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Dec 152011
 
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I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. Why? Should this be a concern?  Should this make us rethink how we offer professional development, and drive our attention and awareness of old-fashioned and out of date professional development techniques and offerings to more modern practices? Are employers out of touch with the 21st Century worker’s needs and modes of learning? What does this mean? What should professional development in the 21st Century look like? Is time at work on Twitter or other social media sites seen as waste or seen as professional development…if the employee is using social media for professional purposes?

Employees know what will help them best with life-long learning and with tweaking their skills. The employer doesn’t always know what’s best for the professional development of the employee. Sorry to burst your bubble with this comment. I’m not saying all employers are out of touch with their employees, however many are.

So, why have I learned more in just a few months of doing social media for professional purposes than in five years or so of taking traditional professional development trainings and offerings? Below I have listed the reasons why I think the professional development system is out of touch with the times. I will also address why I think social media is the new professional development and what that could mean.

Why are employers out of touch?

  1. Professional development offerings are offered in brick and mortar locations.
  2. Professional development offerings are designed for employees of brick and mortar employment.
  3. Although brick and mortar employment locations are dominant, these locations have tweaked their operations for the 21st Century.  Professional development offerings however have often not been tweaked to teach employees how to embrace new technologies and ideals.
  4. Many employers have not fully understood how to market and design professional development offerings to embrace new technologies and ideas.
  5. Social media is viewed as bad, and a disruption to the employees work.  The employee is assumed to be using social media for personal purposes on “work” equipment and therefore unproductive.  Social media is the evil that has no place in the “workplace”.
  6. Employees who use their personal Smartphones are viewed as doing personal business at work.

Why have I learned more from social media for professional purposes than I have from traditional professional development offerings?

  1. Twitter has been key to my professional development growth.  I can’t emphasize this enough…if you are not on Twitter for professional purposes, you need to join Twitter.  Take it step by step, learn how to use it and grow.  I have learned enormously from professional connections on Twitter.
  2. I have learned and networked with people who I otherwise would not learn from and network with.  Essentially I have learned enormously from these people and have learned skills and knowledge I otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn. I have networked with people in other fields and occupations.  How often would I network with people in other departments or other fields, other than music or ESL?  The likelihood is small.
  3. Even greater, I have learned from valuable people from all over the world.  I would not have these opportunities for professional development and learning without social media.  Different cultures and experiences bring renewed and refreshed insights to learn from.
  4. I was fairly good with technology before using social media, however by using it for professional reasons I have learned much more about technology.  I have learned more from social media than I ever did from the two computers for teachers courses and other professional development technology offerings I have taken.  Interesting huh?  The reasons I have learned more about technology using social media is because while using social media I am practicing technology skills, and most people who I connect with for learning on social media are technology savvy people.
  5. Social media has allowed me to tweak my professional development towards areas I think are most useful for my career and profession.  I have learned what I think is best for my professional growth and skills, not what someone else has thought is best for me.
  6. Social media has allowed me to learn anywhere and at anytime that is convenient for me.  This is huge, as I am basically able to learn professional development at times and locations I otherwise would not have the opportunity to do so.  I have been able to learn even when sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for appointments using my Smartphone.
  7. Smartphones are not just a phone that I carry with myself to do personal business for my personal life.  Smartphones are essentially portable learning devices just like a laptop, or iPad is.  I use my Smartphone for social media for professional purposes to network and learn “on the go.”  With my Smartphone I have access to a wealth of information that is key and vital to my professional performance and abilities.
  8. By learning and using social media skills, I am able to understand and relate to youth who are just entering the workforce. Keeping up with new skills and trends is important as more and more tech savvy youth enter the workforce.

Employers really need to wake up and change their outdated professional development systems. Course offerings should entail offerings that embrace social media:

  • teaching the skill
  • using the skill
  • teaching the options for social networking sites
  • teaching how to network using the skill
  • teaching how to tweak learning outcomes toward professional goals and interests
  •  teaching how it can be used during the workday
  • teaching new employer policies that actively embrace the technology recognizing its value
  • counting the professional learning an employee does on their own time using social media towards re-certification points, etc.
  • empowering the use of it in multifaceted avenues

(All opinions are my own and are not those of my employer or previous employers.)

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  29 Responses to “Social Media the New Professional Development”

  1. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

  2. Awesome article! Social media is definitely a huge part of my professional development. It’s my personal learning network – http://joesabado.com/2011/08/my-social-learning-network-entertainment-social-media-cloud-mobile/

    • I agree Joe. Thanks for the kind words. I’ve seen some employers embrace 21st Century Professional Development, but I also have seen many use 20th Century outdated practices. Those who use old school practices need to embrace change for the good of their employees and their organization.

  3. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

  4. […] learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W…Via adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  5. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

  6. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

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  8. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

  9. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

  10. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

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  12. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

  13. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

  14. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

  15. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

  16. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

  17. […] Social Media the New Professional Development I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W… Source: adaptivelearnin.wordpress.com […]

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  22. […] The discussion was fast and heated. The Twitter feed moved so fast that sometimes it was hard to keep up. Going back and reading thoroughly through the archives is a good idea. There seemed to be a unanimous opinion among the educators participating in the #edchat discussion. You can see for yourself by reading the transcript of Tweets. This is an area I’m passionate about because I have learned more in my short 7 months of using Twitter compared to the past 5 or more years of professional development provided by school systems. I have blogged about how much I have learned via being a Twitter Newbie and how social media seems like a great new professional development. […]

  23. […] to use it.  It is accessible whenever you feel like using it.  Check out this post I wrote for Social Media the New Professional Development.  Use Twitter as you wish but don’t neglect your daily life by using it too much.  In the […]

  24. […] I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W…  […]

  25. […] I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W…  […]

  26. […] I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. W…  […]

  27. […] to use it.  It is accessible whenever you feel like using it.  Check out this post I wrote for Social Media the New Professional Development.  Use Twitter as you wish but don’t neglect your daily life by using it too much.  In the […]

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