Is the future of employee learning self-directed?

Panel Debate

Is the future of employee learning self-directed?
Promoted by Is the future of employee learning self-directed?

Todd Turner

Todd Turner

CEO

We live in an on-demand world, where the movies and TV shows we want to watch are just a click away. Learning simply has to follow suit. But the on-demand premise only works if you have engaging and effective self-directed learning content.

Today’s employees don’t have the time nor the inclination to search through endless learning categories to find the resources they need. Giving people choice is a good thing but too much choice will swamp them.

Self-directed resources should be launched with a clear communication strategy. L&D teams need to manage the expectations of employees and train them to use the resources in the right way. All learning content should be carefully curated and categorised, so it addresses the specific problems and challenges your employees will face.

Individuals will still need to gather in a safe environment to practise their skills. But the emphasis of expert-led learning should be on skills development, interactivity and networking, setting the stage for on-going social learning and collaborative support.

When effective learning resources are readily available, employees become more productive. The benefits of this go beyond greater employee engagement, a more conducive work environment and stronger retention; effective learning improves the employer brand and facilitates organisational improvement.

Mark Hopkins

John Lewis Partnership

Mark Hopkins

Designer, Partner Development
John Lewis Partnership

I find it difficult sometimes to imagine that we are are not all self directed learners. All of my interactions with others have demonstrated to me, that when a need arises to learn something we are all to some degree, self-directed. What changes is the motivation or level of need, but generally we all take the initiative when we want to know or do something.

In my opinion the future is about providing the right motivation along with better accessibility, supporting culture and design principles; all of which empower people to behave in a self directed way, with a clear understanding of ‘what is in it for me’.


Laura Wigley

Dorchester Collection

Laura Wigley

Global Talent & Learning Director
Dorchester Collection

There is absolutely a trend towards selfdirected learning, but that doesn’t mean leaving your staff to get on with it by themselves. It’s great for employees to be able to drive their own development, but the key to success is having line managers support them and guide as required. It’s much simpler to have onesize- fits-all solutions, but in my opinion it is not as effective.

For example, compare self-directed leadership learning to a traditional programme. It’s only possible to retain and act on a certain amount of information at once, so many of the lessons may be lost. Secondly, not everything in the traditional programme will be in line with that individual’s development requirements. A self-directed approach allows employees to respond to their own focus and priorities.


Caroline Price

Canon

Caroline Price

Senior Vice President Human Resources EMEA
Canon

Allowing employees to explore and learn on their own basis has certainly been beneficial for us and helps to build confidence in their own abilities and knowledge.

Self-directed learning doesn’t mean businesses should reduce their own responsibility and involvement in the development of talent, but instead create an environment which encourages self-awareness and motivation. Technology shouldn’t be seen as simply moving learning out of a classroom and onto the web but more as a tool that motivates an employee to take learning into their own hands to develop their professional skills in the direction that they want their career to take.

We addressed this with the Canon Development Hub - a one-stop shop for learning, performance and talent development needs. Employees are in control of developing their professional profile through self-directed learning with over 30,000 days-worth of training and development per year to choose from.”



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