Sort your training needs

Nobody knows everything. We always need training or updating our skills. Sometimes we want to learn something new as a hobby or challenge, or need to acquire new skills in order to get a job.

Earlier in the month you created your schedule for the next year. You may not have thought about training or skills during that exercise, so today’s the time to do that.

You may already know what training you need, in which case you can spend today searching for courses (on or offline) to apply for. If you work for a university or other organisation check if they already offer the training you require.

Not completely sure what training you need? Consider the training you:

  • have to do (for example workplace equality training).
  • need to do (e.g. to learn a new skill or maintain professional registration).
  • want to do (this might be something that would be useful but isn’t required for your job, at least not right now).

The range of training courses now available to students and researchers is vast, but here’s a summary of the more popular topic areas people opt for:

To identify specific training needs you could record yourself thinking aloud; or sketch out or list areas where you feel you need support. For example, you might have lots of data so note you need training in a particular analysis package plus how to present your findings once you have them. Or you may discover while you’ve been focused on writing a paper for publication you are less sure how to use social media to share your findings and would like to learn that; but along the way discover you could take a comedy course for presenters to help make your work more engaging and increase your confidence.

If you found this difficult
It may be you have numerous, interlinking, study needs. If that’s the case you may have to take whatever course is open to you depending on availability; but you might want to schedule your learning so what you study fits with your research timeline with each new skill you learn enhancing the next.

Alternatively you may be on a low income and worry you can’t afford training. There are lots of free courses available online, or how-to videos on YouTube. Many publishers in particular have these so check out their websites. Podcasts can also be a valuable source of information, and some events offer discounted or free places or bursaries. As you seek out training make time to search for assisted places.

If you have done any training in the past that you found invaluable, tell us what you learned (and where) in the comments. Low cost and study at home options especially welcome. You can also recommend training topics on the hashtag #ResearcherRenew over on Twitter or Instagram.

As with the other tasks in #ResearcherRenew there’s no pressure, so don’t feel you must fill your year with lots of training. Instead work out what you definitely need to do, and then schedule that into your year. Remember to include time spent identifying training courses (on or offline), training events themselves, travel, and preparation/assessment/homework. And keep this going from now on, that way you keep your skills updated. Plus if you spot some training you don’t need but someone else might benefit from you can always pass it on.

Happy learning!

* woo hoo! The asterisks show training I run. Drop me a line if you want me to come and sort out your research and get you feeling better in the process.

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