Learning Communities Essay
Concorde Career Institute Orlando has been an educational institution for over 25 years. This organization provides fast-track, health-related programs in various fields. As with any educational institution, proprietary or not, there are many employees-all part of many different departments. Concorde Orlando has developed of a learning community to some extent, but the findings presented in Assignment Two support a need for further development in many areas. Concorde has committed itself to providing online and in-person training in order to continue to connect members of its current learning community.
This training usually covers a variety of different objectives and the training is usually provided by outside companies. By utilizing outside agencies to provide training materials, the needs of the organization and its employees are not being evaluated nor met. A more personalized training, tailored to specific and immediate needs is a must. Stronger leadership and a more cohesive working milieu are also imperative. Concorde’s major concerns should be focused upon its communication and teamwork approach but, there are many more areas of that require attention. A cohesive, functional learning environment takes dedication and time.
Once those areas are better executed, it can begin to build upon the foundation it has begun to lay. Concorde Career Institution, as a corporation, makes statements that it supports a mature learning environment. The mission statement seems to promote an idealistic working atmosphere that fosters independent thinking, creativity, and a teamwork approach to education. Reality has proven to be different. A motivated and strong team leader should be put into place-one that can appreciate the benefits of a well-built and maturely developed learning community. Concorde Orlando provides a yearly employee evaluation.
This valuation is meant to appraise employee performance, acknowledge strengths and identify weaknesses. The employee evaluates himself, and then subsequently, so does his/her immediate supervisor. Depending on the evaluation’s results, it may produce an action plan. This action plan recognizes areas that need to be improved on, provides a strategy by which to improve them and a date in which a reevaluation should take place. Concorde does not necessarily discuss findings in employee performance evaluations with the employees; therefore organizational expectations are not known. This causes confusion and ambiguity.
Many organizations have begun to favor consultants when evaluating employee performance. This can assure independent and neutral employee performance feedback. There is research that supports consulting as a strategy for improving teachers’ implementation of classroom interventions. ” Results have supported that internal consultants are able to assess and briefly increase teachers’ treatment integrity with performance feedback” (Sanetti, et. al, 2013). There is a call, however, for organizations to realize that being proactive instead of reactive is a more logical approach when it comes to employee performance.
According to a 2012 Global Workforce Study,” a survey of 32,000 employees across 30 countries, calls for employers to focus on engagement. The report defines such engagement as the intensity of employees’ connection to their organization based on three factors: the extent of their discretionary effort committed to achieving work goals, an environment that supports productivity in multiple ways, and a work experience that promotes well-being” (T&D, 2013). This of course will improve overall employee performance and benefits the organization as a whole.
The “group think” theory suggests that people from similar areas of work and backgrounds have ideas that are familiar are accepted without examination, while those that are unfamiliar are rejected without open consideration (Martin, 2006). Groups affected by group think do not tolerate opinions that do not coincide with their own. A learning community can be especially susceptible to group think when its community members are similar in background, shielded from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.
At Concorde, group thinking does not habitually exist. Concorde does consider the input of the community, holding biannual meetings in which area affiliates give their input on school progress, its students and offers suggestions for change. This organization seems to value the input and opinions of others. Community members can feel included when they participate in creating the future direction of their learning community. They will make better decisions when they respect social, environmental and economic needs.
When a shared vision is used to devise goals that guide local leadership, the community is well on its way to creating a better, sustainable place for the community (Grunkemeyer and Moss, 2010). Shared visions are an important characteristic of any successful learning community. Concorde Orlando is no exception to this fact. This organization has a clear set of goals to accomplish, and department leaders do communicate these company visions with employees. There does not seem to be a comprehensible plan in place, however, as to how to achieve them.
Often times, multiple meetings are held in order to impart the company vision community members. Because we live in a world that is constantly changing and moving, organizations are challenged with conditions that seem to change at the speed of light. Often times, initiatives are poorly planned and executed. These errors can cause crippling effects within an organization. More and more, organizations have come to depend on teamwork. According to Ofoegbu, O. , et. l (2012) “Teamwork may be an appropriate managerial approach to reducing politics by increasing employees’ understanding and control, particularly in organizations whose strategic objectives call for employees to work in teams. ” Most modern organizations have realized the value and benefits of teamwork and Concorde Orlando is no exception. Most projects are completed by teams. Most issues are resolved through the input of various community members. Many community outreach activities are also organized and carried out by teams.
With enrollments being the number one company goal, Concorde Orlando heavily relies on teamwork in order to achieve this. Unfortunately, inappropriate team leaders are often chosen, resulting in poorly executed plans. This can cause major project delays and “do-over’s”. Dennis J. Elrod (2012), states that “Great leaders are always learning, whether it’s from those above them in the hierarchy, their peers, or those they lead. They also don’t let opportunities to improve pass them by, so it pays to always be on the lookout for things that may improve your leadership style. There are many different types of leaders and many different types of leadership styles.
Leaders not only concern themselves with the organizational goals, but also about the people who are involved in the process. Autocratic and hierarchical models of leadership dominated many businesses and organizations for years. The workplace environment changes from generation to generation. Today, community members are no longer content to go to work in complete obscurity. Employees want to feel significant, stimulated and challenged. Being an effective leader builds a sense of belonging within its learning community.
Effective leaders not only increase employee retention, but also improve employee efficiency. Employees are more willing to follow efficient leaders than non-effective individuals. Choosing the right leader is the difference between success and failure. A great team leader needs to understand the organization’s goals and be able to understand what drivers are needed in order to motivate the team members. It is the leader’s job to ensure that great ideas are smartly implemented. The team leader must be able to sell his vision, the organization’s goals and the rewards reaped from the fruits of their labor.
He must be able determine which team member could execute what parts of the project, resolve conflicts, and encourage each team member’s creativity and input. Concorde Orlando has a long standing history of ineffective leadership and a very high turn-over rate. During the last year, there have been several personnel changes in the Campus President, Academic Dean and program director positions. This instability and low employee retention ratio in its leadership roles have compromised Concorde Orlando’s credibility with the student body, its employees and the community.
Concorde Career Institute has not been a pioneer in the field of communication. Issues are slow to be resolved, meetings are full of redundant material and there is a general fear of communicating with administrators for fear of retaliation. Great communication starts with listening and observing, and this organization has not trained its leaders to do that. Training is requisite in order to learn how to effectively communicate with others in a work environment. Currently, there is no communication training available at Concorde. The same communication methods that have been in place for years are still practiced today.
Reevaluation of these methods is needed in order to have more successful communication within its learning community. Internet access provides opportunities for classrooms throughout the world to communicate and collaborate in real time. In the same way, members of the learning community can experience these open new ways of thinking. “A compendium of organizations and businesses is dedicated to encouraging an emphasis on skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, computer and technology skills, communication, and self-direction skills in US schools and schools worldwide.
The educational challenges of the 21st century open up possibilities that, until now, have been beyond imagination” (Roth, 2010). Concorde does utilize different methods of training its employees in order to maximize learning potential. What seems to have been most successful within this learning community is peer leadership. “Peer leadership contributes to the success of collaborative group learning” (Popejoy and Asala, 2013). Group learning allows all members to be actively involved. When community members are involved in learning processes with their peers, they are more likely to feel comfortable.
Concorde Orlando supports and encourages all types of learning models, therefore increases the chance of successful outcomes. Concorde Career Institute-Orlando could be classified as being well on its way to developing a mature learning community. Though this learning community is fraught with quite a few weaknesses, it also has an impressive set of strengths. As long as someone has the initiative and fortitude to move this community forward, Concorde Orlando can prove to be a great success.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 21 November 2016
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