Development activities are strategies to gain knowledge, skills, or abilities (KSAs). These are specific actions, relationships, tasks, or programs for employees. This document, IDP Developmental Activities Help, supports the Digital Individual Development Plan (IDP) Pilot sponsored by NER, NCR, and SER. These pages are internal links for the Digital IDP currently under development. Please check back periodically as we update these resources.
We often think of development only in terms of training. Managers and employees often mistakenly use training as a solution to performance gaps. There are many other, and often better, ways for people to learn and develop. Budgets are tight. Time is limited. People learn in different ways. Most learning is done informally. Therefore, you should not make your IDP entirely out of training.
Types of Development Activities
Please note: this is not an exhaustive list.
- Job Rotation: An employee temporarily moves into an existing position as a detail or temporary promotion. Assignments may be short or long term.
- Special Assignment (e.g. Collateral Duties or Committee/Task Force): An employee performs additional duties on a full-time or part-time basis. These temporary duties may be performed within the employee’s current program office or outside the organizational structure.
- Coaching: A process for setting goals and providing feedback on performance to an employee. The coach may be the employee’s supervisor or a co-worker with subject matter/area expertise. The process usually focuses on a specific task, competency, or project.
- Mentoring: A formal or informal relationship between senior and junior employees for the purpose of supporting learning and development. The mentor can assume the role of teacher, sponsor, counselor, guide, model, developer of skills and intellect, and supporter. A mentor typically holds a higher position in the NPS and is usually outside of the employee’s line of supervision.
- Learning Groups: A gathering of employees who meet to focus on their own learning and development in a particular interest area, such as information technology, public speaking, or career paths.
- Self-Development (Professional Reading, Participation in Professional Organizations, Volunteer Work, and Networking): Taking personal responsibility for one’s own learning and development through a process of assessment, reflection, and application.
- Shadowing Assignment: Observing another person perform tasks to acquire the needed learning.
- Training: An event designed to address a knowledge or skill deficit.
- Annual Individual Development Plan Guide – A reference book that explains the benefits of an IDP, the step-by-step process to create an IDP, and suggested types of activities that promote employee learning and development.
- Learning & Performance Ecosystem Definitions One-Pager – A single page description of different ways to support employee development in the national park system.
- How to Improve Performance: A flow chart for development and accountability – A diagram to help determine the cause of performance gaps and potential solutions.
- Examples of IDP Activities
- Digital IDP Development Activities Tutorial (Video)
- Digital Individual Development Plan Help Index, Resources, and Frequently Asked Questions