Learning Beyond CPE: Four Easy Lessons

Make the most of the time and money you invest in training and earning CPE credits!

October 14, 2010
Sponsored by Checkpoint Learning

Make the most of the time and money you invest in training and earning CPE credits! Checkpoint Learning’s director of instructional design shares some tips on how to make CPE pay off the most for your clients and your career.

Lesson 1: The new word in learning is “sticky.” You want to look for learning opportunities that teach concepts that stick with you and the best way for that to happen is through active participation. Learning by doing is the best way to understand, remember and gain mastery over concepts and skills. Look for live and online courses with exercises, case studies, scenarios and simulations where you can practice what you learn. It’s even better if the environment let’s you fail and learn from your mistakes in a safe environment that won’t harm clients or damage your reputation. Lessons learned through your mistakes are like super glue, you never forget them.

Lesson 2: Constantly disappointed that courses and classes don’t meet your expectations? Maybe you’ve forgotten how to learn. Approach each learning activity as a scavenger hunt and look for nuggets of knowledge that you can apply to your daily life. Throughout the course, be asking yourself:

  • How can I use this?
  • How will this information change the way I work?
  • Should I convert/print this out as a quick reference sheet?
  • Where can I file this for quick and easy access?
  • Who else can I share this information with?

Lesson 3: It’s not how much you know, it’s how fast you can find the information. This has never been more true than today. Imagine how powerful your learning can be if you connect it to the resources of your organization’s knowledge management system. Depending on the tools at your disposal you may be able to enrich your knowledge with:

  • Information stored in proprietary databases and reference ware, libraries full of courses and recorded internal webinars;
  • Copies of workpapers, proposals, reports, letters and presentations;
  • Sample glossaries for specific terms;
  • Background on policies and links to important websites.

Take some time to talk to colleagues who make have knowledge about existing resources and see what is available for you to leverage. It could bring added dimension to your work product. Be sure to check with the policies of your organization first to see what information you have permission to access to before you go digging.

Lesson 4: When was the last time you stepped into your client’s shoes and really looked at situations from their perspective? You might want to add a bit of industry training to your diet of technical courses and learn about the issues and trends that are keeping your client’s CEO up late at night. Research the company or go online and get the company’s annual report to learn more about their conditions, concerns, history and opportunities. Talk to colleagues who have worked with this client or industry. Next time you’re at the client site, take a minute to talk to the people about their business, build some relationships based on your understanding of their needs. They’ll be impressed that you did your homework.

By Kathryn Hallenstein, director of instructional design for Checkpoint Learning, for the Checkpoint Learning Facebook Fan Page from the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters, 2010. Become a fan at http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;231002729;55251886;f?http://www.facebook.com/pages/Checkpoint-Learning/253702487087