Professional development – avoiding the admin headaches!.

Delivering a smoothly-run professional development programme where the benefits are clear for both the institution and the student inevitably comes with some admin-related headaches. Here’s how you can avoid the most common hurdles with the help of Inkpath.

1. Know your ‘training junkies’ from your ‘conscripts’

Here’s a familiar situation for you: it’s the beginning of term, and you publish your shiny new professional development programme online and see a raft of bookings for events and engagement with synchronous and asynchronous resources. So far, so good. But in among these bookings you will no doubt find two classic attendee types. The first, the ‘training junkie’, signs up for everything available, regardless of relevance. The second, the ‘conscript’, signs up for anything going simply to tick the boxes that need ticking for their annual review or project funding requirements. Both are examples of the ‘scattergun’ approach.

Inkpath helps students and researchers to reflect fully on their personal and professional trajectory before they put together their own personalised programme of development. By taking a slick, integrated skills audit that is a fun part of mobile app onboarding, they home-in on their personal set of skills, experience, and goals. So no more ‘scatterguns’, and because you can analyse their collective insights in Inkpath’s reporting tools, you gain a far better strategic understanding of just how shiny that new professional development programme really is.

2. Address non-shows effectively

The single top problem for most professional development programmes, in our experience, is patchy attendance and no-shows. This is partly due to the ‘scattergun’ approach described above, which can mean that students and researchers have not pondered the value of training to them before attending. But it is also due to practical problems: it can be difficult to know who to contact, the booking system can be difficult to access to cancel, joining links for online sessions or venue information may not be easy to find, and there might be no real consequences for not attending.

Inkpath’s tools have had a profound and measurable effect on this issue when in the hands of our clever and competent university partners. For students and researchers, the Inkpath app puts it all in the palm of their hand: booking and cancelling sessions; accessing automated online session joining links; venue information and maps; session details and related weblinks; automated reminders and calendar integration.

For administrators, not only is running booking and tracking participation a breeze, but also you can use our automated non-attendance management tools to track users who don’t turn up and check into events, and be as tough or as lenient as you want to be in deciding whether or not those users should continue to be able to book further sessions.

For those who fail to show, an automated email can be sent asking if they have forgotten, providing a delicate reminder. Marks of non-attendance can also be implemented in accordance with how robust an institution wants to be, preventing repeat non-shows.

3. Survey the scale of participation

Another issue is accurately capturing the scale of participation, as well as who exactly is participating.

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen universities rapidly adapt to online teaching and transferring communications fully online. Now, as institutions continue to transition back into some face-to-face practices, there are multiple forms of communication and platforms that can easily get entangled with contradictory data.

Inkpath utilises a clever automated QR code-based system to gather real-time data on who is engaging during a certain event. The convener gets the code, and every student scans that same code to register their attendance – regardless of whether they are tuning into an event remotely or in-person. The QR code also allows students to provide feedback on events quickly and efficiently, meaning universities can gather invaluable insights on student attitudes and preferences.

4. Capture quality feedback

Institutions require a balance of both quality and quantity when it comes to feedback.

Unfortunately, it is all too common for there to be not enough feedback, while the feedback received can be unfocused. We’ve all read feedback that seems to be more concerned about the quality of the coffee than the quality of the session! By integrating feedback collection with participation tracking – each attendee must leave a short reflection and rating when they scan a QR code or otherwise mark their attendance – Inkpath not only helps increase the quantity of responses but also improves quality by requiring the feedback to be provided in real-time, rather than retrospectively.

5. Help them take ownership

When researchers and students embark upon the next phase of their career their university professional development will be invaluable. But it can be a challenge for students, researchers and their institutions to keep or provide a detailed record of their achievements. All too often these records are nestled in a proprietary system or database, inaccessible to your alumni and difficult and time-consuming to mine if they ask you to provide a transcript of what they have done.

Inkpath’s lifelong record solves this problem for both sides. Rather than just depending on the institution to keep records on their behalf, Inkpath empowers users to take ownership of their professional development, keeping their own record they can take with them and share wherever they go.

Good professional development starts with taking ownership of one’s own professional history and trajectory. By using Inkpath you can incorporate this approach deeply into your institutional strategy and, like our many successful clients, help shape truly independent, professional people, ready and willing to go and fulfil their potential.

If you want a robust, dynamic platform that will engage your people, capture rich data, and promote a culture of individual ownership around personal and professional development, attend one of our open demos to find out more. 

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