Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever
This quote from Mahatma Ghandi is part of my inspiration to continue learning and investing my own development.
I am very happy to share that I have obtained an Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment (ACTA), through Singapore’s Institute for Adult Learning (IAL). This certificate is currently the “gold standard” in Singapore and requires completion of six modules over the course of several months, including assessments requiring 100% “competent” outcomes. This was very difficult to achieve, the instructors were absolutely top-notch and I am super proud to have attained this.
So what did I actually learn?
This certification indicates that I have gained competency–not just knowledge, but also skills and attitude–in the development and delivery of competency-based training and assessment. I am able to develop and deliver training that goes beyond knowledge, but builds skills, and therefore confidence and real-life competence in the learners. I know how to develop learning objectives, design training that involves active learning methods, address different learning styles and incorporat learning methods that maximise retention and transfer to the workplace. While I have been a trainer for many years (even while fully employed in corporate roles or as a consultant), I am now much better equipped to develop training that is less focused on my own expertise, and more focused on facilitation of the learning process. This is important as I understand much better how to unlock the experience the learners have to share.
I have also learned how to create a competency-based assessment. This is different from designing a written test, because a written test only assesses knowledge, while competency assessment assesses ability to do. It involves both “tell me” and “show me” assessments. In fact, to pass this part, the ACTA program at IAL required me to write a 40-page assessment plan, complete with detailed assessment steps, items, “answers” and a validation plan, to “test whether the test actually tests what it says it tests.”
How does it fit with my business plan?
As a freelance consultant, training and courseware development are an important source of revenue, and it is something that can be scheduled months in advance. But perhaps more importantly, I find training as a way for my own learning and development. When I teach a class, I involve learners and facilitate learning by allowing them to share from their experiences. I sometimes take polls so all can see what other companies are doing. During lunch and coffee breaks, I speak with other HR, rewards and mobility professionals about their work and offer tips, while at the same time building my own personal knowledge base, and spotting trends in industry practices. This kind of networking is vital to maintaining an edge in my profession, and I gain many contacts and make some friends in the process.
Did you know that the National Science Laboratories in the U.S. found that we retain very little of what we hear, but we retain almost 100% of what we teach?
I am currently teaching courses for four organisations, on total rewards and mobility topics, plus a few other HR-related topics. Some of these organisations provide the material, while I create my own material for others.
Has ACTA certification made any difference?
All professional trainers know that participants will fill out an evaluation form. This is vital feedback for us, so we can see what our areas for improvement are, as well as our strengths to be continued. I can say that since completing my ACTA modules last last year, my training evaluation scores have risen considerably. They were good before, but they are great now. I am involving the learners more than ever (no one wants to listen to an “expert” talk all day, but people love to be able to learn from others, “roll around” in the material, try it out, and to be challenged to demonstrate their learning in a safe environment.)
One final advantage…
In Singapore, the Workforce Development Agency makes huge investments in building workforce skills in key industries. Singaporeans can receive significant funding and subsidies to support their continuing education. WDA ensures the highest quality training by requiring that all facilitators be ACTA certified and that only Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) offer WDA subsidised training. My ACTA certification ensures that I can continue to participate in Singapore’s Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training programmes as a facilitator or courseware developer. I am really proud that I am able to make a small contribution to Singapore’s workforce development.
Have you invested in your continuing education lately?