Weekend Poll Results: Where Assistants Turn for Development

With thanks to all who participated, here are your responses to my question … What resources do you tap into for professional development?

53% of you dedicate time each week to self-directed PD  

… also known as professional development. But what types of self-directed PD do readers undertake?


A digital age for self-directed learning 

LinkedIn appears to be the top resource for self-directed learning, as 92% of respondents rely on it to access articles.

Podcasts: 41% of respondents reported listening to podcasts as a form of professional development. Another 26% said that they haven’t done so to this point, but may start doing so. If you’re interested in podcasts as a form of learning, you can check out my new Podcasts page.

Admin. websites are also popular. Almost a third of you turn to three of them on a fairly regular basis, and 23% of you frequent two websites for development. Some rely on four or five such websites, and you’ll see full details in the Data below.

TED Talks and YouTube also draw assistants wanting to learn – in fact, 55% of respondents reported that they turn to TED Talks and the same percentage reported turning to YouTube.


Good, Old Fashioned Books

77% of respondents turn to books for professional development, but perhaps it’s wrong of me to refer to books as old fashioned. Consider that just over half these people (51%) turn to both hard copy and ebooks. 41% of the group prefer hard copy books, while 8% prefer ebooks.


Social forms of professional development

Facebook: 70% of respondents belong to one or more Facebook groups with an administrative focus. In fact, 60% of you belong to three or more such groups.

Conferences are a developmental resource for 59% of respondents. While 36% of you reported that you won’t attend any conferences this year (and some advised that finances are a factor), another 36% anticipated attending two or more.

Internal networks are impractical for some of you, who reported that there are no such bodies in your workplaces. In some cases, that’s reflective of being part of a small admin. group. More than half of the respondents to this poll, however, do belong to an internal network.

External professional associations and networks: It’s unsurprising to learn that 58% of you are actively engaged in PD through your networks and professional associations. While 42% of respondents belong to just one such association, 57% of respondents belong to two or three. How so? Well, 74% of you reported belonging to sector- or industry-specific networks. 71% of you also reported that you belong to a local or regional network, while 51% are members of a national network and 59% are members of an international association or network.


Where to turn?

One reader commented that s/he feels a little lost when it comes to finding TED Talks, professional associations and articles for PD purposes.

You can of course subscribe here and receive notifications of new articles and posts. In addition, an online search will identify multiple options: TED Talks and LinkedIn groups are there for the choosing, and many professional networks and associations are active on social media. Do a bit of searching to reflect your interests and sector. One of the great things about this digital age is that geographic boundaries tend to melt away when it comes to online learning.

Interested in the full data? You’ll find it below.


Do you dedicate time within your work week to self-directed PD?

  • Yes: 53% of respondents
  • No: 20% of respondents
  • Not to this point, but I may start doing so: 19% of respondents
  • 8% of respondents selected “Other”.  Readers offered comments as follows.
    • varies depending on the time of year
    • Sometimes
    • I do not dedicate time, but I read articles and attend webinars.
    • I try to, but it often slips
    • (I) need to be more focused to do more


Do you read books as a form of PD?

  • Yes: 77% of respondents, including one reader who mentioned reading books and online articles
  • No: 11.5% of respondents
  • Not to this point, but I may start doing so: 11.5% of respondents


 If you read books as a form of PD, which do you prefer?

  • I read both: 51% of respondents
  • Hard copy: 41% of respondents
  • Ebooks: 8% of respondents


Do you listen to podcasts as a form of PD?

  • Yes: 41% of respondents
  • No: 30% of respondents
  • Not to this point, but I may start doing so: 26% of respondents
  • 3% of respondents selected “Other”. Readers offered comments as follows.
    • I would but often they are at a time of day that it’s not possible for me to do so
    • Actually never thought of this one before


 Do you read LinkedIn articles as a form of PD?

  • Yes: 92% of respondents
  • Not to this point, but I may start doing so: 5% of respondents
  • No: 3% of respondents


How many admin.-related websites do you read on a fairly regular basis?

  • 3 websites: 30% of respondents
  • 2 websites: 23% of respondents
  • 4 websites: 17% of respondents
  • 5 websites: 12% of respondents
  • 1 website: 6% of respondents
  • 10 websites: 7% of respondents
  • 6 websites: 3% of respondents
  • 0 websites: 2% of respondents


Do you belong to or follow any Facebook admin. PD-related groups?

  • Yes: 70% of respondents
  • No: 23% of respondents
  • Not to this point, but I may begin doing so: 7% of respondents


If you belong to any Facebook admin.-related groups, please tell us how many.

  • 3 groups: 28% of respondents
  • 2 groups: 21% of respondents
  • 1 group: 19% of respondents
  • 5 groups: 14% of respondents
  • 4 groups: 12% of respondents
  • 6 groups: 2% of respondents
  • 8 groups: 2% of respondents
  • 11-15 groups: 2% of respondents


Do you watch TED Talks as a form of PD?

  • Yes: 55% of respondents
  • No: 22% of respondents
  • Not to this point, but I may start doing so: 22% of respondents
  • 1% of respondents selected “Other” and wrote, “Sometimes”


 Do you watch admin.-focused YouTube presentations as a form of PD?

  • Yes: 55% of respondents
  • No: 23% of respondents
  • Not to this point, but I may do so: 20% of respondents
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”. One person wrote, “Sometimes”.


Have you (or will you) participate in a conference this year as part of your professional development?

  • Yes: 59% of respondents
  • No: 34% of respondents
  • 7% of respondents selected “Other”. People commented as follows.
    • Conferences are tough, they take time out of work and are often expensive
    • Maybe
    • Not yet determined
    • Would love to, but can’t afford to


How many conferences do you anticipate attending this year?

  • 0 conferences: 36% of respondents
  • 1 conference: 28% of respondents
  • 2 conferences: 24%  of respondents
  • 3 conferences: 7% of respondents
  • 4 conferences: 2% of respondents
  • 5 conferences: 1.5% of respondents
  • 6 conferences: 1.5% of respondents


Do you participate in an internal network at your workplace?

  • No: 53% of respondents
  • Yes: 38% of respondents
  • 9% of respondents selected “Other”. All comments reflect that there are no internal networks within these respective readers’ places of employment. Some of these respondents noted that there are too few assistants in their offices to have such networks.


Are you an active member of any external professional associations or networks?

  • Yes: 58% of respondents
  • No: 40% of respondents
  • 2% of respondents selected “Other”.  One person wrote, “Not active yet, but I’m a member”.


To how many external professional associations/networks do you belong?

  • 1 association/network: 42% of respondents
  • 2 associations/networks: 33% of respondents
  • 3 associations/networks: 25% of respondents


Do you belong to any specific sector- or industry specific networks?

  • No: 74% of respondents
  • Yes: 26% of respondents


Do you belong to a city or regional professional association or network?

  • No: 71% of respondents
  • Yes: 29% of respondents


 Do you belong to a national professional association or network?

  • Yes: 51% of respondents
  • No: 49% of respondents


 Do you belong to an international professional association or network?

  • No: 59% of respondents
  • Yes: 41% of respondents

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