My current career is a new career for me in many ways. I still do a lot of the same stuff that I’ve done most of my adult life. Nowadays, though, those efforts are much more focused on the actual facilities we occupy rather than the technological systems located inside those facilities. My old job was much more focused on making the fancy techie systems work right and taking care of the building and property was important, but very much secondary.
But I also work for a public employer now as well. I work for a division of the organization that’s actually a for-profit entity, so while I collect a public paycheck, that paycheck is not wholly dependent on the taxpayers. Yeah, a small part is, but I don’t fall in to the same category as the DMV or whatever. But, because we are a public employer, there’s a fair bit of training and continuing education that we do across the board – more so if, like me, you’re in management or supervision.
In addition to the various required and recommended classes and training seminars that I attend to update myself on policy or practice on the “government” side of the job, I’m also currently working on several other trainings and updates, a couple to earn various credentials. I currently have several coaching classes on my calendar that are strictly management related. I’m working on my FMP credential with IFMA. I just started upgrading my Tridium Niagara AX controls certification for Niagara 4. In June, I have the honor of being sent across country to attend Venue Management School with IAVM, the first year’s class of a two year program. And, it’s coming up on annual training season for us instructors with Team Oregon to get ready for the new teaching year and get all updated on new policies and procedures there.
Right at this moment, I feel like I’ve got my nose in more books and training materials than I did in college. Although, on the other hand, I never paid all that much attention in college either, so …..
About 1/3 to 1/2 of these trainings that I’m working on right now are online, or they have a heavy online component. The Tridium update is a wholly online program available only to those who hold an existing certification – mine, in that case, was earned in a classroom. The IFMA program is part online and part book-based. My employer’s classes are also about 2/3rd’s in person versus online. The seasonal teaching updates are pretty much all in person with some basic activity downloading updated manuals and the like. The IAVM school is in West Virginia – most definitely in person.
By now I guess I’m fairly used to online learning and testing. I’ve taken online college courses in the past and I’ve found that my success in those pretty much depends on the content of the class. For some things, honestly, I still need to sit in a room with an instructor and other people to learn the topic. Usually these are topics that require a bit more of a human, in-person touch. They often involve a lot of discussion, brainstorming, theorizing and the like. Some of that, for me anyway, doesn’t always translate well when experienced through a browser.
I’ve become curious recently about the various MOOC offerings that have been growing online lately. There’s an amazing variety out there, certainly. But it most definitely requires a very specific set of good study habits to self-police to the extent required to assign yourself time to study, ready, do assignments, write and so on. My tolerance level in that area varies extensively day to day, so I have to use tools to keep myself on track. I find that a simple calendar appointment works well for me. I guess my somewhat Pavlovian response to the Outlook calendar is ingrained enough in me now that it works. I’ve found that if I simply sit down a schedule study time on my calendar, it almost always gets done.
But heck, everyone gets distracted, right?