What happens after you’ve participated in a development event? Do you put together an action plan to implement what you have learned or do you take your time and apply your knowledge/skills as and when they are required? I know that I’ve been guilty of completing an evaluation form immediately after a workshop, identifying three things I will do as a result of attending and then months later I haven’t actually followed through with my grand plans. Sometimes this is because priorities change and other times it’s because I haven’t taken the time to properly reflect on the outcomes of an event and whether or not I will ever put them into practice.
I’ve been thinking about this recently as I surveyed researchers who had participated in one of our long-standing development events. The particular event always receives great feedback and word of mouth referrals are high. But I really wanted to know if researchers were actually taking away anything of use from the session. Was the development event actually having an impact? Some of the respondents identified direct impacts on their research such as employing time management and planning techniques learnt during the workshop, others reported more of an influence to the way they perceived themselves – project planners and professional writers.
It struck me that there are often additional benefits of participating in a development activity, other than the stated expected outcomes. For example; researchers who participated in an event to create a short video about their research not only gained an end product, they also developed their communication skills by presenting their research project to non-experts in three minutes, they learnt about body language and presenting in different settings, all of which can definitely be transferred into other situations. On top of this they gained technical expertise in video production – thinking about lighting, scene creation and editing. By attending this one session they could have had a great impact upon their future career.
As a team we’re interested in hearing about how your learning experiences have impacted on your practices and behaviour. We’d like you to help us demonstrate to others how engaging in CPD can impact on your research and upon your future career prospects. Please share your stories in the comments below, or if you’d like to contribute a post to this blog email firstname.lastname@example.org