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deputy Editor, training journal @LightbulbJo

Cook looks T

he topic of engagement, like many others, is wide and far reaching. We could talk

about employee engagement, which is a challenge in companies that want to get the best out of people. Or there’s the topic of learner

engagement – an important one in L&D to ensure that learning sticks and there is behaviour change in the workplace. However, for me, the most

important aspect for the L&D professional is our own engage- ment in our own profession. I’m sure we have all met colleagues who just seem not to care that much about learning and development as a vocation. I recall many years ago, working in further/higher education, those colleagues who lectured the

We should all be focusing on our own continuous development

same way for 30-odd years. Tey were the dinosaurs of the department. Tere are also colleagues who

have been subject matter experts and have taken that side-step into training, but don’t seem to care much about learning different skills. Tey appear to be comfort- able with delivering in the way in which they have been delivered to – usually lots of boring, bulleted PowerPoint and droning on. Tere are many other examples,

and I’m sure you also have your own. Te point about engagement here is that we have a duty to ourselves, our learners and our organisations to actually engage with the craft of learning. I see it as part of our professional

strength to be aware of modern learning theories, to know about the lack of research behind some models,

Jo Cook reflects on engagement in L&D

to know the history of pieces of research, in order to make a judgment call on whether to use them or not. I think we should all be focusing

on our own continuous development and engaging with our industry and our peers, and building our own personal learning networks. Tat can be through platforms such as LinkedIn, Google Circles or Facebook groups. It can be through commu- nication tools like Twitter or Slack. It can also be via your local CIPD sessions or other learning events. Keeping up to date with our

profession, by whatever methods you choose, isn’t about knowing everything about L&D. You don’t have to know every model, all people of influence or every useful blog. What you must be, though, is open to those options. You must be aware that you don’t know everything, so that even a quick Google search can give you some answers and insight. When we think we

are on top of our game, either consciously or unconsciously, we become complacent and then, just like the dinosaurs, our survival as L&D specialists and a profession can be called into question. So the big

question is – if we aren’t engaged in learning and develop- ment, who will be?

Jo Cook is the deputy editor of TJ and is responsible for webinars and the online community. She can be contacted at jo.cook@

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