5 things to bear in mind when choosing your learning provider

You’re looking for a learning program. Here are 5 things to consider before making the choice.

1. Does the program support you to meet your goals?

Consider your key personal learning goals. Are they academic, professional or both?

For example:

Academic: Do you want to gain an academic, qualification or are you looking to learn more about specific topics in Australian tax law?

Professional: Is your learning goal around advancing your career or being recognised in your profession with a designation or status? Do you want to build your network by learning with fellow professionals? Do you want to learn from experts in your field? Do you want to develop skills beyond technical elements of the tax law e.g. improving your tax research, advisory communication and business writing skills?

2. What knowledge and skills are you looking to develop?

Success in a professional career these days, requires significant subject matter knowledge But this expertise needs to be complemented by effectiveness in building relationships through communication, providing effective and value-adding advice, and keeping abreast of developments in your field.

Learning happens formally, perhaps through achievement of qualifications and certifications, and informally through hands-on, real-life experiences and from others you interact with throughout your career.

The importance of gaining demonstrable skills is growing, especially if you are seeking financial funding from your employer to pay for your development.

What knowledge and skills will you develop by following your chosen program, in addition to any qualification or designation? Are the learning resources e.g. examples and case studies, used in the program, reflective of real-life situations? What are the relevant skills you can expect to possess on completion of the program? 

This is all information your learning provider can share with you to demonstrate the quality of the program content and the value to you of completing it, and the value you can then add to your employer or your own business. 

For example, the programs at The Tax Institute develop your up-to-date, tax technical knowledge of course, however they also provide you with the opportunity to develop skills beyond technical elements of the tax law e.g. by improving your tax research capabilities, your ability to provide valuable advice to clients through effective communication and your business writing skills.

The programs at The Tax Institute are developed and delivered by tax experts in their fields and tax law academics. This ensures academic integrity as well as a practical focus relevant for your work in the profession.

3. How much support can you get from your program provider?

Programs are increasingly moving online to allow for ‘access on the go’ and ‘just-in-time’ learning which trends show learners are demanding. But this can also mean less contact hours as you learn.

What sort of learning experience do you want? Are you comfortable with an online environment for your learning? Do you prefer to learn in a physical face-to-face situation? Or do you need other options?

Ask yourself how much of your learning experience you want to self-manage? And what support are you likely to need from the program provider?

Be sure to find out what additional services the program provider offers which accommodate your particular needs.  Do you have individual circumstances that your provider should know about and support you with? What happens if you have a question or don’t understand something?

Where do you find that support? Is there a single contact point for you for administrative support that is separate from the contact for queries about the program content? Can you find support from your fellow learners in an online forum?

Does the learning provider have definite policies around supporting you through your learning, dealing with unexpected circumstances or making sure you have the same chance of success as any other learner in the program? The Tax Institute has established Candidate support and Candidate Care policies and various mechanisms to accommodate individual circumstances to ensure learners have access to the support they need for success.

4. Program structure – does it fit with you?

How do you like to work through your learning program? Do you need lots of structure and reminders of deadlines? Or do you prefer more flexibility and self-management of deadlines? Can you work with either?

 Renew your membershipYou probably have multiple priorities to juggle. Does the program provider enable you to access the content in ways that allows you to learn as you want to, while still providing a sense of overall structure and progression? At The Tax Institute we have seen candidates increasingly making use of our online learning environment with materials accessible on their devices at a time and a place that suits them.

Some programs are very organised and ‘hands-on’ with regular reminders to keep you on track. Others leave more of the planning to you. It’s important to know from the outset that the program you’re enrolling in  can accommodate your preferences.

Research the program options for delivery modes and understand how flexible you can be with deadlines and schedules. While there are necessary deadlines for learning at The Tax Institute, the programs we offer are capable of being undertaken in a way that puts you in the driving seat, with the ability to note the reminders if you need to.

5. Are there other benefits or resources to help you?

Your learning provider should support you to gain the edge and stay up to date with the changing tax environment.

Learning through a professional membership organisation, such as The Tax Institute, is likely to give access to many additional resources and benefits of membership.

At The Tax Institute these include:

·             Monthly digital journal - Taxation in Australia
·             Weekly TaxVine email & fortnightly ‘Insiders’ email
·             Monthly Tax Update webinars (for voting members)
·             Access to the Young Practitioners Mentoring Program
·             Monthly technical papers
·             Member rates on other development events (over 300 professional development events nationally), products and subscriptions

Take time to consider the value such additional resources could add to the outcomes you will achieve from participating in the program, the meeting of the learning goals you have and the progression of your career.


Popular posts from this blog

Div 7A: Issues when dealing with loans and unpaid present entitlements

The biggest changes in estate planning in a generation

What happened in tax in October