Teaching people to learn in the workplace

Employees increasingly expected to manage their own development on an ongoing basis


Continuous professional development (CPD) isn’t just an added nicety in many workplaces – it’s increasingly expected of employees and the only realistic way for them to develop their skills and get results in their job. This applies equally to media, education, ICT, science, academia, healthcare or indeed any role you can think of.

At DCU, the master’s in education and training management (elearning), run by the International Centre for Innovation and Workplace Learning, offers a two-year, part-time programme with participants drawn from a range of disciplines and professional sectors including the creative arts, education, NGOs, healthcare, State agencies and government departments. The aim is to provide graduates with the tools to develop elearning programmes within their own workplaces.

Dr Yvonne Crotty is co-ordinator of the course. “We want people on the programme to have had three years of work experience, and the programme we run focuses on developing their own sense of awareness and critical thinking. The course is offered through a blended approach and we encourage participants to reflect on, and share, their own learning. We look at how various technologies can be used to deliver training. The people on the course are all trainers or educators from different backgrounds. These different backgrounds bring a richness to the classroom.”

Her students have put together a range of resources to support workplace learning. One, a post-primary teacher, delivered science-oriented CPD via a webinar in Irish, to his colleagues around the country. He devised the curriculum and lessons himself. A healthcare employee, working as part of a team, created elearning CPD to offer instructions to her colleagues on how to administer drugs to patients. And two GAA players who work in the association’s learning and development unit at Croke Park created a video exploring coaching skills.

In the process, they all proved that teaching may indeed be the best way to learn.