Earlier this week I was asked to host a Learning Clinic by LPI, for the 40 minute session I received almost 200 questions in advance, and then additional questions in the live chat whilst the clinic was running. During the clinic I made the pledge that any attendees that didn’t have their question answered could message it to me on LinkedIn and I would ensure that I would answer them. Before I had even finished stating my pledge my phone lit up like a twinkling Christmas tree.
One of the questions I received was:
“How may self directed learning contribute to building the learning culture, do you think it would be effective? How? Do you think design thinking can support this?“
As someone that completed five university qualifications from an undergrad, to three postgrads, and then my doctorate through self directed learning, I am a massive fan. However, self directed learning is far more complex than just pointing to a computer and saying “off you go”.
Self directed learning can be beneficial to a learning culture, as long as it is widely supported and the learners feel empowered to learn. So, for example many people inadvertently undertake self directed micro learning on almost a daily basis, searching for content at work in procedures and manuals, asking colleagues for advice, googling, etc. but they don’t necessarily realise that it is self directed learning. For most they only see learning as learning if it involves enrolling in/onto something more formal.
So to start building a learning culture, the first step would be to define in your organisation what self directed learning means, that such action is supported instead of frowned up – e.g. it doesn’t mean that you don’t know how to do your job, it means that you are finding ways to do your job better.
Secondly that your HR department review the concept of it’s learning and development support, most still count in bookable days due to how learning in face-to-face workshops used to work. If you want self directed micro learning within your organisation, switch the days into hours. X number of hours a year are recommended. Not capped, recommended. Why cap learning to be better at your job which will save the organisation money in the long run? What type of culture would cap potential? Then build into the learner’s day the understanding that they can access the content at any time, it’s not bookable, or needing manager sign off, like Google it’s just there.
Thirdly review your learning offering, is it set up for self directed micro learning in it’s accessibility and content size? Is it the content that learners want to micro learn? Is it the content that your organisation needs to perform and meet its objectives?
Design thinking goes way beyond just creating smaller bits of content and saying there you go, there is a massive cultural and systematic piece of work that needs to go before it.
If you empower the staff to understand that self directed learning is actively encouraged, that provision is made within their daily working life, and that the content supports self directed micro learning, then over time the learning culture of the organisation will change and become as second nature as the phrase ‘google it’.