Thursday, July 23, 2009

What makes us develop, professionally?

Having been the recipient of frequent professional development over the years, I have always been a bit of a skeptic, having a difficult time relating most of these training opportunities to my day to day work. However, on lunch break today from a week-long conference, I am specifically questioning the cost-benefit ratio of these professional development events.

It seems that an entire industry has been built around the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and Continuing Professional Education (CPE)-- but that maintaining professional credentials, or fulfilling the training requirements for career advancement, does not always match skill sets that will actually be used on the job. To be sure, the titles of many of the workshops infer a connection, but practically speaking, two or even eight hours of a single topic will not assign subject-matter expertise, and in many cases, will not even result in measureable subject-matter knowledge.

Further, for those organizations that organize these events, and for the public and nonprofit, and even private institutions that foot the bill, is the value of the workshop content equivalent to the charges? Is the half or full-day session worth a fee that rivals the per-credit hour charges of most public universities? Is the cost of requiring an employee to miss XX number of work hours per year to attend these trainings actually worth it to the organizations?

Perhaps, as a society, we have simply enabled another industry to capitalize on policies and requirements that assign legitimacy to professional development, but have neglected to provide necessary oversight on the relevancy of many of these trainings to actual job practice.

No comments: