The Benefits of Facilitating Self-Directed Learning in Your Organisation
In today’s world, having a skill that you perfect and refine over many years is no longer enough. Technologies and society change too fast for this model to be effective. As a result, lifelong learning is crucial for success. Just like a business that doesn’t continuously evolve, people who don’t continuously develop new skills risk being left behind.
While ongoing skills development is important, companies can only go so far with formalised training. The process has to be two-way, with employees taking a substantial share of the responsibility for their own development.
This doesn’t absolve companies of their responsibilities for developing their teams. After all, continuously developing the skills of employees is as much of a benefit to companies as it is to the employees themselves. The best approach is one of partnership, where both the employer and the employees play their roles.
As an employer, this includes providing formalised training to employees on the most important topic areas – the mission-critical topics.
You should also facilitate self-directed learning, empowering learners and giving them the tools they need to constantly acquire new skills. This empowering of learners should include providing training, including e-learning courses, that learners can complete if and when they want to.
In addition to facilitating self-directed learning, it is also important to create a learning culture. Having a passion for innovation as part of your culture can also help.
What are the benefits of facilitating self-directed learning for your employees? Here are the most important.
Better Equipped for the Future
Facilitating self-directed learning in your organisation will make you better equipped for the challenges and opportunities of the future. In most companies, training strategies focus on immediate pressures, i.e., what do we need to train people on today. There is usually very little scope for looking ahead.
With self-directed learning, employees can look to the future to identify areas that will be beneficial to them and to the company. This can give your organisation a head start on your competition, while also helping you deal with new challenges and opportunities as they arise.
Learners Are More Motivated
You will always have people on your team who are resistant to training, change, or both. This particularly applies to large organisations. However, the drivers for success in your company now and in the future are those who are hungry for knowledge and who embrace change.
These are the types of people most likely to get involved with self-directed learning. They will also be highly motivated when doing so, improving results and ensuring maximum return on investment.
Can Be Used for Compulsory Training
Self-directed learning doesn’t have to be restricted to optional training materials and courses. You can also include training courses that your employees must complete. However, rather than the traditional approach where groups of people come together at a specified time for the training, self-directed learning lets the learner choose when to go through the course.
You could, for example, add a due date of when you want the course to be completed, leaving the rest up to the learner.
Not all self-directed learning works like this, as it is also beneficial for learners to have some say in what topics they cover as well as when. Still, this approach can be an effective strategy.
Available When They Need It Most
Implementing a self-directed learning strategy in your organisation also involves an element of just-in-time training. Just-in-time training is a separate but related strategy where you make training available for learners to complete when they want to. The main difference is that the subject areas in just-in-time training focus on topics that have immediate relevance to your operation, whereas self-directed learning is more about looking to the future.
One of the big benefits of just-in-time training is that learners are highly motivated when they complete a course as they have an immediate need for the information.
Allows Employees to Focus on Areas that Interest Them
A key part of self-directed learning is giving employees a large say in the topic areas they cover. This doesn’t mean allowing learners to choose anything they want. It is important that any self-directed learning you facilitate has a benefit to your organisation. However, it is also important for employees to be involved in deciding on the direction their learning should take.
This will benefit your company as the employees will be more enthusiastic about topics they are interested in and passionate about. With greater interest and passion, they will work harder and get better results, improving the skills available in your company at the same time.
Learning a new skill, acquiring new information, and going through the learning process sparks creativity in many people. This creativity can lead to innovation, new ideas, and solutions that can benefit your company.
Culture of Continuous Improvement
Companies in most industries need to adopt a culture of continuous improvement to compete in the modern world. This covers everything from technologies to processes, as well as skills and knowledge.
Self-directed learning shouldn’t be the only element in your training strategy, but it will bring benefits if it is one of the components. Those benefits apply in the short-term, but they will have an impact in the medium and long-term too.
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