I am completely aware that what I am doing for assessment in this training module is situation specific. In another workplace, tests and quizzes, might be appropriate. Likewise, a rubric similar to the example from Arizona, or even one more traditionally classroom shaped might be appropriate. The hard question is do I have the skills and the language to do that work too?
In response to Owen’s comment about the value of rubrics particularly for those performing at the lower end of the skill set, motivation and self-discipline. I understand in both the classroom and the workplace, since I have awarded failing grades and terminated employees. Additionally, I will be challenging my staff to do more with rubrics in relation to workplace performance. The obvious benefit is greater consistency in evaluation. However, an important and often understated benefit is getting unspoken expectations articulated. In a multi-generational, multi-cultural, and variable skill/experience workplace unspoken expectations are unfair and the cause of stress.
This segues into why I am emphasizing “learning logs” in this module. I am concurrently teaching the module on professional demeanor that I designed last semester. Using the forums as a “learning log” is working well in this situation. “Working well” means, employees are engaging with me and with each other and most of the feedback is gentle and cheerful. Admittedly some of the topical posting is answers that “I want to hear.” However, we have created a venue where we can have a conversation about the kind of workplace we want to create and inhabit and the student employees are part of that. Accordingly, their membership in the team is greater and their accountability is higher too. We evaluate their performance in the workplace. Sometimes that results in progressive discipline and ends in termination. Most frequently, it involves coaching for improvement and recognition of solid performances. Sometimes it results in encouragement to apply for supervisory openings.
We had some confusion and some resistance to participation in this training module from a handful of employees at the outset. I choose to handle it in the workplace and through the chain-of-command. I spoke with my library coordinators (the direct supervisors of the student staff). I asked about how they presented the training to these new hires? It was here that we encountered an ambiguity two had made very clear explanations of expectations; one had been vague and open-ended. That supervisor met in person with each employee and re-explained the expectations. She also encouraged them to talk with me directly. I have had three conversations. Time management has been a recurrent concern. One person expressed concern about discomfort with one of the assignments. I have learned several lessons: one is about cognitive load, second is about framing some flexibility into the assignments, third is about the students’ unfamiliarity with online learning environments. Two of my library coordinators were uncommitted, at the outset, to this form of training. This showed in their direct reports initial participation. However, as my staff has joined the conversation their misgivings have been allayed.
In this context approaching the conversation as “learning logs” is working. As I mentioned, I liked looking at the postings in terms of clarity, analysis, relevance, and self-reflection. However, I do not see the value of adding the matrix of low, medium and high quality at least in terms of individual postings in the online venue. I think each library coordinator is following along and is getting a sense of that for themselves and their direct reports. Training is one column in our employee evaluation and this adds information to that column, however, non-participation speaks more loudly, and will ultimately influence our decision to not rehire an employee.