161 Implementing Learning Paths to meet Professional Earth Systems Competencies in NOAA's National Weather Service

Monday, 11 January 2016
LeRoy Spayd Jr., NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD

The National Weather Service (NWS) has embarked on a competency based framework to outline the skills and abilities required for earth systems (weather, water and climate) forecasters. The competencies are structured to provide new forecasters with an outline of the job duties required to issue weather, water and climate forecasts. The NWS refers to these competencies as the Professional Development Series (PDS). In 2015 DOC/NOAA implemented a new Learning Management System (LMS). This LMS facilitates development of learning paths through the competencies.

The PDS is a concept adopted by the NWS to provide a framework for its training program. Each PDS corresponds to a specific job responsibility. The PDS describes and defines competent performance for that job responsibility and helps NWS personnel to focus on what they should be able to do. The PDS document combines both scientific and technical understanding with professional skills and techniques. Each PDS series is based on developing a performance capability to support user products and services.

Each PDS is composed of a series of Professional Competency Units (PCUs) which describe specific job duties. The PCU document has several components: Description of the job duty competency to be achieved Description of need for the job duty Specific job duty skills and knowledge Instruction components Evaluation measures

The basic idea behind the PDS concept is that individuals with a specific job responsibility (PDS) can, for each associated job duty (PCU), easily find training resources (instructional components or ICs) to help bring his/her performance of that job duty up to a sufficient level. Each IC can vary from classroom courses to virtual courses, combining both synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods.

PDSs have been developed for the following Earth Systems competencies: Weather (Aviation, Fire, Marine, Severe Convection, Tropical, Winter), Water (Hydrology) and Climate. This paper also addresses future training competencies (Emergency Response Specialist) as the NWS moves forward in implementing NOAA's Strategic Plan to make this country Weather Ready.

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