The recent shift to remote work has required employees to take greater control of their own learning and development. In the digital age, learners have an ample number of learning opportunities as and when they need them, which presents them with the chance to lead their learning, and drive progress.
However, when it comes to professional development, learners need to be at the centre of their learning experiences where they have better control over their learning needs and can find solutions to close skills gaps.
Why Learner Autonomy Is Need of the Hour
The World Economic Forum has listed active learning as one of the top skills to master by 2025, emphasizing the significant role that learning plays in employee as well as organizational performance.
Besides, in this rapidly changing workplace environment, autonomy is becoming a must-have, rather than a nice-to-have. Employees have to develop the ability to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn the necessary skills to remain agile and adaptive. Learner autonomy and a culture of self-directed learning empower employees to enhance their skill sets and professional development. Encouraging autonomy also gives employees the confidence they require to contribute creatively in the workspace - an essential skillset in today’s work ecosystem.
The question is, how can L&D and HR teams help employees develop the skills needed for autonomous learning, in turn, supporting them to synergize their knowledge and learning outcomes.
Here are a few tips to create a culture that encourages learner autonomy enabling employees to take charge of their learning outcomes:
- Encourage Self-Directed Learning
Self-directed learning can happen only when employees are motivated and hence it is important to get them excited about managing their own learning journeys. The success of a self-directed learning culture depends on employees realising the need to learn new skills and close existing skills gaps.
In the end, employees wish to know how the learning journey will actually benefit them. By addressing this question, L&D can also enhance learner engagement and buy-in.
- Foster Social and Informal Learning
A major part of a holistic learning experience is Social and Informal learning. While autonomous learning means letting learners control their own learning journey, they may still need to collaborate with their peers to learn new skills. As the 70:20:10 model for learning and development suggests, 20 percent of knowledge acquisition happens by speaking and interacting with others.
It is important to create opportunities for employees and provide them with a network of support that can help them connect with their peers to share their insights and experiences. Such platforms could include common communities, discussion boards, a library of videos of employees sharing insights etc.
- Offer Personalized and Engaging Content
In today’s age where learners are a busy bunch, content needs to be in a such manner that it addresses their learning needs as accurately as possible. This is where personalizing learning comes into the picture to make content engaging.
When employees have access to learning content that is both engaging as well as relevant to their needs, autonomous learning happens as a natural process. Employees will have the right kind of tools and information to take control of their learning journey.
- Provide Access to Resources
L&D can offer a robust library of learning resources to learners, but it is important that learners should know exactly how they can utilize these resources. Ensuring employees have access to the learning content is an essential step in the learning strategy.
Making use of learning experience platforms or learning libraries is a good way to organize learning resources in one central location.
Looking at platforms like Plethora to help carefully curate a personalized learning experience will greatly help in turning the ownership of learning from organizations to learners. Learners can also benefit seminally by getting access to some impactful learning resources in the form of just-in-time learning, learning nuggets, micro-mentoring, augmented reality-based courses for repeatable skills as well as remote learning aids to suit the meet remote work challenges in the changed work environment.
To learn more about Plethora courses and view our curated plans, get in touch here.