Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Training comes in many guises

Training helps to realise your potential.

The award of a PhD degree recognises your successful training to be an independent researcher. 
Therefore, it's not surprising that PhD research involves a lot of training and learning! Some of the usual training needs include project management, time management, statistics, research methods, reference management software, oral presentations, poster presentations, career development and many others. 

So when was the last time you had some training?

Unfortunately, some PhD students do not receive as many training courses as they expect. However, we often have more opportunities for training than we think. Training is not just something that happens when someone from somewhere else turns up and gives a course. 

A lot of training happens without courses. A few examples should make it clear how training and learning occur in many different forms: 
- attendance at departmental seminars
- discussions with your supervisor about research methods, ethics, publication practices etc.
- reading books about a specific topic
- learning by doing (even if it means making mistakes at first)
- receiving instruction on equipment or methods from a technician
- reading online material about a specific topic (this is how I first learned to create a blog)
- discussions with other researchers about your work or related research
- journal clubs
- receiving advice from other students about software packages
- presenting your work as a poster or seminar, and receiving feedback.

This variety of forms of training doesn't mean that courses are not important. But if you can't get to as many courses as you would like, there's still plenty of training that's available. 

PhD Skill: identify your training needs, some of which may require courses. Be aware of the training that you are receiving, in all its forms, and how it contributes to your professional development.  

photo credit: kevinpoh via photopin cc

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