Learning to Work in Administration

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Currently, I am working in an administrative role within a typical office setting. My job revolves around regulating and providing administrative support for homeless shelters. My role requires the knowledge of administrative and office procedures and practices, as well as the ability to work independently and communicate effectively. On the job, I work with documentation that homeless shelters submit to us for our approval. I also travel quite a lot because my organization needs to do inspections of the shelters. In this paper, I outline the key aspects that my mentees (potential candidates and co-op students) would have to learn to be successful in administrative roles.

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Learning Aspects and Prerequisites

Anyone who would want to work in a role and a setting similar to mine would have to have a balanced profile of hard and soft skills. As mentioned before, a potential candidate would have to be familiar with office procedures as well as be a confident user of office software such as CorrFlow, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook. Working in administration typically requires effective writing techniques and good oral communication skills. As for personal and interpersonal skills, being able to plan, organize, coordinate work assignments, and be a team player is a must.

Specific to my current position, a potential candidate would have to get a good grasp of our digital database of homeless shelters that we keep on our office computers. The databases include all the relevant information regarding shelters, which is why it is imperative that a trainee learns to use them correctly. Working with homeless shelters also requires at least some passion for social justice and interest in how the social welfare system functions. Administrative roles can be quite exhausting, and for this reason, potential candidates need to have quite a strong “why” to build up mental and emotional resilience.

Strategies for Introducing New Information and Ensuring Successful Learning

Introducing new information should be short of formal presentations when the lecturer is the focal point of attention. Surely, mentees can listen closely and follow the narration, but such a method of presentation will not engage them fully. The mentor needs to interact with the audience: ask them questions, take an interest in their opinion, and encourage feedback. Apart from interactive lectures, another plausible idea would be to introduce new material through a variety of media. Mentees might benefit from learning new facts from texts, pictures, videos, and even actual artifacts such as copies of documents.

A concept that could be useful for ensuring that successful learning is taking place is self-efficacy. Originally proposed by Albert Bandura, the concept of self-efficacy refers to an individual’s personal judgment regarding their own ability to execute what is asked of them (Honicke & Broadbent, 2016). While learning objective information about a role and developing hard skills do matter, self-efficacy is what makes an individual act with confidence and apply the acquired knowledge without hesitation.

Encoding, Memorizing and Reinforcing Learning the New Information

One way to go about the successful encoding of the new information is to apply the so-called problem-based teaching method. Problem-based learning operates on the premise that students process information better if they are offered complex real-world problems for resolving which they need to apply what they have just learned (Savery, 2015). Problems are the vehicle to promote student-centered learning of rules, frameworks, and principles as opposed to the traditional direct presentation of facts and concepts (Savery, 2015). Problem-based learning helps learners to develop their critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities.

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Apart from becoming more autonomous in handling information, students that are taught using the problem-based method have the opportunity to develop their communication skills as well. Problem-based learning is a good way to help students to learn the ropes of working in administration. Administrative jobs are largely about problem-solving, and it is imperative that those working in this field are quick-minded, have great problem-solving skills, and can collaborate in teams.

The problem of committing new information to their long-term memory has multiple solutions. Akman and Alagöz (2018) claim that mere memorization does not matter as much as a person’s ability to make sense of what they have just learned. Akman and Alagöz (2018) state that active class participation actually improves a person’s chances of remembering new information. Contributing to discussions takes active processing of new facts, which is why they do not immediately become passive knowledge.

Post-training reinforcement might also make a lot of sense as it would ensure that mentees have retained the new information. Human memory pursues maximum efficiency, which is why it discards everything that it does not actively use. Research suggests that trainees forget approximately 50% of training within just one hour after they are done (Redick et al., 2015). Within the next day, they forget 70%, and within one month, 90% (Redick et al., 2015). These facts do not paint an optimistic picture: it almost seems like the majority of training courses are not efficient at all.

Despite the tricky nature of human memory, there are still ways to harness it. Redick et al. (2015) discovered that the participants who had been tested several times following training were remembering what they have learned better than their counterparts that have never undergone testing. Therefore, post-training reinforcement needs to revolve around the practical application of knowledge as well as taking occasional ungraded tests to check one’s aptitude to memorize the new information.

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More Details About the Training Activity

Striking a balance between content and running length can be quite challenging. On the one hand, work training needs to be content-rich to be time- and cost-efficient. Ideally, each session would have to cover a big topic or one work aspect. On the other hand, mentees’ attention span is limited: past a certain point, they might start losing concentration, which would render the training session inefficient. Research evidence regarding the ideal length of training is conflicted: some studies suggest that longer classes are favorable, while others indicate that it is better to keep them short (Lindsey, King, Hebl & Levine, 2015). The consensus is that passively perceiving information for extended periods of time is exhausting (Lindsey et al., 2015). Longer sessions need to be diverse and encompass a wide range of activities. Therefore, for this training program, the preferred length would be two-three hours, including different elements.

Evaluating the success of the training activity would be based on two metrics: participants’ objective knowledge and confidence. Checking whether participants have retained the new information is relatively easy: it could be done through a series of tests. The level of confidence, on the other hand, is more difficult to pinpoint. It can be observed through how a mentee goes about work tasks and whether they act with confidence. Another way to do it in a follow-up after the training is in a personal conversation.


Akman, Ö., & Alagöz, B. (2018). Relation between Metacognitive Awareness and Participation to Class Discussion of University Students. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 6(1), 11-24.

Honicke, T., & Broadbent, J. (2016). The influence of academic self-efficacy on academic performance: A systematic review. Educational Research Review, 17, 63-84.

Lindsey, A., King, E., Hebl, M., & Levine, N. (2015). The impact of method, motivation, and empathy on diversity training effectiveness. Journal of Business and Psychology, 30(3), 605-617.

Redick, T. S., Shipstead, Z., Wiemers, E. A., Melby-Lervåg, M., & Hulme, C. (2015). What’s working in working memory training? An educational perspective. Educational Psychology Review, 27(4), 617-633.

Savery, J. R. (2015). Overview of problem-based learning: Definitions and distinctions. Essential readings in problem-based learning: Exploring and extending the legacy of Howard S. Barrows, 9, 5-15.

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1. ChalkyPapers. "Learning to Work in Administration." January 31, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/learning-to-work-in-administration/.


ChalkyPapers. "Learning to Work in Administration." January 31, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/learning-to-work-in-administration/.