Allison Miller is a regular contributor to eWorks’ blog who is passionate about engaging learners, equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the world of work. Here Allison talks about how LinkedIn can be used to support professional currency.
The Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 (Clauses 1.13 & 1.16) are very explicit about the need for trainers and assessors to undertake professional development and have current knowledge and skills in vocational training, learning and assessment. This knowledge and skills also needs to inform their training and assessment, including competency based training and assessment.
While the onus of these clauses tends to lay with the RTO to ensure that trainers and assessors have this currency, there is one simple way in which you can contribute to their own professional currency through being a LinkedIn member.
What makes LinkedIn so special?
LinkedIn identifies itself as the world’s largest professional network where you can connect, learn and share while powering your career. LinkedIn is backed by Microsoft and has acquired Lynda Online Learning. This is enabling LinkedIn to position itself as one of the world’s leading providers of online professional learning through its recent launch of LinkedIn Learning.
While this fee for service professional development program offers many premium professional learning opportunities, it is still LinkedIn’s free services which offer trainers and assessors many opportunities to maintain their professional currency in vocational learning, training and assessment.
How can I use LinkedIn to support professional currency?
The first way to support your professional currency is through viewing SlideShare resources. Slideshare is an online site where people freely share their learning content as video, presentation slides and supporting documents. With over 18 million uploads, Slideshare offers content for every major industry, including Education, and many resources on how to develop competency based training and assessment.
The next way is to connect with or follow vocational education and training experts as there are many active trainers and assessors using LinkedIn. For example:
By connecting or following people like Gina, Michael and Sandie on LinkedIn, you are able to stay informed about what is current and best practice in vocational training, learning and assessment.
The final way is to join and participate in relevant online groups. These online groups are the real gem of LinkedIn for supporting professional currency. They have been started organically by LinkedIn members looking to support communities of practice and knowledge sharing, while enabling professional conversations around vocational training, learning and assessment. For example:
- Australian VET Leaders – with nearly 11,000 members, members of this group share lots of information about training and assessment
- National RTO Network – members of this group of nearly 13,000 members often discusses topics related to compliance and ethical practice in the VET sector, as well as useful discussions about best practice in vocational training, learning and assessment
- ACPET Professional Development have a number of topic specific groups aimed at building communities of practice in:
What are the benefits of a LinkedIn Membership?
While you cannot solely rely on using LinkedIn for supporting your professional training and assessment currency, you can use it in the following ways as a strong basis for this currency.
||The only consistent in life seems to be change, so using LinkedIn as a one stop shop allows you to find out information and have discussions about current issues in training and assessment
|Networking with others
||Connecting with others through LinkedIn allows you to also connect with people in your industry and stay informed in the same way which has been described above about this industry. These connections could lead to information about jobs or grants for students.
||People often use LinkedIn to ask questions or discuss issues. This provides you with the opportunity to offer workforce development and training advice which may lead to work / training contracts.
||Information in Training Packages/Units of competency can often be ambiguous or difficult to interpret, so you can also use LinkedIn to seek advice in any area of training and assessment by drawing upon the experience of your LinkedIn connections and groups by posting a question or seeking advice.
|Sharing your own expertise
||LinkedIn thrives through people sharing information and links, so you should do the same with information about what you are passionate about in the area of training and assessment. This will help you to get requests from other LinkedIn members who are also interested in these areas.
||Often tenders, training and/or workforce development opportunities come up which may be beyond your current scope of expertise or your ability to staff. LinkedIn offers you a way of building relationships with others that when these opportunities arise, you will be able to form partnerships or collectives to work on them together.
|Keeping your professional profile current
||Often people do not keep their resume up to date, but through active LinkedIn membership you will be ‘prompted’ to do update your LinkedIn profile. This profile will also list your activity in LinkedIn, providing you with a record of your activity to support your currency.
How do you get started or improve your LinkedIn profile?
- Sign up as a member or login to LinkedIn at linkedin.com
- Update your profile with:
– a professional headshot of yourself
– information about your professional profile as a trainer / assessor eg Educational background and work experience
- Request to ‘connect’ to at least 50 people by finding and connecting with people you know on LinkedIn. Then view the connections of your connections and request to connect with some of them. LinkedIn will also suggest people you should connect with through what’s on your profile and who you are already connected with in LinkedIn.
- Join at least 5 groups which are related to your training and assessment interest areas, as well as industry groups relevant to these areas. In the first instance, watch and see what goes on in these groups. Then once you know the ‘netiquette’ and you see what threads of conversations are popular, you should contribute to these discussions through responding to other people’s posts, and posting your own information and questions
- Follow at least 1-2 companies relevant to your interest and industry as these LinkedIn profiles also share useful information, including when jobs and tenders become available.
Like any other online space, people in LinkedIn do not want to be ‘spammed’ with useless information in their feeds or groups, nor do they want to be solicited about your services or ideas through the LinkedIn messaging service. Behaviour in LinkedIn like you would in your staff room and at staff meetings, and act in the same professional and proactive way that you would in these locations.
Here are some more ‘do’s and dont’s when using LinkedIn.