HRD Learnings

ADLT 620 – HRD Overview – Final Refelction

Engagement in learning

One thing I enjoyed about the class this summer is that the size allowed for plenty of opportunities for dialog and discussion. I think I felt most engaged during these times and for me, I realize that I actually learn more or, rather, my learning seems to take deeper roots when I have an opportunity to dialog about reading. It also helps me to hear perspectives and experiences of others in the class, instructor and fellow learners. I would also say that I was quite engaged in Weisbord’s text. His stories made all the theory come alive for me. I also really enjoyed reading about the historical perspectives getting to know more about some of the giants in the field.

As far as the time I felt most distant from the learning experience was often when the learning was less active. For me, this is often during a PPT presentation. It’s not always that I find myself least engaged during a presentation. I think that when the presentation is broken up and questions are asked and connections are made to the instructor’s or fellow learner’s experiences and view points, then I become more engaged. However, when a presentation is mostly just presenting/summarizing readings then I find myself less engaged. I think that I was also less engaged with the Gilley text, too. To me it was a bit dry, like reading a long list of bullet points with little connection to practical use.

Learning about myself

I think that one thing that I have realized more clearly from this class is that I really enjoy gaining insight into theory and thinking behind ideas/concepts, particularly in relation to small and large group dynamics/interventions as well as understanding more about how my own self/psychology and things to be more aware of when working in groups. One example is my fascination with Lewin’s work, as well as Trist and Emery, Lippit and others. I think I had a number of vicarious learning experiences through the stories of their experiences.

In particular, the story of Lippit measuring the reactions/responses of different leadership styles on young boys really struck me. It helped me to gain some insight into why I prefer a participatory leadership versus coercive or autocratic. It seems that participatory leadership respects the potential of the individual to contribute to the purpose of the group. In my view, this respects a basic human potential. When such respect is there, trust seems to naturally grow and bring about connectedness and cohesiveness. I think that one thing that I think I can apply to my life is to be even more conscious of my leadership style when working in groups. I have tried to use a facilitative approach when I have been in a leadership role, but I think I slip sometimes into an autocratic/unilateral functioning, especially when there is stress.

My best work

The criteria I would have for my best work are it would be highly engaging, highly relevant, focused effort, significant   learning about myself as well as learning that can be applied to other situations, quality outcome, and of benefit to others. The reasons for these criteria are that if I find the work relevant, I will automatically become more engaged. It’s important to me to learn about myself as well as something that I can use when working with others because the more I know and understand myself, the more I feel I can be effective when working with others. Quality outcome is important to me because I have high standards for myself (fortunately or unfortunately – sometimes it can be a hindrance, I think!). I also feel it’s important that my work can be of some practical use to others, either to help others learn or benefit in some way.

The one thing that I think represents my best work in this course would be the interview I conducted with a HRD professional. I think that the interview went well in itself in that I felt it was quite relevant and also that the position she held was something that I didn’t know much about – talent management and performance management. I also felt that I  could relate some of the learning I had from the class and reading directly to the interview. I also found that I often referred back to the interview throughout the rest of the semester and found connect and relate our readings and learning back to it. I also think that my sharing in class hopefully helped others to have some insight into what I learned from the interview.

Personal learning needs

There are several personal learning needs that I have identified from the HRD overview class. One is to learn more about performance measurement and management. I have actually never been in an organization where there was a regular performance review (PR). The business or government jobs I had quite a years ago had not implemented PRs at the time I was there. And the nonprofit I worked with for 18 years was so small that there was not a standard formal process of performance review. I did attend a leadership workshop where I had to solicit 360 feedback from my fellow workers and then write about what I learned from it. That was very helpful for my personal learning and development.

So, I feel like I need to learn more about this. One way I plan to do this is to research articles that I can read from the VCU online databases.

Another personal learning need I discovered is to have a better understanding of some of the different aspects of psychology and some other organizational theories – particularly change theory. One way is to continue reading on these topics and another would be to take a class. I am considering taking a class in psychology (although I’m not sure what kind quite yet – child psychology, social psych, or …).

I enjoyed this class greatly and have found that there are many areas in which I would like to deepen my learning besides the few I mentioned above.

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