One of the reasons that so many training and development professionals advocate for informal learning is because it provides such powerful developmental experiences.
Although attending and speaking at conferences, and reading and writing for publications promotes informal learning, some of the most powerful learning experiences for aspiring training and development professionals come from working on training and development projects, and overseeing professional organizations.
Volunteering for community and professional organizations provides such powerful experiences to these aspiring professionals.
The types of experiences most appropriate for a given student depend on the interests and long-term goals of that student. Students planning professional careers might benefit from volunteer opportunities that let them plan, design, and facilitate programs. In contrast, students planning academic careers might benefit from volunteer opportunities that let them participate in the peer-review process, as well as lead professional activities.
Table 1 offers suggestions of volunteer opportunities that students with particular types of goals might consider.
Table 1: Volunteer Opportunities that Might Help Students Prepare for Particular Opportunities
|To develop design and facilitation skills:||
|To develop managerial and leadership skills:||
|To develop contacts and skills for the professional world (appropriate for students who plan to start or continue their career upon graduating):||
|To develop contacts and skills for the academic world (appropriate for students who plan to continue their studies at the PhD level):||