Jan Sykes How External Partners Can Play a Part in Training
Jinfo Blog

Wednesday, 13th May 2015

By Jan Sykes


Rapidly evolving technologies that support information and knowledge management activities require information professionals to continually upgrade and polish professional skills. At the same time, information professionals must make sure their work is tightly aligned with business goals of the parent organisation, so it is critical to also keep abreast of the latest management practices and resources being deployed throughout the organisation. Most organisations recognise talent development as a business priority and offer programmes in support of workforce development. Additional education resources offered by our information industry partners should also be considered, says Jan Sykes.


FreePint Topic Series: Best Practices in Information Skills DevelopmentFreePint's Topic Series on "Best Practices in Information Skills Development" is drawing attention to ways we as information professionals can meet the challenge of keeping our skills fresh and relevant to the organisations in which we work.

The range of learning opportunities is extensive; however, we want to be strategic in our selection of opportunities to achieve personal and professional growth.

With busy schedules, it is easy to fall into a pattern of random participation in educational opportunities offered by external partners and providers. We suggest a more formal approach to benefitting from these offerings.

External Partners 

The annual performance appraisal is the opportune time to assess individual or team development needs and map out an action plan to systematically acquire specific skills and knowledge.

Once learning and skills development goals are clarified, it is natural to examine education and training events offered by our industry partners, whose business success mandates that they stay at the leading edge of trends and current best practices.

Industry partners could include:

  • Information industry vendors
  • Professional associations
  • Academia
  • Coaches and consultants.


Learning Styles

Learning preferences of individuals and availability of time and budget all play a role in deciding the optimum blend of events. The individual may be best suited to pursue:

  • In-person, face-to-face courses or meetings or coaching
  • Online - whether interactive or asynchronous - webinars or courses
  • Self-directed readings and personal study.


Follow-Up and Accountability

To achieve the desired impact on operational performance, managers must commit to providing time for the learning events, allowing the participant time to reflect on what was learned, and finding opportunities for the learner to put new skills into practice. 

The learner must commit to active participation in the learning event, followed by sharing highlights and take-away nuggets with team members and practising new skills. 

Managers and individual staff members must periodically check for progress toward closing the skills gaps identified in the annual plan and adjust the blend of learning events when necessary.


Find Out More

In the Subscription Article "Information Skills Development - Incorporating Resources from Industry Partners", Jan Sykes discusses the benefits of leveraging education and training resources created by information industry partners. With constrained budgets, limited time to devote to professional development, and specialised skills needed by information professionals, it behooves us to formally incorporate these offerings into our professional development plans.  

This Blog Item is part of the FreePint Topic Series "Best Practices in Information Skills Development".

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