State Supervision Online (SSO) Alumni
“I am a big fan of eLearning,” says Phil Bornt, manager of the California Department of Technology’s Training & Education Center, and a graduate of the SSO pilot program. While he earned his technical writing certificate and attended project management and business analysis courses through CCE’s traditional classroom model, he admits that eLearning just works better for him. Like many Generation X employees working in the digital age, learning for Bornt is not necessarily a social activity.
“I don’t like being required to attend something on, say, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 7 and 9 a.m., and I don’t have to have people sitting around me to learn. In fact, I learn better when that’s not the case. I prefer to take training on my own terms, taking five minutes here, 20 minutes there. It’s the flexibility and pace of online learning that appeals to me.”
Bornt describes the SSO virtual learning environment, including discussion boards for student analysis and insights, self-paced learning modules and exams that can be taken repeatedly, and instructors who facilitate learning instead of spoon-feeding it, as going “above and beyond in helping me become better at what I do.” As a supervisor only three months into his position when he enrolled, he believes it cushioned the blow of early mistakes that most supervisors make. “It enabled me to cope with and get past the insecurities I might have faced,” he explains. Bornt admits he saved all his instructional materials, printed them and created his own binder to reference whenever he feels the need.
“My instructors, Rose McHenry and Mary Lawrence-Jones were fantastic,” he says. “They were both seasoned former state supervisors and knew precisely what it took to help me with my assignments. I still value the DISC assessment tool they introduced me to that helps me improve work productivity, identify stressors, create better teamwork and facilitate communication with different personality types. And since the SSO courses were in their infancy when I took them, my instructors also graciously accepted my feedback on how to make them even better.”
“Online learning may not be for everyone, but it’s perfect for someone like me,” says Bornt. “Power to the introvert! I am a huge proponent of SSO and think this is the direction in which state agencies need to go. Many, many supervisors going up the ranks are easily bored with traditional training models and more than likely prefer to learn in 20-minute snippets done at their own pace.”