Self Guided Learning
Self-guided learning’s emergence as opposed to corporate training stemmed from the following trends: millennial workers preferring autonomous self-led learning, the rise in technological innovations led to on-demand knowledge sessions, schedules are more managed, increased suitability to adult learning styles, better relevance to knowledge requirement, access to more resources, greater means of acquiring knowledge, and other benefits. A few of the statistics supporting this trend include: 79% prefer online knowledge search vs. 37% on company training, 70% learning from online sources as opposed to 23% from corporate sessions, 14 hours self-directed learning against just three hours on employer-provided sessions.
SELF-GUIDED LEARNING vs. CORPORATE TRAINING EMERGING TRENDS
With many emerging trends impacting the work environment, the way employees acquire knowledge has also changed with the times. Employees now prefer training solutions that can better suit their needs for autonomy, allow them to better manage their schedules, enable them to retain knowledge more, promote continuous learning habits, and be given access to a wider range of quality resources.
All of this is supported by several findings from various workplace survey results. In one survey, it was found that 79% of the employees found it more advantageous to search online when they need to look for knowledge that they need in order to complete their tasks. This is a significant number vs. just 37% stating that they prefer company training to get the learning that they need.
Another workplace survey shows that 70% have acquired new useful knowledge from various online resources like videos, e-books, and other online content in the last 24 hours, that they can already use in their work. Based on that same survey, only 23% stated that they have completed training in the last two years, with no mention if they have acquired new useful information. This is coupled by the fact that employees have spent an average of 14 hours per month on self-directed learning on their own initiative against just three hours spent on employer-provided sessions. There’s also another finding that 61% would invest more time if professional credit will be given for their self-directed learning effort.
Understandably, the majority of the learning, which is around 85%, still happens at work. However, 67% of the employees accomplish this knowledge acquisition during their personal time, with 18% doing so while commuting. With the rise in mobile phone use, around three-quarters of employees do some of these learning sessions on a mobile device while on the road. This is in conjunction with the finding that 91% of smartphone users will turn to their devices for ideas while completing a task.
Contributing to these anytime, anywhere learning preference is the rise in the number of millennial workers entering the corporate world. Millennials aspire for more flexibility and autonomy in doing their work thus opting for participant-initiated training rather than being directed to attend set training.
This gave rise to a “pull” type of self-directed learning where employees just pull the topic that they want to know more about from various online sources anytime they need it. This pull type of learning is more beneficial and suitable for most adult learning styles as research shows that knowledge is better retained if applied immediately. Compare this to attending training that are “pushed” to employees, most of the topics cannot be used immediately as these are just the standard, one-size fits all corporate training. Employees also just spend 1% of their working week on training so there are fewer chances of employees attending these corporate training sessions. Compare this to the times spent on self-directed learning at 104 hours each that North American adults spent on an average of eight self-directed learning projects a year.
With this movement towards a more flexible learning environment through self-directed learning, knowledge sessions now become more enjoyable and just centered on learning. Instead of worrying about strict test evaluations after most corporate training, the pressure is off and this can lead to a better learning experience.
Adding to this holistic knowledge experience is the limitless possibility that anything can be learned due to the vast number of resources available online. In fact, search results for “how to" videos on YouTube are growing at a rate of 70% each year.
Furthermore, self-directed learning has been steadily gaining support in the workplace as employers are aiming for better employee engagement and faster skills' acquisition. Employees who are avid self-directing learners have more competitive advantage and this can address common workplace concerns like knowledge gap, diversity, and openness to new ideas. The challenge now for HR is to ensure that evidence-based training is integrated with self-directed learning and is still tied to the purpose of providing the right skills and results to the business.
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING CHALLENGES
As with other types of learning method, self-directed learning has its challenges. As most of the burden of learning transfers to the employee, they will need to avoid pitfalls such as procrastination and lack of self-motivation. It will still require hard work to keep learning even with all the autonomy involved in order to gain the right knowledge. Workplace managers can help employees in this area by being available to motivate employees and share in their self-directed learning journey.
OTHER SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING FUTURE TRENDS
The corporate world is now embracing the mantra, ”Learning curve is the new earning curve.” With the employees continuing clamor for better flexibility and robust learning opportunities that are customized for their individual requirements, employers now need to address this need to retain them.
Based on Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report, 70% of the corporate world now see learning as the primary driver of employee engagement and employees are now taking more responsibility in this area.
Given these findings, employers need to abandon the traditional method of structured training employees. They should now focus on ensuring that employees have access to various online digital assets, resources and information to facilitate self-directed learning.
Self-guided learning’s emergence as opposed to corporate training stemmed from the following trends: entry of millennial workers preferring autonomous self-led learning, the prevalence of technological innovations, need for more balanced work schedule, preference for more effective learning styles, and other significant factors. Key indicators are now illustrating the preference for more flexible and autonomous self-directed type of learning experience for better employee engagement and competitive advantage.