an explicit picture about the desired outcomes and the efforts you’ll have to expend to achieve them. Furthermore, by setting objectives for continued professional growth, learning opportunities you may not have considered before can be looked at in a different light.

Recently, I decided it was important for me to accomplish one of my dreams—obtaining a master’s degree—and I needed a flexible yet quality option (as a mother of small children). I used the Internet to find distance learning educational sources. . . . I came across Capella University; they had a degree that fit my needs—a master’s in T&D. I have been able to customize my learning by choosing projects I need to complete at work for my projects at school. All of the work I have done for Capella has been used at my organization. You can’t find a better way to kill two birds with one stone.

—Diana Butler, training manager, Copely Newspapers, Plainfield, IL



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