L&D teams can leverage on Self-Directed Learning (SDL) to create a vibrant, learning organization. In this article, I touch upon what SDL is, its key characteristics, and how you can create a culture of self-directed learning in your organization.
In simple terms, the self-directed learning approach is all about transferring the onus of learning to the learner(rather than the instructor/teacher. In the context of corporate learning, it amounts to empowering employees to make the required decisions on their learning.
In contrast to the typical “push” based approach that most organizations have wherein the stipulated online trainings are planned and rolled out through the LMS, the self-directed learning is about giving the control to the learners on how they want to learn, what path they wish to choose, over what time frame, and so on.
As you will note, this approach provides control to the learners and gives them the option to decide what they wish to learn and when, and how.
Self-directed learning is a significant shift from the more traditional ways to learn, and it offers the following benefits:
Organizations accrue several benefits as they adopt measures to promote self-directed learning, as it equips learners in many ways, as shown here:
In today’s world, knowledge is a significant differentiator for organizations. Hence L&D teams need to ensure that the employees are engaged, motivated to learn, and are encouraged to keep enhancing their skills. They also need to be fully in sync with what is happening in their industry, competition, and how they can help their organization stay ahead.
All of these aspects can be positively impacted by the adoption of a self-directed learning based culture in the organization.
The exercise needs to begin with the following aspects:
The factors that will help you promote and propagate the culture of self-directed learning are as follows:
Once you are up and running, focus on the following:
Like any approach, self-directed learning also has certain challenges.
In spite of these challenges, you must invest on promoting and leveraging on self-directed learning in the workplace. This will go a long way in creating a culture of “learning as a continuum” and nurturing employees that are motivated and engaged.
I take this opportunity to show you a case study that highlights some of the measures we have taken at EI Design to create a culture of self-directed learning.
Engaged learners need quick access to information and flexibility to chart their own desired learning path to find it. Unfortunately, most LMSs just aren’t equipped to provide rapid recall for long-term retention.
At EI Design, we created EI Design Learning Exchange to promote the culture of self-directed learning in the organization. We have used personalized, curated learning paths to promote a culture on “ongoing learning” with great success.
Key highlights of what we did that has helped us gain more engaged employees who are aligned to this drive are listed below:
Take a look at some of the screenshots to see how you can use simple measures to encourage and promote self-directed learning in the workplace.
I hope this article and the featured case study give you the pointers that you can use to facilitate self-directed learning in your organization. At EI Design, we have already seen early success, and we believe this initiative will certainly go a long way in creating a learning organization and keeping us ahead of the competition.
If you have any queries or need any specific support, do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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