Presentation Skills

My ACTA Journey

12 July 2019 –

CHICAGO! That is the code word for any Learner who has successfully achieved COMPETENCY which is what most of us would call a “Pass” for the Advance Certificate for Training and Assessment (ACTA). (For those that need to know, the alternate scenario is Not Yet Competent… … )

Yes, it has been quite a journey for me since the day I had decided to sign up for ACTA. As an already practicing trainer, I admit that I had pre-conceived notions and much reservations of what to expect. How is this course going to help me? Am I re-learning what I already know? As it turns out, like all new experiences, it was definitiely an eye-opener and – in every sense of the word – a learning experience to remember !

The entire ACTA course and assessment covers 6 modules over 102 hours of lessons and spanning 4 months. Although 102 hours over a 4-month period do not seem much, this does not include the time spent on preparing deliverable and group work. In addition, this is my first experience attending a prolong course as an Adult Learner. With it, comes challenges with schedule management and simply getting used to classroom learning after an absence of 25 years. In the weeks that followed, I became one of the classic example of a typical Adult Learner that ACTA is preparing us to train!

For starters, I had to do quite a fair bit of “un-learning”. As the saying goes, you cannot fill a bucket that is already full. Throughout the course, I constantly get to clear out cobwebs in my mind. It is not everyday that you get to spring clean your thoughts in your mind. I had to learn the theory behind the science and art of training which helped put my real-world life experiences into perspective and reorganize them into a more holistic mental model

Group work is the other highlight of this ACTA course. I had the pleasure to work with a group of awesome course mates. Given the diverse backgrounds and industries that we come from, each participant brought with them different yet rich life experiences. This diversity really opened up my mind and take on different perspectives. As Confucius says: ????????? which vaguely means “we will always learn something when we are in the company of others”. Coming from a relatively niche part of the financial industry, this interaction with my group mates from different industries serves as a good opportunity to reflect on how silo-ed one is after years working on the trading floor. Like the Chinese saying, ??????????? – nothing beats learning from people as compared to reading from books and market reports.

And then, there are my 2 trainers. Which cannot be more different in their styles and approaches. I have re-learnt that there are indeed many ways to skin the cat. Observing my trainers in action became a learning experience itself. Scenes of Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Inceptions”-like scenarios keep repeating themselves during the course as we had role-plays on how to do role-plays and I even made a presentation on “how to make a good presentation” (within a course that teaches good presentation skills!).

So now, I am proud and happy to say that I too, have joined the many that have been graded Chicago. I would like thank my trainers Darren Tjia and Wendy Wan for their time and patience as well as my classmates for their support and camaraderie that have made this a memorable experience. Something to share as I continue on my new journey as a trainer and consultant.

Never stop learning.

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