The 21st century organization needs to provide training support for its employees so that they can continually develop their skills. Most employees will be aware of where they could benefit from additional training, and most will jump at the chance to develop these skills. The greatest advantage of self-directed learning is that it is based on the employee’s own motivations, needs, and desire to succeed.
Consequently, many companies have realized that corporate training is really a two-way street, requiring open communication between employer and employee. Cutting-edge companies are harnessing this awareness to develop corporate learning that is relevant – and completely individualized!
Self-directed learning is particularly important for technology users because each employee uses technology differently, depending on his or her job. For instance, a Marketing Manager, an Accountant, and a Buyer will be using a versatile application like Excel very differently. Excel functionalities that may be important for one user will be irrelevant for another.
As businesses continue to rely on increasingly complex technology, it is essential for employees to be able to utilize technology in a way that is tailored to their jobs.
Self-directed learning works because of its versatility. It can be either formal or informal. It can come in the form of seminars, quick reference guides, Google searches, formal coursework, webinars, traditional reading material or informal, experiential learning with colleagues.
The key to maximizing the value of self-directed training is regular employee engagement. Here are some tips to help make self-directed learning successful:
- Make sure to meet regularly with the employee to both give and receive updates and feedback about the learning process
- Set out clearly defined and quantifiable training goals
- Self-directed learning is a dynamic process, so if something in your organization changes, or if an employee suggests updating or altering the original training plan, be open to change