Learning through self-management

Learning through self-management

The goal of self-managed learning is to empower individuals to take responsibility for their own learning. In order to enhance performance, the goal is to encourage individuals to seek out knowledge and skills that will help them perform well. This is called discretionary learning.
As a result of its processes of recording success and action planning, individuals take stock of what they have learned, what they have achieved, what their goals are, how they intend to reach these goals, and what new skills they will need to learn.
Learning programs can be ‘self-paced’ in the sense that learners decide for themselves, up to a certain point, the rate at which they work and adjust the program accordingly based on their progress. The principle of self-directed learning holds that people learn and retain more information if they find out things for themselves.
Nevertheless, they need guidance and assistance in finding what they are looking for. To perform their jobs effectively, learners must be encouraged to define, with assistance if necessary, what they need to know. Provide them with guidance on where to find the materials or information they need to learn and how to make effective use of it.
This process can be facilitated by personal development plans, as described later in this chapter. As well as coaching, mentoring, and e-learning, individuals require support from their managers and the organization.

Learning in a formal setting

Formal learning involves using structured approaches to learning and is planned and systematic. The organization may provide training courses to your team members, and you need to be aware of the course offerings and their relevance to the team’s learning needs. The problem is that too often, people are sent to courses by their companies simply because they are there.
The use of such courses should be restricted to those that are relevant. It is not always the case that the skills acquired on the course are useful to the people involved and can be applied in the workplace. A more appropriate learning method is informal learning that is based on the work people do, continuous and progressive, under your direct control.

Learning in an informal setting

Learning through experience is informal learning. The majority of people, learn entirely while doing their regular jobs at work. As well as observing more experienced colleagues, conversing, swapping stories, and cooperating on tasks can accelerate understanding; offering mutual support deepens and solidifies the process. Several learning and development experts believe that this kind of learning – which is often informal in nature – builds proficiency much more effectively than more formal training methods.
As a result of its relevance – informal learning takes place in the workplace – informal learning has many advantages. Learning can be achieved incrementally rather than in indigestible chunks and learners are able to apply what they’ve learned. There are disadvantages, including the possibility of chance – some may benefit, and others may not.
Learners can simply pick up unproductive habits when they are unplanned and unsystematic. There are significant disadvantages associated with these factors. In order to learn, you must take an active role, as explained below.

Learning and development: how to promote them

The overall purpose of your role is to ensure that learning conditions are conducive to learning in your department or team. This can be described as creating a ‘learning culture’, an environment in which steps are taken to understand how learning can benefit individual and team performance, to provide learning opportunities as required, to encourage self-management of learning, and to recognize that learning is a continuous process that everyone can participate in and benefit from.
You are responsible for fostering this culture and for making sure that guidance and help are available from you and others to promote learning and development. In order to accomplish this, you must understand the learning needs of your people.
You must provide induction training, provide development opportunities on a daily basis, and develop and agree on development contracts and personal development plans. As well as being familiar with the various techniques and processes that are involved, such as coaching, mentoring, and job instruction, you must also know how to apply them.
Learning through self-management
Learning through self-management. The goal of self-managed learning is to empower individuals to take responsibility for their own learning. Photo Credit – Pexels