Professional development is hit and miss but search engines are great for learning

By Stephen Easton

November 10, 2017

New figures confirm professional development is very hit-and-miss in terms of quality but if public servants don’t know how to do something, they can always Google the answer.

Only about 60% of Australian Public Service staff thought learning and development activities they did in the last year were worth the time and effort, according to survey results released by the APS Commission.

While over a third of respondents felt they wasted their time, they probably didn’t waste very much of it in classrooms: 57% spent somewhere between 1 and 5 days in formal training in the preceding 12 months.

The general standard in the APS is the 70-20-10 model: 10% of learning should be done in courses, 20% from peers and mentors, and 70% in the course of normal work.

The most common avenues for public servants to learn new skills on the job are still internal channels — 73% look up procedures and guidelines, 72% ask someone else and 56% browse their agency’s intranet — but search engines are also an option, used by 31% of APS employees when they aren’t sure how to proceed.

The info-graphic is the latest in a series of outputs from the upcoming 2016-17 APS State of the Service report.

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