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- Viewing thread: Training is not a profession; discuss.,
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Message 1 of 9: Peter Mayes on 21/01/2013
Hi all

I have been doing a considerable amount of reading over the past few months (see the growing CPD record in my profile) and am wondering whether the suggestion, even assertion, that training is a profession is, and is seen by others as, a false, unsupported and undermining concept.

A read through Wikipedia on Profession, Professional, etc indicates a 'requirement' of structure and rigour that many of the collective practitioners within the learning and development discipline are not able to meet.

That is not to say that some within the learning and development discipline do not act in a professional manner, but there is no single repository of collective knowledge, regulation of practice nor sanction for failure to follow even basic ethical behaviours.

From the growing tower of research papers on my desk, there is little scientific study that any one particular methodology works (over and above another) and a growing body of work (including books) that identify that some practitioners could be seen as mere peddlers of myth, heresay, falsehoods and downright dodgy methodologies.

Again that is not to say that some tools, instruments and methods do not meet a defined end but should there be a greater explicitness about the 'scientific validity' of a particular product.

Challenging question I know and it is in no way to diminish the excellent work that many of the TrainerBase members undertake on behalf of their clients.

Peter
AKA Ed
Founder and Editor of TrainerBase
If here was once there where is there now? (PJM 1999)

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Message 2 of 9: Marion Parris on 22/01/2013
Well if teachers are 'professionals' what are we? We just 'teach' adults and call ourselves something else. Yes we are not as rigerously monitored, but many are higher quality in terms of experience and ability! Teachers also take differing approaches depending on their generation.

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Message 3 of 9: Joy Wilson on 23/01/2013
Hi Peter, I am a provider of ILM programmes. I design for organisations and deliver in house. Thinking about your question and the explicitness about the 'scientific validity' of a particular product. This product (An ILM Course) does go through a robust approvals procedure where everything is scrutinised (content, methodology, assessments). last week I had an internal verification visit from the ILM who focused on my quality control procedures. Truth be known, whether a course is going for ILM accreditation or not I always design to that standard incase someday somebody may ask for the programme with accreditation.

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Message 4 of 9: Peter Mayes on 23/01/2013
Hi all

Many thanks for entering the dialogue.

The educating of another individual is as old as the hills and I would suggest is an 'activity' undertaken by everyone at a core level (as is offering someone a bandage for a cut, or totting up their expenses).

As an activity increases in complexity and impact, it becomes a 'discipline' based on a certain level of collective knowledge. I have been on a first aid course and learnt functions and forumuals in Excel years ago.

Further endeavours (over time) within the discipline cause a convergence of thinking and a generally agreed collective premise for the education, control and sanction of the practitioners and a rigorous approach to the creation and discemenation of shared and agreed knowledge (with a view to protecting the recipients of practice).

Well that is my thinking about how some activities that we all might engage in (medical, accounting, health) may be part of a bigger and more structured profession, of which we are not members.

A teacher in a private school does not need to be 'registered' with the governing body of teachers and they can be called a teacher because that is what they do. But is this individual outside the profession of teaching. Likewise, as I understand it, someone without qualification, who does your books can call themselves an accountant however they are not 'Chartered' and are therefore are outside the accounting profession.

Learning and development (training) is highly fragmented with a number of bodies exerting certain regulatory criteria but none with an overarching mandate or having custody of the collective knowledge within the sector.

And just thinking about it, I designed and built my own house but am not an architect:)

Reading on the subject of 'profession' there has definitly been a loosening of the use of the term. I wonder whether it has lost its kudos in some areas whilst still being aspirational in other.

Any more contributions to the dialogue.

Peter
AKA Ed
Founder and Editor of TrainerBase
If here was once there where is there now? (PJM 1999)

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Message 5 of 9: Mac Macdonald on 29/01/2013
What a great topic Peter.

I am a huge fan of interactive delivery and engaging learners etc. I also deliver PTLLS and CTLLS through 2 Awarding Bodies and with these and other qualifications in training, I too wonder about what a "Professional" trainer really is and what a new trainer would have to do/achieve to gain the title of “Professional”? Perhaps you could ask a similar question on how each of us define a "Professional" trainer or what we see as the difference between a trainer and a professional trainer?

I appreciate the extract from Wikipedia, of “structure and rigour”, but I can’t help but wonder if this is official structure and rigour, as prescribed by the powers that be (educational bodies), or could this be such elements as implemented by trainers, designers organisations and so on?

I like your example where you say “And just thinking about it, I designed and built my own house but am not an architect ”. When I read that sentence my first thought was “wow that is impressive”; my second thought was “does that mean that you are a professional house builder”? I have a voice in my head (don’t be alarmed) saying that if someone classes themselves as a professional, I would expect/want them to be competent at what they do. I would want them to have a recognised qualification to make me feel that they have been officially measured at what they do and be professional in their approach communication etc. (Just can’t get away from that word professional can we)!

At the risk of touching a nerve with some, I have real concerns at what is deemed "correct" by some bodies. I therefore wonder just how effective a trainer deemed professional by that body really is. I wonder if at times we focus too much on the theoretical/academic aspect of training and not enough on the stand and deliver hands on skills. I can’t help thinking that some people involved in the design of qualifications are possibly constrained by their own academic experiences and focus too much on the theoretical work and evidence.

I manage the development of a global training product called TPMA, we insist a trainer must recertify every 3 years to renew their TPMA Trainer Certificate and TPMA Assessors must recertify their TPMA Assessors certificate every 2 years. This is to ensure that both trainers and assessors maintain their Skills. Given my earlier reference to SKU (Skills Knowledge and Understanding), I am conscious that for renewals there is a lack measurement of Knowledge and Understanding at the renewal stage. That is now being addressed to ensure the trainer’s or the assessor’s SKU and certificates are current. This is part of what I personally see as being a professional trainer, renewing/refreshing our skills and not for our sake but for the learners we are ultimately responsible for.

I have had personal experience of a trainer holding a Cert Ed who delivered a training course so badly, I seriously thought it was some form of prank and that the memorable Jeremy Beadle was about to appear and say “gotcha”! The holding of a qualification does not always mean a trainer is professional or is competent. In its simplest term I believe it proves a competence met at the time it was tested (which may have been some time ago as was the case above).

I wonder what being a professional trainer means to other trainers.

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Message 6 of 9: Peter Mayes on 29/01/2013
Mac

Many thanks for the comments. No I (and Heather) were truely amaetur builders: read a book or two, learnt off others and made a few mistakes:)

I have just read: Evidence-Based Training Methods by Ruth C. Clark and a number of other papers on evidenced based practice (mainly medical). It was in one of these papers that the term 'professional' cropped up in relation to management (not being a profession). There was a call for the 'academics' and 'practitioners' to get together rather than being confrontational and blind to what each has to offer.

I have approached a couple of Universities to look at what they are doing in relation to occupational learning theories and practices but am not getting very far (other than them wanting a shed load of money to help out).

A medical doctor is a qualified, tested and hopefully competent member of a profession. If there is doubt about their practice the profession is able to evaluate and if necessary strike off. The same is so of Law, Arcitecture and significantly so of quite a few others. Within this context, the term 'Profession' seems easy to grasp. But as you elude to; what does it mean to be a professional trainer other that to get paid. That is a pretty low standard to define a discipline that can have such serious implications for a team, department, organisation or even a country.

Peter
AKA Ed
Founder and Editor of TrainerBase
If here was once there where is there now? (PJM 1999)

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Message 7 of 9: Peter Mayes on 01/02/2013
Hi all

Is the following indicative of a profession:
"Hi I have been asked to write a course on team dynamics and wanted to know if anyone can point me in the right direction".

How might this sort of question be perceived by the people that purchase training?

Over to you:)

Peter
AKA Ed
Founder and Editor of TrainerBase
If here was once there where is there now? (PJM 1999)

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Message 8 of 9: Joy Wilson on 01/02/2013
This question might be perceived by the purchasers of training as a failure on their behalf!



Mail: joy@spectrain.co.uk
Web:http://www.spectrain.co.uk
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/joywilsonspectrain
UK:01942 713309 or 077404 30232 Skype+44 (0) 191 645 0713



Mail: joy@spectrain.co.uk
Web:http://www.spectrain.co.uk
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/joywilsonspectrain
UK:01942 713309 or 077404 30232 Skype+44 (0) 191 645 0713


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Message 9 of 9: Barry Wall on 07/03/2013
Caught this thread late and therefore missed out on some wailing and gnashing of teeth. :)

The idea of training is so far past its sell by date it is prehistoric. we live in a knowledge economy, and the term is something out of sixties manufacturing. My recent CPD has taken me into the realms of why education is not educating and it has been fascinating to say the least.

I recently "trained" some young people moving into a sales career and to say that this was not pure teaching would be an understatement. This current generation of 18-23 year old are suffering from over emotionality brought on by the child centred approach of the previous curriculum. They had an appalling poverty of ambition let alone any get up an go.

Likewise the cultural, spiritual and learning gap between the older (managers, owners etc.) and the younger generation is so drastically fractured that it makes conflict inevitable in most situations. I still maintain that OD is the way forward. HR as a process of the learning field is dead, police make terrible teachers. L & D does not have the overarching power to control HR, Operations and the economic culture of organisations. In today's world its develop and change or die for organisations and individuals, The ham fisted attempts to maintain the procedural status quo by the old guard is hampering new thinking and fluid cultures that value individuality, reward collaborative and team activities, encourage autonomous working and development alongside fostering a concept of learning for all at all times for its own sake.

Watching companies go bust (HMV) is made more interesting when we recognise the status quo killed them, denial of change was the weapon and self aggrandisement and protecting enclaves the motive.

It is time for OD to rise, then we can see informal education in the workplace that expects a rigour from learners that the profession requires, based on educational outcomes which over arch and therefore exceed targets and kpi's for economical, financial and cultural wealth generation in the organisation itself.

Or am I bonkers?

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