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Self-Directed Learning: How to Create a Learner Centered Approach

Silas is a safety inspector involved in workforce training. Obtained his Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Safety

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed Learning

The Department of Labor estimates that seven million job opportunities exist, while six million workers are available to fill the positions (Ellis, 2019). Change is inevitable in today's marketplace, and the workforce shortage presents a national problem. The problem revolves around limited manpower and marks a setback with organizations attempting to expand their operations. Having limited resources create delays and affects training opportunities. Next, inadequate instructor availability and training programs suffer without resources. Having a flexible, adaptive, and resilient program remains a necessity in today's evolving market.

Limited resources exist to highlight that the learner-guided training approach adapts to the student focus. Essentially, the teaching focus shifts from the instructor to the student. Learner-guided training stipulates that adults enjoy learning on their own at their own pace and the use of preferred technology (Branham, 2018). Therefore, developing a learner-guided training approach supports the shrinking workforce and provides a workforce's training path.

Learner Focus

Learner Focus

This article focuses on the development of a learner-guided training program. Self-directed learning, self-training, technology, and adding engaging and motivating activities support the learner.

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed Learning

Developing a self-directed training program should allow change for individual growth. It encourages growth as employees seek training opportunities to satisfy the company ambitions set out by the leadership. Learning a new skill is a challenge, and traditional training approaches differ from the learner-directed approach (Cox, 2016). Traditional training programs offered support to yesterday’s requirements. Today, changes within our industry resemble a paradigm shift that requires a new outlook. The learner-guided method is a way to link the employees’ existing knowledge with new ideas (London & Hall, 2011).

According to Egloffstein and Ifenthaler (2017), employees are searching for ways to advance their careers, and a new option for employees involves Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOCs remain of high importance for career development as an alternative to on-the-job training. Egloffstein and Ifenthaler (2017) mention that attending a MOOC offers a promising alternative to traditional training and the benefits are scalable, flexible, and adaptive. The MOOC is an alternative to corporate training by allowing the student to choose a useful learning experience. Students who have the flexibility to choose this training often give favorable comments that result from an increase in their knowledge, skill, and ability.

Train on your own to gain the most experience

Train on your own to gain the most experience

Train on Your Own to Gain the Most Experience

To support the traditional training-delivery, the course developer must understand its aspirations and employee expectations through their eyes (Cox, 2016). To understand the employee training aspirations, reviewing their needs, wants, and desires is an important consideration to understand. Branham (2018) mentioned that 70% of adult learners prefer to train on their own, 77% enjoy self-paced courses, and 96% prefer online courseware. Key elements that students welcome technology prefer working at their own pace and enjoy the learner-guided approach (Branham, 2018). Understanding the employee desires suggests that the MOOC is a positive choice for the learner-guided approach.

Individual Motivation and Engagement

Individual Motivation and Engagement

Individual Motivation and Engagement

Motivation and engagement allow one to learn to formulate the desire to discover and experience something new. Understanding self-directed training requires the identification of learner characteristics. According to Garn (2017), characteristics include establishing learner goals. Learner goals pertain to the goals set by the individual. Next, the learning structure includes activities and schedules that encourage sticking with the learning objective. Finding resources excels in learning and improves skill and knowledge. Self-assessment provides a matrix to determine whether skill and experience increased through self-directed training.

Smart Technology

Smart Technology

Smart Technology

Smart technology is a means to support the company and present material to the student. A large majority of adult learners prefer online learning courses (Branham, 2018). According to Cox (2016), training portals offer trainee resource information and give mechanisms to manage the training outcome. Depositories such as Blackboard and Canvas document student training guides, record student progress, and track the learning outcomes following module completion. Smart technology creates learning-directed activities and automates the training events. Here, technology allows the company to administer information, revise course material, and set up a library. Smart technology incorporates an electronic management system to promote student learning. Smart technology allows students to gain knowledge from the Internet and added resources.

Companies often use technology to help employees with self-directed learning (Juo, 2018). Online courses should present engaging content to reinforce the learner experience. Training and adoption of digital devices must give feedback, and an assessment should show that the learning approach reinforces the organizational outcome (Juo, 2018). Knowledge gained through a learner-guided approach yields benefits. Technology is a medium to support, manage and promote learning outcomes for the employee (Cox, 2016). Using an electronic learning management program creates a repository for training guides, assessment tools, track learning results, and material circulation (Cox, 2016). Information is important to share, and technology supports self-directed learning.

Methods to Harness Self-Directed Training

Methods to Harness Self-Directed Training

Methods to Harness Self-Directed Training

Training is essential and must divide a shared vision among the employees (Juo, 2018). Methods exist for a student to harness self-directed learning. First, using a MOOC or massive open online course enables an immense training opportunity for the workforce to pick specific training. Learners favor self-paced programs, a student’s learning styles differ while gaining knowledge (Cox, 2016). Next, enabling the flow of information improves employee participation in developing, planning, and testing work-related projects (Juo, 2018). Allowing each employee to choose a training program of interest supports the learning environment (Cox, 2016).

Encouragement remains essential and provides opportunities to learn, improve, and adapt to economic and technological changes (Juo, 2018). Learning is vital to produce competency among the workforce. To tailor training to fit an individual, a significant guarantee of mastery of learning must exist (Cox, 2016). Self-directed training should allow the individual to manage, tailor, and pace their training needs. This method supports the learner-guided approach to interact, encourage, and allow information flow.

Conclusion

Conclusion

Conclusion

Workforce shortages need a distinct approach to sponsor the learner-directed program. A need occurs while balancing individual learning with organizational expectations. Endorsing a learner-guided training method should satisfy the learning expectations and align with organizational obligations. Therefore, applying a learner-guided approach upholds the company confronted with economic pressure and employee shortages (Cox, 2016). The MOOCs offer a platform that employees favor, and smart technology supports the student through an electronic management system.

Training management systems offer a method to manage self-directed training. The system does this while presenting information, testing progress, and recording completion standards. Next, technology helps diminish training errors that may culminate in an accident. Simulators offer opportunities for the learner to increase their knowledge, skill, and ability. Developing a learner-guided training approach supports the reduced workforce and provides a preferred training path. Self-directed learning and the emphasis areas support today’s training environment. Workforce shortages and the company’s wish to expand operations support the learner-guided training approach.

References

  • Branham, L. (2018). Interpretive analysis of adult learners’ lived experiences in a uniquely designed higher education program (Doctoral dissertation). https://etd.ohiolink.edu/!etd.send_file?accession=antioch1537092350752002&disposition=inline
  • Cox, J. H. (2016). Smart Training and Development: A Learner-Guided Approach. Performance Improvement, 55(5), 6–9. https://doi-org/10.1002/pfi.21586
  • Egloffstein, M., & Ifenthaler, D. (2017). Employee Perspectives on MOOCs for Workplace Learning. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 61(1), 65–70. https://doi-org/10.1007/s11528-016-0127-3
  • Ellis, R. (2019). Primed for apprentices: Apprenticeships are increasingly expanding into white-collar industries. TD: Talent Development, 73(9), 28-33. https://www.td.org/magazines/td-magazine/primed-for-apprentices
  • Garn, K. (2017) How to use self-directed learning to train millennials. eLearning Industry.https://elearningindustry.com/self-directed-learning-train-millennials-how-use
  • Juo, J. (2018, March 6) 5 ways to build self-directed learning [Web log post]. https://business.udemy.com/blog/5-ways-build-self-directed-learning/
  • London, M., & Hall, M. (2011). Unlocking the value of Web 2.0 technologies for training and development: The shift from instructor-controlled, adaptive learning to learner-driven, generative learning. Human Resource Management, 50(6), 757–775. https://doi-org/10.1002/hrm.20455


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