Have you ever approached management to go on training and the answer is, “No, it is not in your job description.” I am sure most of you reading this have been there at some time or other.
As a facilitator I often hear my delegates say that they would like to come out of their comfort zone and learn something new but are not allowed to due to training budget constraints, the fact that it is not part of their job description or that their manager feels intimidated by their learning.
When this kind of situation happens in the workplace it is important not to get demotivated and give up and complain about management, but rather to think positively and look at what you can do in order to get the learning. Remember that the responsibility lies with you to move forward in your personal development and not the responsibility of management.
The internet has brought along with it many opportunities for us to take the lead and learn new things and I encourage my delegates to go and have a look and see if there is something there for them. I have no doubt that whether it be from gardening to assertiveness to management skills, you will find a course to help you move forward with your personal development and not always at a hefty price. I have only listed the tip of the iceberg as I have used these sites for learning myself.
- Free online courses – a group of Universities worldwide have come together to offer free online short courses to anyone, anywhere on a variety of topics. Most of the courses have assignments and deadline dates but there are some that you can do purely in your own time. (Tip: rather do courses where there are assignments and deadline dates. This helps you to keep your focus on learning and to complete the course.) You are in contact with the lecturer and other students doing the course at all times. Depending on the course you have taken, you will receive a certificate once you have completed all assignments and exams. This kind of learning takes discipline but if you are focused on your goal, you will set time aside time for learning. Suggested sites: coursera.com and www.mooc-list.org.
- YouTube – YouTube (youtube.com) is not just a social media platform for ‘kids’ to upload funny videos. There is a wealth of knowledge on YouTube and the best part is that it is so easy to find the learning and on any topic you like. In the search bar, simply type “how to be assertive”, “how to bake a cheesecake”, “finance for non-financial people” and a myriad of videos are displayed. It is like watching a teacher give you a lesson but virtually! Some are short clips but there are those that can go for over an hour. Good motivational talks and lessons can be found on TED Talks (ideas worth spreading) on YouTube. These talks are by subject matter experts and on a range of topics. In South Africa TEDxJohannesburg has recently been launched and more information can be found at www.tedxjohannesburg.com.
- Google – there is no topic that you cannot look up on Google. Google is truly your BFF (best friend forever!) When in doubt just Google and you will always find an answer or a lesson.
- Microsoft – on the official Microsoft website there is a section that is devoted to education and training in all the MS Office packages and versions of their software. Short videos (20 mins) on any functions in the MS Office suite can be found at microsoft.com. A host of videos can also be found on YouTube with regards to MS Office.
As mentioned earlier, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t limit yourself and think that you cannot learn anything new. Continuous learning is key to personal development. Make use of the facilities that are available to you online. Nowadays you can take on most tasks and be able to completely them successfully with a little help from the internet. Don’t wait for someone else to make the move for you.
Dawn Williams is an international trainer/facilitator for the administrative profession. You can learn more about her and the workshops that are offered by Reach New Levels by visiting the website at www.reachnewlevels.com.