Outside the Comfort Zone
In my last post, I answered a question about on-demand learning. I recently had a need for some on-demand learning outside of work myself. An online community that I belong to decided to put together a magazine. The call went out for writers, artists and photographers to submit their work and for copyeditors to help put the magazine together.
With no works to submit, but still wanting to contribute, I signed up to be a volunteer copyeditor. I am a good writer and editor, and I figured it would be an easy way to be a part of this interesting idea. A few weeks later, I received an email for the magazine’s volunteer editor talking about “slugs,” “AP format” and “running wicked fat on copy.” As I read that email, it dawned on me that I had no idea what a copyeditor actually does.
I had identified an on-demand learning need. I did not want to seem dumb to the editor by asking basic questions, so I starting googling keywords (copyeditor, Associated Press format) to get information. I learned that a copyeditor does pretty much what you would guess – edit articles for tone, style, length and format. I sort of knew that, but in the moment of performance, some doubt crept in and I needed support to feel confident in what I was supposed to do.
This approach worked well for me in that situation. But in an organization, letting your staff rely on Google for performance support is risky. One of the most important roles of the learning professional today is making sure that employees can access that support easily when needed. Fortunately, there are so many tools that make this easy (or at least possible). My organization uses SharePoint and several web-based resources for performance support.
My volunteer copyediting gig has gone well. The third issue of MeFi Magazine is currently in production.