- 1 Why you Invest In self-directed learning (SDL)?
- 1.1 1. Student perspective
- 1.2 2. L&D team perspective
- 1.3 3. Organizational perspective
- 1.4 What is the value of self-directed education?
- 1.5 How do you empower your students through self-directed learning?
- 1.6 7 Strategies for Self-Guided Learning
- 1.7 Separation thoughts
Why you Invest In self-directed learning (SDL)?
There are a number of reasons why employers should seriously consider investing in self-directed education. However, the following are some of the front runners for why SDL is a necessary strategy.
1. Student perspective
Today, students want to be more autonomous about when, what, where and how to learn. A recent LinkedIn workplace learning report concludes that more than 40% of Jane Z and a similar percentage of millennial employees prefer self-directed workplace education. For Jane X and Boomers, that percentage was 33%. Since work shifts from the “primarily office work” model to the “work from anywhere” (aka “work from home,” WFH), hybrid students can only succeed in a self-directed learning environment. This is because, like self-regulated hybrid work যেখানে where employees control their own work schedules based on organizational priorities SD SDL empowers students to set their own learning goals and create a logical way to accomplish them.
2. L&D team perspective
With training budgets under constant review, L&D teams are constantly looking to add value to their services. SDL is a way for training teams to move away from mundane, micromanaging learning and focus on their vision, strategy and learning effectiveness.
3. Organizational perspective
Self-directed learning is essential in new hybrid workplaces. To respond to a dynamically changing business environment, businesses need a learning strategy that focuses on continuous learning and quick and effective re-skilling or upskilling. SDL serves that purpose.
In the example of the new hybrid work, employers should not underestimate the importance of apprenticeship autonomy. Since employees adopting the WFH model are now more self-reliant about when and how they work, they expect the same level of flexibility in workplace education. In delivering these objectives, self-directed learning enhances motivation, improves performance, and encourages talent retention.
And there is a science behind why employers need to invest in SDLs. The payoff for making such an investment can be summed up in one word: inspiration. Human motivation expert Daniel Pink has advanced a theory highlighting three aspects of inspiration; Autonomy, dominance, and purpose, which SDL programs can potentially gain in the workplace.
There are several strategies for self-directed learning that cement it as a learning method that provides these three motivational aspects. It does this by:
- Giving students the freedom (autonomy) to choose their own path of education.
- The promise of increased performance (dexterity) rewards at the end of that path.
- When they apply that teaching and excel in what they do, they are empowered with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment (purpose).
In contrast to strictly regulated learning, self-directed learning provides all three aspects of Pink’s motivational model.
What is the value of self-directed education?
The new hybrid work environment changes the dynamics of many traditional employer-employees. Since work — and, through extensions, work-related learning ঘটে takes place in a decentralized (off-premises, remote, virtual) setting, SDL offers a multi-value proposition for students, the L&D team, and business.
Price for students
- It empowers students with a greater sense of autonomy and control over their learning.
- Self-directed learning adds more flexibility to a student’s learning and work style. They can now decide what they want to learn and when, where and how to learn.
- As students take their own “learning” destiny, there is more student-centeredness and more student-centered relevance in learning.
- With the benefit of learning through choice বিপর as opposed to controlled or compulsory learning এটি it entrusts learning ownership (and responsibility) to the student.
Depending on the self-directed learning models and strategies that businesses embrace, SDLs generally provide better learning experiences, resulting in more fulfilling learning for students. At the end of the day, a more knowledgeable apprentice is a more productive employee!
Value for L&D team
- By empowering students with greater autonomy and their learning ownership, SDL acts as a value-added catalyst for the Enterprise L&D team. The time saved in managing time-dependent learning and performing observations is now used in an effort to evaluate student response and provide a better learning experience.
Price for business
- Through Learner’s autonomy, SDL allows HR and L&D teams to focus on creating long-term enterprise value through learning strategies and perspectives. It does this by freeing them from the mundane and time-consuming task of micromanaging their learning milestones.
- Self-directed education encourages a culture of continuous learning in business.
- SDL inspires individuals and groups to constantly strive to specialize in what they do through in-depth learning and discovery. It encourages a healthy organization-wide cycle of constant re-skilling and upskilling.
- A well-trained and knowledgeable workforce is good for all stakeholders — for individual students, teams and businesses. As a result, the SDL is the catalyst that improves business-wide performance.
By strategically imitating successful self-directed learning strategies, businesses ensure better learning outcomes from their investment dollars. This leads to better ROI from SDL programs.
How do you empower your students through self-directed learning?
A successful organizational SDL program requires the implementation of a multi-stakeholder strategy.
Part 1: Get the basics right
Successful SDLs rely on three pillars that provide a strong foundation for all other elements of the strategy:
- Understanding the needs and preferences of today’s students
The previously mentioned LinkedIn survey indicates that, unlike the homogeneous learning environment of the past, today’s students have different learning needs and preferences. Ignore those demands at your peril!
- Selecting the right enabling tools and technologies to meet today’s student needs
In today’s hybrid work environment, learning technology plays an important role in determining the success of any self-directed learning initiative. In fact, choose this building block incorrectly, and your entire SDL strategy may be shattered!
- Creating a learning environment that inspires, supports and empowers students to adopt the SDL
Appropriate learning content, delivery mode, learning technology, and user support are all part of an organizational learning and performance (L&P) ecosystem. An integrated L&P ecosystem is essential for a successful SDL program.
Part 2: Provide learning, practice, and ongoing performance support
- Keeping the basics in place, it is important to focus on creating opportunities where learning can take place, and provide a safe place for students to practice what they have learned and to get ongoing performance support. Self-guided learning support strategies include work aid, workflow learning (LIFOW) support, and performance support tools.
- Companies also need to invest in immersive learning materials, including 3D-simulation environments, branching situations, virtual reality (VR) content, how-to videos, templates and interactive guide practice. These help students to acquire new knowledge and apply that knowledge.
Part 3: Checkpoints for feedback and evaluation
- Mixed education / social studies for coaching and mentoring
In a virtual workplace like ours today, it is important to place multiple checkpoints along a student’s SDL path. The use of virtual and mixed training options is a great way to engage self-directed students to receive and deliver feedback. Companies can also take advantage of social education to provide coaching and mentoring experience to hybrid employees.
- Provide feedback to guide students in the right direction
Sound strategies for self-guided learning feedback mechanisms include the use of techniques such as polling, surveys, data analysis, and other feedback loops to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of learning and performance ecosystems. Appropriate advice, recommendations, and additional / alternative learning paths can then lead students toward the desired learning goals.
7 Strategies for Self-Guided Learning
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for implementing a successful organization-wide SDL program. Businesses must customize their strategies according to the organizational culture and tailor their strategy to the best fit. However, here are some self-guided learning strategies that you should consider:
1. Content curation
Instead of casting a wide net of content, consider using AI-enabled tools to recommend learning and modify content.
2. Digital Learning Assistant
Use chatbots, voice bots, and machine learning digital assistants to draw, remind, and guide students to self-directed learning.
3. Awareness learning
Use targeted and timely mailer notices, information sessions and push notifications – including email, text and IM – to promote learning opportunities.
4. Communities and forums
Create student online forums and communities (both moderate and self-regulated) to share experiences, exchange ideas, and offer learning paths to members.
5. Learning Portal
Set up an online (cloud-based) learning portal where students can access relevant, curated and up-to-date content and learning resources 24/7. It is essential to constantly improve and refresh the portal so that students can come back for more.
6. Rich content
In addition to internal content, use a wide variety of other third party resources to provide a high-quality learning experience. Some of the strategies for self-guided learning content resources include YouTube, TEDx, HBR and popular microblogging sites related to your specific industry.
7. Student-driven approach
Take advantage of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn as part of your SDL strategy. This approach must also encourage student-produced content to stimulate member-organized / hosted learning events and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.
The best SDL programs are those that are fully accepted by students throughout the organization. And for that to happen, your approach to self-directed learning must include endless encouragement and rewards for those who use your SDL investment.
Learning models of training or self-regulated (compulsory but managed by individual students) led by traditional instructors fall short in today’s hybrid work environment. Today, self-directed learning যেখানে where students create, discover, and fulfill their own learning destiny থা is the best approach to learning effectiveness. It provides real-world benefits to students, L&D teams and businesses at every level.
I hope the strategies discussed in this article will help you design and implement your own SDL programs.
In the meantime, if you have any specific questions, please contact me or leave a comment below.