Many new professionals have just emerged from 3 to 4 years of adult education and the expectation from employers is that these individuals would be highly proficient in finding, absorbing and retaining new knowledge. Yet, HR departments sporadically express disappointment with the pace of progress of new professionals.
What’s causing this disconnect? Some possible reasons are set out below:
School and university teaching is usually structured, planned, regularly assessed and clearly focused on a defined transfer of certain knowledge. Industry training rarely has the same level of structure, even where firms have established training programmes to get staff qualified and achieving a set standard.
On the job training is a significant proportion of any surveyors early years and this is positive since participation is a core element in any adult learning. However, despite HR guidance, there can be large differences between the experience given and knowledge transferred even within an organisation.
3) Required Knowledge
A new professional can often struggle to understand the degree of knowledge expected to do their job or attain qualified status. In the early years, they are often overloaded with in-house training, books, guidance notes, industry magazines, advice from colleagues and information from the professional bodies. Sifting through this can be challenging.
4) Facts vs Debate
There is a public perception that industries like surveying are relatively static but a weekly review of the new guidelines and regulations, on the RICS website for example, will quickly dispel this myth. The industry is in a constant state of flux brought on by new legislation, the economy, shifting client priorities and industry debate on best practice. New professionals are not always used to this level of uncertainty or discussion and it can be a challenge to identify and concentrate on the core issues.
5) Different teaching tools
There has been huge growth in “EdTech” (the use of technology in the form of products/apps/tools to enhance learning, pedagogy and instruction) within schools and universities. Most university students have used Moodle, TurnItIn, etc platforms to submit papers and track progress. While employers and professional bodies are starting to look into these ideas, the majority of current training for surveyors is still through classroom (or recorded) seminars, hard copy papers or on-the-job training.
So how can new professionals improve their knowledge retention and get qualified quicker?
· Active learning – Active participation through discussion, feedback and activities encourages retention better than passive listening or reading. Get involved online or offline and see your knowledge improve.
· Problem-centric – Concentrate on topics and content that can solve your pressing work issues. Focusing on solving immediate or recent problems ensures better learning and understanding.
· Previous Experience – How does what you are learning relate to your current or previous experience? Linking content to work puts it in context, increases understanding and improves retention.
· Relevance – If what you read is not relevant to your business and personal life, it is much harder to retain it. Focus on content that is relevant to you and you stand a much higher chance or remembering it.
· Emotion – Content that connects with your emotions are more likely to be remembered, recalled and learned. When you study something, contemplating how the topic makes you feel can enhance your ability to recall it later.
· Personalisation – Every individual learns (and importantly forgets) information at their own rate. Understanding your personal traits and identifying learning methods/tools that match can improve results.
· Alignment – Do your training, your goals and your daily work align or are these different? If not aligned, your ability to recall information will be hampered so try to ensure that the content you are learning relates to what you need to do your job and get qualified.
· Repetition – Spaced repetition is a term used to describe the reinforcement of information over a period to improve retention and understanding. Methods that will allow you to regularly review or test knowledge you have already covered will help you refresh and absorb content better.
Employers and professional bodies continue to evolve their training techniques to fill some of the more obvious gaps between student and trainee surveyor. However with the growth in personalised online resources such as Degreed (which tracks informal learning) and ComPeDence (a micro-learning platform), pre-qualification surveyors can now take more control of and accelerate their development.
© ComPeDence Limited