What Is Personal Development Education?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Some employers actively promote personal development and encourage their staff members to seek education through seminars, workshops, and trainings.
Some employers actively promote personal development and encourage their staff members to seek education through seminars, workshops, and trainings.

Personal development education is coursework undertaken for self-improvement reasons, to improve quality of life or advance a career. In some professions, continuing education is expected and may be required to retain certifications. For others, people who engage in personal development may be viewed more favorably by employers and supervisors, as they demonstrate an interest in proactively developing their careers. People can also undertake such classes for purely personal pleasure; someone might, for example, want to take a computer skills course to learn how to use the Internet.

Some employers actively promote personal development and encourage their staff members to seek education through seminars, workshops, books, and trainings. They may bring opportunities directly to the workplace and can fund employees who want to pursue personal development education. This can provide benefits to the employer, as it may enhance employee loyalty and improve the quality of products and services. A hospital might hold an in-service training for nurses, for example, that contributes to their continuing education requirements and helps them develop professional skills.

The types of course offerings can vary. Some focus on professional skills like new techniques or methods. Others may surround personal behavior and interactions. Managers, for instance, can use personal development education to develop skills for communicating more clearly and effectively with their staff. Likewise, an employee who struggles to fit in to an office culture could take courses to develop interpersonal skills and learn more about different work environments.

While personal development education often furthers a career, it can also be beneficial for quality of life. Community education courses at colleges and universities, for example, provide options to develop musical skills, learn to garden, and engage in other activities. People may take such courses not because they want to develop careers, but because they are interested in new hobbies and want to make friends and connections. This kind of personal development education can be especially helpful for older adults and people with disabilities who may feel isolated and want to develop a social network.

Other forms of personal development education may be targeted at people who are preparing to reenter the workforce and want assistance with career development. These courses can catch people up on developments in their fields after time away, or may offer new career training to people who want to start fresh. Specialized courses can also provide assistance to people with disabilities who want to learn more about workplace accommodations or want to develop adaptive skills for career success.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

MrsWinslow

@jennythelib - Thanks for the suggestion! I love to keep learning and have taken a couple of extension classes at my community college, but right now I don't want to make a big time commitment.

I just looked at my library's website and saw that they're having, among other things, an Asian film festival, a meditation seminar, and a talk about Civil War movies. That's so cool! I do read, but I usually just order books from Amazon (and now I have a Kindle), so I hadn't been to my library in a while. I guess I've been missing out!

I've been under some stress lately, so I'm thinking the meditation seminar could be good for me.

jennythelib

A lot of people may not realize that your local public library is also a good place to find personal development classes - for free! The library I work at has a wide selection of classes for kids, teens, and adults.

Naturally, we do a lot of computer classes. We have one every few months that literally begins with "this is a mouse" and is popular with seniors, and then we have increasingly advanced classes. We do one on setting up e-mail and Facebook (also popular with seniors who want to connect with their grandkids) all the way up through some advanced stuff that I don't personally understand. (You can tell I don't teach those!)

Lately, job searching is also a popular topic. We've done workshops on resumes and cover letters that are just packed.

We also have special topic classes taught by either our own staff with a particular interest or by screened community volunteers. Last week, it was getting started knitting, and in a few weeks, we have a talk on living with arthritis.

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    • Some employers actively promote personal development and encourage their staff members to seek education through seminars, workshops, and trainings.
      By: Halfpoint
      Some employers actively promote personal development and encourage their staff members to seek education through seminars, workshops, and trainings.