By Name

Engineering7

Personal and Professional Development

Scenario 1

Learning and development plan is a crucial process of improving an employee’s skills and experience in the work place. Its effectiveness however, depends on the clarity of policies and objectives set out by the management regarding learning and development. Since productivity of an employee is paramount in determining organisational success, then the entire process of learning and development ties both the employee and management. The components of a successful learning experience include:

  1. Clear and sound learning and development policies

The management should set out policies which reflect organisational training needs and ensure that they are tailored to meet individual learning and experience needs. In addition, individuals need to be consistent in adhering to such policies and ensure that they are aligned with their individual goals and objectives.

  1. SMART goals for learning and experience

Whilst personal learning experience is aimed at achieving certain desirable outcomes in an employee, then SMART goals need to be set out. Precisely, the goals of the learning and development process should be specific in the sense that the goals must be very clear and unambiguous to the employees’ understanding. Secondly, learning and development goals should be measurable. This technically implies that the outcome of each stage or progress of learning should be able to be tracked and evaluated in order to facilitate any desirable changes. Thirdly, these goals should be attainable by ensuring that such goals appear reasonable both for the individual employee and management. Fourthly, goals should be relevant in meeting both short-term and long-term needs of the individual. Lastly, the goals should be within relevant timeframe.

  1. Involvement of individual employee

As the most important component of learning experience, employee involvement in issues such as appraisal, determination of managerial skills and experience, talent and potentials is uncontested. Employee involvement not only ensures attainment of learning and experience goals, but also improved performance at organisational level.

  1. Incorporation of past career history

An effective and successful personal learning experience should assimilate an employee’s past learning experiences in order to streamline these past career experience with recent personal learning needs. This ensures that an employee is not sandwiched between unclear and appear confused in his long-term career goals.

  1. Adequate learning and development resources

Learning and development demands the better part of organisational resources. The available resources however scarce, should be adequately used in achieving personal learning objectives.

Training and development process

Training and development is a continuous process of unlearning and learning. In this process, what appears unknown becomes an area of interest to discover and understand. In training and development, the starting point is always determine one’s skills and experience gap. It starts by answering the questions ‘What do I need to know?’ Is it within my learning needs? How important is it towards achieving organisational goals? What are the training objectives? Which training methods are relevant and available? And which means are suitable for evaluation? These series of questions interplay to form the training and development process. One’s an individual the management identify training and development needs, then a training and development plan is drafted in order to facilitate training process. Without forgetting the unrelenting benefits of monitoring or tracking training and development progress.

Who’s responsible for my training?

Training of employees is a human resource management function. The HR manager ensures that all necessary resources required for training and development of employees are available. Moreover, HRM plays a central role of mobilising talents and skills within the organisation and providing a conducive and astounding training environment to ensure an employee’s learning experience is successful. However, training does not only concern the management per se, but vastly the employee. For that reason, we can fiercely and adamantly agree that both the individual employee and the management are responsible for the training and development process.

Individual Development Planning Process

The individual development planning process involves the individual employee by large. In this case, the development plan is specifically tailored to meet individual training needs and is normally developed by the employee himself but implemented under the supervision of an authorised person. The individual development Planning process is the act of formulating chronologically and systematically organised stages in order to achieve overall desired goals. This process involves the following steps;

  • Identifying skills gap and training needs through preliminary self-assessment

  • Obtaining a perfect understanding of the environment you are working in

  • Consider your level of skills and the job position you are in

  • Identify available training techniques and tools available

  • Identify evaluation criteria for your final self-assessment

  • Implement your action plan

Development Activities throughout my Academic Year

  1. Self-study

While charity begins at home, I have been engaging in self-study programs. Self-study programs include all activities which are not part of the class work programs and are suited for personal academic pursuit. With ample learning facilities in our institution, i have been able to take advantage of the digital library where I have been doing a couple of research projects relevant to my career. Additionally, structured walk-through learning activities in school’s workshop programs have also provided me with an exclusive opportunity to build my career.

  1. Community development programs

I have also had the opportunity to engage in community projects which turned out to be an exclusive platform to learn and unlearn human relations. Volunteering in community development projects has not only seen me grow and develop in terms of skills in team relations and collective working, but also improve on my professional perception regarding my field of study. Additionally, I learnt to appreciate the need for working together in a coordinative yet productive manner. More interesting, I found such projects an excellent platform to learn some form of leadership skills. Even though I wasn’t lucky to take part in any leadership position, the best thing is that I learnt from other leaders who took part in it. Leadership techniques such as servant leadership were manifested in some group leaders we worked with. Human relations is at the core of any professional and its benefits are very compelling in the contemporary organisational settings. Therefore, in order to improve on relations skills by understanding different individual behaviour, motivational factors and their impact on achieving project’s objectives, I had to engage in several projects where team work was predominant in all aspects.

  1. Attending inter-colleges Seminars and forums

Seminars and forums provide a platform for interaction and enhancing social relationship. Many educative programs and topical debates especially those touching of economic, political and social domains have seen people improve in communication skills, leadership and critical thinking skills. While we can arguably believe that such forums and seminars may be limited to participants, well even those who part form of the audience not only benefit from information gained through them, but mere listening and communication skills. To add on, having been a participant in some group meetings, seminars and forums, I have been able to learn and develop relevant skills in making presentations before a multitude. This have seen me develop not only presentation skills but also grow confidence in communicating before an audience.

  1. Participation in mentorship programs

Our institution has been organising a couple of mentorship programs. These programs have impacted on so many people who have turned out be successful people in life. Many mentorship programs often involved corporate leaders, managers, CEOs and successful entrepreneurs who brought with them rich informative and life-changing speeches. II got the opportunity to learn from those who have made it in the corporal world form how they started to how they achieved their goals.

  1. Group work Activities

The best platform to start with in the process of learning and developing oneself is through group works. I have been participating in a couple of group work where I together with my colleagues could select topics and research on articles which we read and critically analysed together. Effective functioning of group work depended on the level of group work skills. Beard, (2016, p.111), confirms that for theoretical reasons, introduction of group works and cooperative learning approaches, without careful planning, can lead to problems. Therefore, out of a number of roles I played in the work groups got me learning several skills such as planning, team work and leadership. This was enhanced too through online collaborations via social media.

Setting and Recording of aims and objectives

Objective setting incorporates a lot in terms of resources and training needs. These objectives need to be set based on my training and development needs. The objectives I set were quite apart from the intended purpose based on the scope of my training. Sometimes working towards achieving a certain objective was thwarted by the fact that personality, attitude, motivation and general surrounding environment had their own contributions. If we consider the theory of purposeful work behaviour, personality trait plays a significant role in setting objectives. Barrick, Mount and Li, (2013, p.132), articulates that the core personality traits initiate the purposeful goal striving and when the motivational forces associated with job characteristics act in concert with the purposeful motivation striving, individuals experience psychological meaningfulness. Therefore, setting realistic objectives and working towards achieving them require a combination of personality trait and motivational factors. This explains why most learning and development objectives become very difficult to achieve. In my learning process, matching my career objectives and meeting job description could prompt involvement of skilled people to provide assistance in the same. Additionally, the purpose of objective settings were so as to provide motivational ground and direction towards developing my skills.

Setting Target

Targets work hand-in-hand with set objectives. The targets I set were to be benchmarked against certain indicators. Targets are not far from goals and they need to meet the SMART rule. Based on my learning objectives, the target was specific in each stage of learning. The targets are measurable in that they can be gauged against certain performance indicators. With the help of our tutors in our institution, I was able to set achievable goals both for group works and individual studies. Even though achieving absolutely the set targets may be possible, my targets were result-oriented since they were all drawn from my learning and development goals. The pre-requisite for target setting however, could not have been met at once. For instance, the self-monitoring process was quite difficult to maintain thereby limiting room for performance improvement. Even though this is the case, the readiness and willingness to improve on my performance is evident. Targets set depended on the past performance and changing learning objectives. Evident form empirical studies, experiential learning is relevant in setting targets in contemporary corporate world (Aranda, Arellano and Davila, 2016). This implies that targets are set depending on past performance and level of experience attained. This will ensure that the process of learning is progressive.

Responding to feedback

Feedback provides an important basis for self-assessment and appraisal. My response to feedback from tutors, mentors and those with skills in my line of profession have seen considerable improvement in the learning and development process. Various platforms for feedback were available such as mentorship programs, group works, class works, self-performance appraisals and online collaboration. Through these platforms, I would get the opportunity to engage with experts in various fields of study including our tutors and managers from various organisations. Having been facing challenges in my academic courses especially on practical assessments, important academic remarks from my tutors really accounted for improvement in the knowledge and skills on that particular subject. Listening to what people say serves as an important tool for self-evaluation and setting of targets. However, this depended on the perception I had about tutors feedback and its contributory factor towards knowledge and skills enhancement. In moving feedback forwards from theory to practice, self-regulation, dialogue and social learning are important things to consider, (Orsmond, et al., 2013, p.240). Moreover, the efforts of tutors to use specific feedback-tools have signified the ease of self-improvement. Through such feedbacks from various sources, I have been able to appreciate whatever feedback receive and while I tried to address problems.

UPDATING MY ACTION PLAN

Re-setting aims and targets

Aims and Target 1: To qualify academically in engineering

My initial primary objective was to ensure that by the end of my course, I attain good but not desired grades in order to increase my chances of prospering in my career. In order to achieve this, I engaged in multiple class projects both individual and group projects. Based on my academic recent performance, I haven’t been able to achieve the desired grades. I realised that family issues and peer influence had greatly interfered with my concentration.

Weaknesses

According to my tutor, I didn’t get some engineering concepts well and I needed to do more of self-studies and practical work. This would help me be able to grasp these difficult yet important concepts. Thirdly, time management is also a limiting factor in this case. Trying to balance my social life with academics became quite a task.

Directions for change

In order to ensure that I meet my first objective of ensuring that am academically well-off to progress in my career, I will allocate much time than before and reduce unnecessary time waiting activities. Secondly, engaging in more practical activities to boost my understanding and skills.

Aims and Objective 2: To acquire good leadership skills

Mentorship programs, conferences and seminars were meant to help us develop leadership skills in decision making, debating and contesting on ideas regarding particular topics. Even though I was able to attend a couple of seminars, I still don’t feel like am good to go in leadership. Many people said that I had good presentations, communication skills and if given chance I could make a good leader.

Weaknesses

The reason as to why I did not achieve this objective with respect to my target is because of unlimited platform to engage in discussion. Most of the time I was an active listener but not active in contesting on discourses. Secondly, having confidence has been an issue when it comes to seminars or group works where the multitude is so big. It posed challenges on me when participating in academic symposiums.

Directions for change

In order to achieve desired aims and targets based on leadership, I will ensure that I actively participate in organisational projects which are tailored for team works. Additionally, I will continuously learn managerial leadership skills through training and development programs in the organisation. Role model development will also be a factor to consider and work positively on leadership feedback from my peers whom we’ve attended seminars together, my tutor and friends too. A good number of those who have seen me engage in group discussions and seminars have almost similar opinions towards my leadership. Many believe I can make a good leader if a have a good mentor and role model.

Cycles of activity

I will ensure that I plan adequately in case am required to participate in any activity of my interest. Planning is as important as a building’s cornerstone. Secondly, monitoring my level of confidence and doing solo recording to improve on the same.

Aims and Target 3: To learn different information system in an engineering setting

My other objective was to ensure that through internship programs I be able to understand different information systems applicable in an engineering entity so as to familiarise myself with them. While in internship, I was able to learn a few things about information systems in engineering firm. Due to limitation in scope I wasn’t able to perfectly understand various systems such as operation of the payroll systems, management decision support among others.

Weaknesses

I barely understand how information systems are used to streamline informational needs of a company in an engineering setting. It is also quite a complex experience to understand the organisational set up of an engineering entity.

Directions for changes

To pursue training in IICT infrastructure in an engineering firm so as to understand its technicality and complexity to help improve on my skills in delivering services.

Scenario 2

Material Processing Presentation

Materials need to be processed in order to have some utility towards human wants. The processing of materials from an engineering perspective, involves a series of interdependent activities. Depending on the nature of the end product, materials are always processed using different technologies but stages involved are almost similar across manufacturing industries. In this presentation, we are presenting the process of processing materials in an articulate and comprehensive manner to make you understand engineering processes and implications. We will also do the presentation in order to express our technical understanding of material processing.

Material forming

This is the process of changing a raw material into a form or shape that is required through pressing, mechanical bending, casting and rolling among other techniques. The materials used in this case are metals and iron sheets.

  1. Bending of Metallic and other materials

Malleable metals are usually transformed into other shapes through hammering or using other mechanical tools. Bending methods include rolling bend, folding, and draw bending among others. Other materials such as plastics can also be bent into desirable forms.

  1. Pressing of Materials

Materials can be pressed to take any desirable shape through being hammered into sheets or any other way.

  1. Moulding

Moulding involves the process of using mould to change plastics into desirable shapes.

Casting involves the process where the material is melted and hardened to produce strong artefacts.

Material Cutting

This involves the removal of excess or surplus portion of the entire material. This can be done through use of machines or hand-held tools and equipment. Recent cutting technologies involves use of drills, grinding machines among others.

Material Joining

This process involves bringing together materials or combining them using certain methods. Materials are usually joined together to form a whole desired product. Materials joining can be through electric and gas welding, use of solders and seaming. The process of attaching different materials together has been a prevalent activity in product manufacturing across industries. In material joining, some materials are permanently joined while others are not. Example is seen in assembling companies.

Material surface processing

The natural form or content of a material can be altered to obtain certain desired characteristics. For instance, aluminium can be electroplated with iron in order to prevent corrosiveness. Many methods of material exist. These may include painting, galvanising, polishing and enamelling among other.

Effective use of Time Management Strategies

Priority setting

In our group, apart from outlining the role of each other, we made sure that we prioritised activities on how to come with the presentation. Our first priority was on ensuring clear leadership roles and each one’s role in participating in the group to avoid too much conflicting ideas. Pour second priority was planning. Before we could start anymore, we drafted a plan for our presentation. This was to ensure workflow and working within time budget. Our second priority was the scope of our work. We ensured that we don’t act beyond the scope of our work by avoiding to engage unnecessary activities. In the end of our work, we found that we were able to complete within timeframe.

Setting Work Objectives

Objectives were important in providing direction by facilitating planning. The objective involved our project purpose and it was clearly known to each member of the team. With clear objectives, communication strategies become more effective and therefore, project may be completed within the stipulated timeframe. Everyone in our group was well conversant with the objectives of our presentation project and so was everyone prepared to play a role in it.

Reference List

Aranda, C., Arellano, J. and Davila, A., 2016. Organizational Learning in Target Setting. Academy of Management Journal, pp.amj-2014. http://amj.aom.org/content/early/2016/05/03/amj.2014.0897.short

Barrick, M.R., Mount, M.K. and Li, N., 2013. The theory of purposeful work behavior: The role of personality, higher-order goals, and job characteristics. Academy of Management Review38(1), pp.132-153.

Beard, F., 2016. Preparing campaigns students for group work.Journal of Advertising Education,20(1/2), p.111.

Orsmond, P., Maw, S.J., Park, J.R., Gomez, S. and Crook, A.C., 2013. Moving feedback forward: theory to practice. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education38(2), pp.240-252.