Monday, April 16, 2012

Professional Development Plan

Untitled Document

Outlining My Professional Development

Alignment of Goals with School Improvement Plan
School Improvement Goal Classroom Improvement Goal
To meet the AYP standards for all subgroups 85% of our students will make learning gains in mathematics on the 2011-2012 FCAT 2.0. To improve parent teacher communication among students and families with disabilities.
To implement and promote technology tools that will lead to student engagement and  effective learning strategies within the classroom setting.  
Needs Assessment Professional Development Objectives
FCAT results reveal a drop in Math acheivement among students with disabilities as well as those among the lower socio-economic group. Classroom reports identify 5 out of 14 students who've achieved a level 1 in Math, all others (except 3) received a level 2 or above. The three exceptions did not meet testing criteria.
According to the Lake County Beginnig of the Year Benchmark Testing, all 15 students are performing below 50% mastery in math skills.
I will implement strategies recommended by R. Marzano to enhance student performance in all academic subject areas.
* I would like to increase my students math knowledge by demonstrating various stategies to solve a single math problem.

* I would like to increase my students math comprehension of word problems by demonstrating how to recognize/highlight key words and identifying the correct operation.

* I would like to increase the engagement level of my students by incorporating more hands - on- activities, visual representations and or techonology links.
Specific Professional Training and Learning Activities
** Graduate Course work on Instructional Strategies and Design

-Related Courses include: 1. Learning Theories and Instruction (9/2010-10/2010)  and 2. Instructional  Design (10/2010-11/2010).
I will also attend Spring Workshop on how to create / use Manipulatives in the classroom.

I will attend Classworks training on how to implement technology lessons for tracking progress according to benchmarks.

I will attend a Study Island Webinar session on how to incorporate techonology component for additional math assignments and or homework to allow parent participation.

I will attend and participate in  Team Trainings to improve and enhance my teaching strategies within the classroom.

I will Chair and attend Grade Level meetings to keep abreast of the issues effecting the classroom setting.

Completed / In Progress :

*After School Tutor 2009-2011

* PTO Treasure 2010-2011

* Technology Committee Member 2011-2012

*Technology Mentor and Coordinator for professional development of others 2011-2012
My training path will include a cobination of formal / informal education, and assessment. I will obtain my formal education from Walden University in the field of Technology and Design. Walden's online feature will allow 24 hour access to coursework at my own convenience and pace. The coursework design will enhance my skills and in technology, which is in alignment with my professional goal of implementing technology in the classroom. Informal coursework or trainings through Classworks and Study Island Webinars will assist in meeting the specificied math goal, while tracking the progress of my students. Having the ability to track my student's progress via technology tools will promote self assessment in my own progress towards effective technology implementation. Participation in team trainings will include formal and informal assessments by peers and administrators. Assessment responses and results may be used to further guide and develop my capacity to transfer required skills and knowledge to the job.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Technological Advancements

Technological Advancements Used in Training

Technological advancements have had a great impact on the learning and training of individuals.  Time efficiency and cost savings have been among the most commonly cited advantages.  Business organizations and learning institutions alike are constantly exploring and seeking the technological tools that will best fit their needs.  Some may seek tools to assist with individual performance or learning goals, while others seek collaborative tools in order to brainstorm solutions.  Advancements in technology have provided such tools to meet these needs.

As an educator, I am interested in tools can improve the learning and performance of individuals, while keeping them engaged in content.  Intelligent Tutoring Systems were developed specifically to fit the need of the individual learner.  It provides learning systems for tutoring, coaching and personal empowerment (Noe, 2010).  As an added resource in the classroom, ITS can be advantageous as a teaching tool by allowing instructors to focus on other aspects of the learning content.  ITS can be accessed 24 hours a day and assist a multitude of learners. The most challenging aspect of the intelligent tutoring system is finding a balance between giving and withholding assistance (Johnson, Phillips & Chase, 2009). This is a trait found in human tutors, which prompts the learners to become more effective in solving problems on their own. Despite this lacking feature, I suspect ITS to expand in popularity.   As current trends in education lean towards more individualized instruction, ITS may provide extended support for virtual, home and campus based classrooms.

Limited resources or geographical constraints may prevent access to many technological tools. Interactive Distance Learning Systems use satellite technology to broadcast programs to different locations, learning environments will have the ability to reach remote locations where internet and other technology tools may be limited (Noe, 2012). All that will be required is a television screen were learners or trainees can simply view a live or taped program.  IDL systems may have more of an impact on the global expansion of learning than any other format.

Virtual Reality and Virtual Worlds may have a greater impact on learner engagement.  Virtual reality adds depth to simulation by creating a three dimensional environment while providing technology devises that allows the learner to input sensory information (Noe, 2010).  Virtual worlds are a great way to immerse learners into a type of reality, by mimicking real world experiences and outcomes.  “Several researchers have reported improved learning gains related to the use of virtual worlds in science classrooms” (Iqbal, Kankaanranta & Neittaanmaki, 2010). Focused is placed on scientific investigations and social learning as depicted in Atlantis and River City. The environment promotes exploratory and inquiry based learning, which requires a change in roles for instructors. Teachers will then take on the role of facilitator or guide, while students become explorers, apprentices or producers of knowledge (Iqbal et al, 2010). 

Organizations are not only looking for producers of knowledge, but they are also seeking teams of individuals that can effectively generate business solutions.  Collaborative teams may consist of individuals with various expertise, talents, and responsibilities.  Since larger organizations may have team members that are dispersed in various locations, Groupware technology may be used to cut travel costs.  Collaborative “groups play a critical role in most of the activities in today's organizations: strategic decision making, unstructured problem identification and solving, planning, idea generation and other collaborative group activities” (Pazos, & Beruvides, 2009).  Groupware will allow teams to generating work related solutions, while combining elements such as email, document management, and bulletin boards.  Teams may also use groupware to track, share and organize information simultaneously (Noe, 2010).

Just like Groupware is there to support the group in problem solving, Electronic Performance Support Systems are there to support the individual. The EPSS system can be compared to a personal assistant, there to support the learner in all their performance needs. It stores a warehouse of knowledge and resources that will enable the learner to achieve required levels of performance in the fastest possible time with minimum support from others (Noe, 2010).  As EPPS is structured to meet the needs of the learner, business organizations may see long term improvements in performance as well as a solid return on investment. 


Iqbal, A., Kankaanranta, M., & Neittaanmaki, P. (2010). Engaging learners through virtual            worlds. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 2, 3198–3205.  Agora Center, University of Jyvaskyla.

Johnson, B., Phillips, F. & Chase, L. (2009). An intelligent tutoring system for the accounting       cycle: Enhancing textbook homework with artificial intelligence. Journal of Accounting Edition 27, 30-39.

Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Pazos, P., & Beruvides, M. G. (2009). The impact of communication medium on team performance patterns. IIE Annual Conference.Proceedings, , 386-390.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Planning a Needs Assessment

Planning for a Needs Assessment

     Customer service is the heart of Southwest Airlines and is the driving force behind its mission. “[Our mission] highlights our desire to serve our customers and gives us direction when we have to make service-related decisions” (Southwest Airlines, 2012). Therefor training needs will undoubtedly focus on how to maintain and or improve quality standards in customer service.

      Southwest takes pride in its ability to establish and maintain positive relationships among its employees, customers, investment stakeholders and the community at large. These are the stakeholders, along with upper and lower management that would have an interest in training outcomes. So getting their buy-in would be vital to the success of the program. The following chart outlines a brief plan for conducting a needs assessment.

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Planning Chart
Elements of Assessments StakeholdersQuestions to AskStrategies to Implement
Organizational Upper and Lower management, Business partners 1. How might training content affect our employee’s relationship with our customer’s?
2. What might suppliers, customers or partners need to know about the training program?
3. What do we need from managers / peers to succeed?
Interview: Good for uncovering details of training needs as well as causes and solutions to problems.
Person Employees 1. What might keep you from giving your best service to your customers?
2. How do you deal with customer complaints.
3. How do you motivate your employees on the job?
Observation: Generates data relevant to work environment and minimizes interruption of work.
Questionnaire: Good for collecting data from large group and easily summarized.
Tasks Managers, Employees What steps / activities are involved in accommodating a passenger from arrival at the airport to landing at their destination? Documentation: Good source of information on procedure as well as good source of task information.
Information in this chart is based on recommended techniques provided by Raymond A. Noe (2010) Employee Training and Development; Advantages and Disadvantages of Needs Assessment Techniques

     To conduct the needs assessment there are several phases that would need to be addressed; organizational, person and task analysis. The organizational analysis identifies whether a training program will support the strategic direction of company (Noe, 20102). According to Southwest’s mission statement, the company would support training activities that will further enhance performance in customer service. With customer service being a top priority, interviews may be conducted with upper and lower management to gain a deeper understanding as to how training may affect the relationship between Southwest employees and its customers.

      The personal analysis will examine individual responses to training as it will seek answers to the questions such as; “what might keep you from giving your best service to your customers?” Or “how do you motivate you employees on the job?” These questions may be posed to managers and employees alike through anonymous surveys. Another approach to gaging the affect training may have on relationships is through observations. For example, are Southwest employees always courteous and respectful to customer even during demanding situations? Observations provide a closer look what actually happens during interactions. Although observation may allow consultants to gain insight into the true picture, the disadvantage occurs when those who know they are being observed act perform differently than they normally would if not observed (Noe, 2010).

      A task analysis will provide a detailed description of the work activities that have to be performed by the employees. Conducting such and analysis will help pinpoint the training needs along with identification of causes and effects. Noe (2010) recommends using a task analysis questionnaire to determine which tasks should be included in the trainings. Once these tasks are identified Southwest will then be able to identify what skills, knowledge and abilities its employees will need in order to effectively perform their job.

      Training may not always be necessary; it is only likely if the employees don’t know how to perform (Noe, 2010).  If training has been identified as a need, a careful needs assessment should be done first. All training efforts require the support of the stakeholders, so getting their buy in will be important.  To gain insight into the company’s needs various methods, such as interviews, surveys, documentation and or observations may be implemented. The most important thing to remember though is that the training should align with the company’s mission and vision for their future.


Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Southwest Airlines. (2012). Customer service commitment. Retrieved on March 6, 2012 from   

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Training and Development

"Training is not a luxury"(Noe, 2010). Companies will need to examine their approach and look beyond training activities that simply improve basic skills and knowledge. To be competitive companies must be willing to create learning environments that produce employees who are willing to create and share their knowledge. Many companies though will avoid training programs due to limited belief in the value of training programs or simply to cut costs. This resistance to training may pose challenges for performance consultants, so I have composed an "elevator speech" designed to convince employers and their companies to buy in to a training and development program that will leverage their human capital and put their company back in the competition. Take a listen and let me know what you think.

Click on link to listen:

Transcript of Speech:
If you would be willing to share your vision of your company’s desired performance, then I can help you develop strategic training activities that are learner centered and automatic. Why learner centered, because your greatest resource is in human capital. By tapping into to your human capital, your company can cut costs and leverage its potential by creating training programs that train employees in the art of creating and sharing knowledge. Collaborative training can “accelerate the pace of employee learning” by promoting personalized learning opportunities and customized feedback.  Once your training needs have been identified and effective training has been provided, your company should be able to meet its goals as well as meet your customer’s standards in quality.  This will only work though if you company is willing to ensure a supportive work environment.  A supportive work environment will help attract and retain talented employees. These are the employees that will produce a competitive edge for your company.


Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.