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Questions & Answers with Dr Jane Robertson

At USB-ED a Learning Process Facilitator (LPF) plays the vital role of mediator, mentor and advisor to participants and groups. Please let us introduce you to Dr Jane Robertson, USB-ED LPF.

Tell us a little more about your professional experiences, particularly those not mentioned on your resume/application.

My passion for understanding how people learn and deal with the
challenges of a multi-cultural society in a complex world of work
has led me to focus on identifying solutions that address these
elements. I have designed blended learning approaches, combining
digital learning solutions together with face-to-face classroom time.
I have also planned several learning strategies in various industries
whilst simultaneously considering the impact of implementation
from the organisation and student/participants viewpoints to ensure
sustainable results.

How do you define good teaching?

Could we rather use the word facilitation in place of teaching?
Good facilitation is a sharing, partnering process rather than a
telling process. Good facilitation engages learners and relies on the
learners’ own experience to build on and change. A good facilitator
cares about learning and the people they work with. Furthermore, a
good facilitator understands trends in learning and development and
can design an interactive workshop that meets the needs of both
the organisation and participants. A good facilitator talks less and
rather listens and guides, as it is the participant’s learning experience
and not the facilitator’s. Learning is not a once-off event - lifelong
learning is a concept that I bring to all my sessions through “good”
facilitation.

What do you think are the most important attributes of a good
instructor?

Instruction involves knowledge and wisdom that is valuable when
there is unconscious and conscious incompetence.

Share your ideas about professional development

Professional development should be ongoing and is vital to ensure
that businesses are able to keep up with changes in the economy,
market developments and trends in the industry. It is also vitally
important for the facilitator to ensure that their own professional
development is ongoing.

How do you engage students?

Firstly, I believe participants must want to learn before they attend
a management development programme or coaching intervention.
However this is not always the case, so to ensure buy-in and rapport,
I always build reflection into my sessions whether I am acting in the
role of facilitator or Learning Process Facilitator (LPF), as I believe
that is where true learning takes place. In addition, learning should be
fun and engaging so I like to build relevant experiential exercises into
a workshop.

Why did you choose this profession/field?

My initial interest in teaching combined with a passion for the
complexity of the business world led me to the field of human
resource development. Being a consultant has provided me with a
wonderful platform to hopefully make a meaningful contribution in
the learning and development field. My work on a programme for
street children, while at University, helped me realise that learning
needs to be an integrated rather than a silo approach. Realising this
has helped me be creative in the ways I understand and implement
learning and development. In addition I am interested in understanding
complexity and have a desire to enable participants to navigate these
complexities, thus facilitating relevant and real time impact.

What have you learned during your engagements with
participants?

I often learn more from my students than they learn from me. I enjoy
hearing the narrative from the participants and that sharing has
taught me that any intervention in this field must be fluid. Very often
what I learn from participants provides the base for the learning
programme going forward. Overall I have learnt that our assumptions
need to be continually interrogated, our biases recognized and owned
and bringing humanity and connection into the classroom creates
psychological safety, which is critical for optimal learning.

What are one or two of your proudest professional
accomplishments?

Successfully running my own Training and Development Business for
20 years in sometimes challenging economic times is certainly one of
my proudest accomplishments. Achieving my PhD is most definitely
my proudest moment. My research was on the development of a
transformative business-driven action learning framework.

My favourite quotation is:

“Love like you have never been hurt. Work like it’s not for the money. Dance like no one is watching.”

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