Self-led learning is an exciting approach to education that puts employees in the driving seat. It can be used to drive up engagement, create more employee ownership over their development, and improve productivity.
But how can employers utilise it effectively and create a smooth transition into an employee-led learning model?
What is self-led learning?
Self-led learning is an approach to education where students are trusted to choose their own courses, set their own schedules, and choose a learning route that works best for them. Once a solid self-led learning strategy has been implemented, employers take a hands-off role, ideally letting employees manage their own learning.
It’s a growing trend within the world of business, as LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning report revealed that over 40% of Gen Z and Millennial workers and over 30% of Gen X and Baby Boomers wanted “fully self-directed and independent learning.”
Self-directed learning still utilises teachers and tutors, but the idea is for learners to take full ownership of their education journey. Within a workplace, the way in which employees learn is similar to how they would take on courses outside their 9-5. It’s self-paced learning on their terms, designed to help them grow a valuable and wide-ranging skillset.
What are some of its benefits?
There are many benefits to self-led learning. Compared to other styles of learning, such as workshop learning, self-led learning can give employees a greater sense of initiative and self-determination within a business.
Employers who are prescriptive with their courses run the risk of an employee feeling as though the training they’re taking benefits the company more than it does them. When employers are too rigid and don’t make it clear how training programmes will give the employee valuable skills that can be applied throughout their career, staff can end up seeing training as ticking a box rather than an enriching learning experience.
In fact, employees who feel that a company doesn’t have their best interests at heart when it comes to learning and development are more likely to leave in the long run.
Self-led learning that empowers an employee to take the lead and decide the best way to unlock the highest level of their professional potential can be an excellent way to keep learners engaged throughout their training.
How can I transition my team to self-led learning?
So, if you’re keen to move your employees over to this style of learning and you’re wondering what the best way to achieve this is, we’ve got you covered.
Using simple strategies that are aimed at finding the best ways to implement this learning style within your company can be the key to unlocking the full potential of self-led learning.
Set out a self-led plan for each employee
Before you start a new training programme, meet with each employee and work with them to build a learning plan.
Begin by speaking to them about their professional aspirations and get feedback on where they think the current training they receive is letting them down. Where do they need greater support? Are they able to achieve their goals with the current training they receive or is greater investment and time needed?
Goal-setting is a vital part of employee development, as giving employees something to work towards keeps them motivated and accountable as they progress. Working these out before setting out a self-led learning plan is crucial.
After working out these goals, speak to them about the wider company goals, and work out where there is room for alignment. Although the training should be self-led, this doesn’t mean that the company’s wider priorities should be forgotten about.
Finding out where cohesion can take place with personal development goals and company goals can make the employee far more motivated when it comes to helping the company to move forward.
After you’ve worked out your employee’s goals that are related to their self-led learning programme set out milestones. These should mark out when they expect to see results in their work quality and output.
It’s important to note that these shouldn’t necessarily be linked to increased profits within their team or other company-focused goals. These milestones should be markers that employees work towards that add structure and a clear outcome of their training.
Having an overarching structure that they can work to will allow them to stay motivated and feel that they are progressing within their career. If they want to pivot their role, move up within the company or increase their salary, attaching milestones to these factors can be a good idea as well.
Ultimately, having a rough guide in place will maximise the employee’s ability to manage their own training and development whilst allowing employers to see and map results and outcomes in a way that doesn’t add additional pressure to the workforce.
Implement regular check-ins
Even with milestones set in place, it is still a good idea to set up regular meetings to discuss how a self-led learning plan is going.
It’s worth bearing in mind that an employee’s aims and goals might shift, even as a result of the training they’re undertaking. As their initiative develops and they become more self-sufficient, they may find that their motivations and professional aspirations change.
Keeping in the loop is vital for employers and L&D teams, as this allows them to work out any changes or adapt an employee’s learning programme as necessary.
Ultimately, a self-led approach will need more room to change and evolve, as employees will be trying out a brand new learning method that requires them to have a strong grasp on their own development and education journey.
Are you keen to find out more about self-led learning and the positive impact it could have on your team? Explore CoursesOnline today and see how we can offer you innovative and forward-thinking training courses that help employees achieve their full potential.
Or, explore our Workforce Library for more insights into the world of L&D in the modern workplace.