Social Media for Professional Development

Recently I completed another workshop from Jane Hart’s Social Learning Centre called ‘Social Media for Professional Development’. 

As an avid user of social media for some years now, I was interested to do this workshop because there’s always something new you can pick up from the materials or participants experiences.

The workshop delved straight into the questions on how important is professional development to us and in the first assignment, we had to create our vision for our professional development and commit to it.  We had to be self-aware of our use of social media for our development, committed to use it and serious for our professional learning.  There was no use to being shy in this forum – once we started to reflect and commit to our 6 month, 1 year and 5 year vision  – it had to get easy from here.

Personally, I found this first assignment challenging because it made me question what I wanted to do in my career for the long term and actually WRITE it down.  Things get serious when you commit to this publicly…

So what were my 6 months goals?

a. Finish this course and blog about it (CHECK – this is what I’m doing right now!)
b. Finish the Gamification course on Coursera and blog about it (CHECK – done that)
c. Finish the Insync Virtual Facilitators Course and blog about it (IN PROGRESS – I have my assessment next week and then I’ll blog about it)
d. Finish up my current employer contract in December and find new work in Jan 2013 (IN PROGRESS – although I have been asked to stay on until end March 2013 which I have accepted)
e. Become more knowledgeable on Google+ with the aim of closing down my Facebook (CHECK for Google+ which I am more confident on now but NO CHECK for Facebook as I’m still finding this personally difficult to let go without socially disconnecting myself from friends and family).

Short term goals are easy for me.  They’re like a checklist and in hindsight I should have stretched a bit more.

My One Year Goals were….

(a) To be in a new contract with a new innovative organisation

(b)  To take 6 months off to develop or ’package up’ my ideas and business development for Activate Learning Solutions (I can’t do that when I’m working full-time)

(c) To have written at least 2 blog posts per month on my blog consistently: https://activatelearning.wordpress.com/  (CHECK – I’m meeting this already)

(d) Refined my blog because I would have learned the ins and outs of WordPress [I want to use more of the functionality of this tool – not just the freebie site] (NOT STARTED YET)

My one year goal is interesting because it involves either a contract OR taking some time out to develop my business.  This is something that I have been deliberating more but I also enjoy the contract work that I do because it’s a source of development for me – and potential case studies (!).  Either way, I will need to manage my time because if you’re in full-time work, it’s near impossible to find time to work on your business.

My 5 Year Vision

The 5 year vision that I committed to was to be a full-time freelancer consultant with a reputation in the Melbourne market place working with companies who want to implement these technologies; and/or to provide services to skill up learning and development teams in this area.

Last Friday I was invited to be a guest speaker for the Corporate and Government Learning Summit in June 2013 at the Brisbane Convention Centre and I agreed.  This is going to be way out of my comfort zone and the rocket I need to motivate myself to do what I have been dreaming.

So all of this came out of the FIRST WEEK of the Social Media for Professional Development workshop. I’m not trying to scare you but if you’re thinking how all this social media can help you grow as an individual in your profession, then I would encourage you to register and complete it yourself.

Other modules in the workshop were:

  • How to connect with people in networks and communications to build your Personal Learning Network (PLN)
  • How to keep up to date with your industry or profession
  • How to use blogs to reflect on your professional writing

So from these modules, you can see how the workshop makes you question and reflect on your networks, industry and profession and how you have been learning in the past.

The workshop has abundant links and references to various tools and resources and encourages their use for our development. One of the tools, Learnist was covered and although I was ready to give up on it because I didn’t get it, I’m glad that Jane had covered this tool.

I would recommend Social Media for Professional Development for anyone who wants to take charge of their own learning but expect that there’s going to be lots of reflection and goal setting if you’re serious with your vision and where you want to be in your career.

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About Activate Learning Solutions

Helen Blunden is the founder of Activate Learning Solutions and Third Place. She has over 20 years of experience within learning and development across private, public and not-for-profit organisations. With a specialty in performance consulting and networked learning, Helen believes that workplace learning is integral to business success. She has a passion for enabling people to learn beyond the classroom and believes in the power of networks and communities to drive collaboration and meaning within the organisation. From facilitator-led instruction, online and blended, Helen deploys social and informal learning such as enterprise social networking, collaboration tools and emerging technologies that have been proven successful and embedded workplace change.
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