Self-directed learning helps employees perform better. When they have agency and choice, and when they see the estimation of the assignments they are performing, it is not news. However, numerous organizations aren’t sure how to deal with this thought … how might they assist employees with feeling esteemed and self-sufficient, yet achieve the organization’s objectives?
Self-directed learning is one such way. By empowering employees to participate in their education, an organization can offer significant trust to their workers that will be reimbursed in innovation, dependability, and profitability. Before you can impart a culture of self-directed learning in your workplace, however, you have to know the nuts and bolts.
What Is Self-Directed Learning?
Although the name is self-explanatory, how about we offer a meaning of this idea; “In self-directed learning (SDL), the individual steps up to the plate and the obligation regarding what happens. People select, oversee, and evaluate their learning exercises, which can be sought after, whenever, wherever, through any method, at any age … For the individual, SDL includes starting individual test exercises and building up the individual characteristics to pursue effectively.”
SDL, as such, is discovering that the individual gets the opportunity to direct. They pick what to learn, how to learn it, and above all, why they should learn it. In other words, they get the chance to pick the result they want and work toward it freely in the manner they see fit. This may be an individual improvement, a task, an organizational objective, or a mix; the decision is theirs.
As technology advances, more than half of the global workforce will require new skills within the next five years. While corporations acknowledge the importance of upskilling and reskilling personnel in order to remain competitive, Learning and Development (L&D) departments cannot just deliver learning programs and call their work done. Instead, through development programs that involve self-directed learning, L&D executives must encourage people to study on their own terms.
Employees with self-directed learning can assess their own learning needs, set learning goals, and find the learning resources — whether people, courses, or materials — that will help them meet those objectives. A self-directed learning program is essential for supporting lifelong learning and cultivating a learning culture.
The capacity to effectively direct your own learning is a vital talent for modern workers, much as learning agility is a must for employees to flourish in a constantly changing workplace.
It’s not easy for your employees to know how to direct their own learning. They must be able to recognize which skills to acquire, how to learn them, and when they have mastered them. Employees could benefit from the guidance of their L&D leaders and people managers in this area to ensure they’re on the correct track. Here are five techniques to promote self-directed learning in your workplace.
How Does Self-Directed Learning Engage People?
Self-directed learning, taken excessively far, can become pandering, and that isn’t what you need. Nonetheless, at a sensible level, that doesn’t influence organizational execution, self-directed learning gives employees an individual stake in the workplace. The capacity to pick their objectives and work toward them is an incredible spark. Consider how motivated we are by hobbies since they intrigue us and are an assignment based on our very own preference. Self-directed learning achieves the same engagement-generating ends.
Employee engagement is one of the more ephemeral indicators of a company’s success. Employees who are engaged are more productive and efficient. They also stay with the company for significantly longer lengths of time, which reduces turnover costs, the need to train replacements, and other issues.
However, increasing employee engagement can be difficult because few activities enhance employee engagement for all employees. Self-directed learning is one of the few that can boost employee engagement across the board. But why is that?
- Relevance – One of the reasons SDL is able to enhance employee engagement is because it provides higher relevance in terms of learning content and the intersection of that information with employee needs and goals. It enables employees to concentrate on the tasks that are most important and impactful to them at the time. This satisfies a deep psychological need while also increasing involvement and morale.
- Traditional learning is very organized, which makes it difficult to be flexible. “Rigid” is another phrase that might be used instead of “structured.” Outside influences push learners to finish content in a rigorous, formulaic manner. Your employees will have the freedom they need to incorporate learning into their work and personal life with self-directed learning.
- Employees learn abilities that apply to a specific scenario or are necessary for an immediate project in a traditional learning scenario. They may learn meta-skills with SDL, however, ensuring that they can approach and solve challenges in all areas of their personal and professional lives, further empowering them. To improve your meta abilities, look through our over 1500 course titles.
- Updates on a regular basis — When employees are obliged to adhere to a strict training regimen, they are unable to upgrade their skills and knowledge in time to meet real-world demands. They are compelled to proceed at the pace of the training and development plan rather than the pace of life. They can master skills and refresh their knowledge as needed through personalized learning, providing what is starting to become a popular option of “just in time learning”.
What Workplace Outcomes Does It Encourage?
When employees are offered time to seek after their activities and interests, the odds that they will think of something that quantifiably improves the organization in general increases; obviously, you can’t forfeit the primary concern to each employee’s impulse or innovative thought. Still, neither should you stifle these impulses in the name of efficiency. When employees can learn what they need to learn, improve their presentation in manners they see fit, and add to the workplace as indicated by their thoughts, they are more joyful and more satisfied.
Experienced autonomous employees (able to carry out their work tasks through their own scheduling), experienced competent employees (carry out their work tasks efficiently as well as successfully and are aware of their effectiveness), and experienced social integration employees are all examples of workplace conditions that encourage SDL (employees feel integrated in the work community; their efforts are acknowledged by superiors and colleagues).
How Do You Create a Culture of Self-Direction?
There is no basic response to this inquiry. Self-directed learning takes a very long time to ingrain in employees and may not be something you agree with. No concerns. Start little, with open periods where employees can pick their assignments. Give a variety of assets they can reference. Hold meetings where you assist employees with picking a direction, then meet occasionally to keep them on target and prize achievement. Tell everybody you’re underlining self-directed learning and request recommendations at whatever point individuals have them.
From the top down, strive to establish a strong learning culture.
Individual employees will be driven to align themselves with this objective and take action if an organization values learning on a larger scale. Individuals will take the initiative and seek opportunities to develop their own skills and knowledge if leaders effectively explain the benefits of learning in their own careers.
Determine their present level of autonomy.
Start by determining where employees stand in terms of self-directed learning. Create a self-test for them to take that will identify specific areas where they would benefit the most from learning. An assessment of their strengths and shortcomings will assist them in deciding where to focus their efforts and time.
Train and Activate
Improving employee engagement has far-reaching implications for the entire company. While gaining improvement can be difficult, self-directed learning has been shown to be beneficial. It not only improves engagement, but it also empowers, allowing your team members to have more control over their own lives and autonomy, and it boosts morale across the board. All of these factors are essential for long-term success.