âWhereâs the data?â â The second key for firms to unlock for quality education
The Chief Learning Officer (CLO) or Director of Education better be prepared when the CEO or COO asks the question, âWhere is the data?â The senior leadership of the firm is business oriented and generally feels uncomfortable with gut feeling reactions. The firmâs education leaders need to develop a systematic approach for gathering both external trend data and internal staff development data. Professional development within a firm should not be limited to just making employees feel good. It is critical to the success of the firm that staff professional development be focused on the firmâs strategic goals. This means that the collection of industry market trends, client needs, and staff development information all be tied together.
Christopher Clinton a landscape architecture student at the Boston Architectural College provided a thoughtful summary in a recent LinkedIn landscape architecture professional discussion group. Christopher stated, âThe first of three main techniques to help facilitate an awareness of the market in relation to the firmâs strategic plan is to explore new technologies and fresh perspectives related to the firm's strategic plan such as through attending seminars, classes, discussions with other professionals from around the world online, at trade-shows or reading articles/studies. The second is feedback and conceptual discussion of internal firm design work as well as other firms design work and concepts between professionals of related fields. Third, is to take these new concepts and have group design exercises consisting of drawings/models/etc...To incorporate what is learned in the first two parts and bring a new level of raw skills to incorporate into future work.â
For firms the intended of professional education is generally for internal use of the firmâs staff. In such situations it is important to match the assessment approach to the firmsâ culture, operational structure, and short and long-term strategic goals. The content outcome could relate to technical, conceptual, and/or personnel related needs. It is important to focus on the details of professional staffsâ participation in the needs assessment process. Determine how the needs for the educational program and products/services are identified, how the programs are developed and designed to address those needs.