Keeping Up Made Easy (or, Why You Need to Follow Elliott Masie)

Vince Cyboran is a professor in the graduate program in Training and Development of Roosevelt University.

Vince Cyboran is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of the graduate program in Training and Development of Roosevelt University.

As a hiring manager, one of the questions I always asked candidates was “How do you keep up in the field?”  There is no one right answer to this question, but there are many variations on wrong answers to the question.  Being in graduate school provides you with a ready-made answer: you are learning about foundational theories and models, as well as being exposed to current best practices.  But how will you respond after graduation?

Some fields, such as law and medicine, require that practitioners engage in continuing professional education.  Failure to do so has professional consequences. In Training and Development, the burden is placed on us. Each of us must define a Do-It-Yourself Professional Development  Plan (DIYPDP).

Rather than become overwhelmed by the deluge of e-mails in your inbox touting webinars, seminars, conferences, blogs, online magazines, product trials, LinkedIn groups, and so forth, I recommend the following five strategies for creating your DIYPDP.

1. Subscribe to one or two free trade magazines, such as Chief Learning Officer. Each month, scan their tables of contents. This will help you to know what the hot topics are in the field. Then, read one entire article, word-for-word.

2. Attend one professional development webinar a month. If you can, attend the live event, rather than watch the recording. It is much easier to focus when it’s live: you don’t have the option of fast forwarding.

3. Periodically investigate the sessions for an upcoming professional conference. Much like scanning a table of contents, it will keep you up to date on hot topics. It will also tell you who the current thought leaders are in the field.

4. Set a personal skills challenge for yourself, such as learning how to set up an online asynchronous course using a free application, such as CourseSites by Blackboard, or learning how to conduct an online, virtual session using the free version of AnyMeeting. Spend a short period of time each week working toward the goal. Once you accomplish your goal, consider updating your resume and portfolio.

masie-site5. Pay attention to Elliott Masie.  Masie knows everybody in the field.  His team works on everything and anything remotely related to learning and development, from fads to trends. Trust me on this one.


  • These are all great strategies that I can use immediately in my career. I really appreciate how helpful this article is and how the focus is on both managing time and continuing to gain knowledge.

  • These are great tips! It can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to keep up in this field, and you provide an easy-to-follow plan.

  • I really love this advice, Vince, because it’s very doable. Sometimes it feels overwhelming to think about trying to stay “on top” of everything in a field, and you can be bombarded with constant info about webinars, podcasts, articles to read, blogs to follow, books to read, etc. Setting smaller, more achievable goals for yourself ensures that you can actually sort through all that’s available. I especially like the reminder about updating your resume once you reach a goal! It’s easy to put off updating your resume, until you have to scramble to get it updated suddenly when you need it. Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Thank you for this great article! I love this idea of Do-It-Yourself Professional Development Plan (DIYPDP). I’ve emailed it to myself to for future reference. We all need to keep up and keep up to date on best practices and additional insight on the theories and models that help us in our careers and development plans.

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