The concept of learning and self-improvement has always been crucial for our existence.
In the early days, learning helped us adapt and survive in harsh physical environments. Today, the demands of a fast-changing environment require us to constantly better ourselves and learn at faster rates than ever before.
In the corporate environment, learning and development tools are important to help employees sharpen their knowledge and develop their skills in their respective fields. The content that employees are provided with for their learning journeys needs to be frequently updated to reflect today’s changing business environment.
To keep up with this pace, more and more corporates today are implementing self-paced learning systems. Employees can embark on these learning and development at their own time, place, and medium of education.
Why invest in learning anyway?
People are a company’s greatest asset. They are the brain of the company. They think, plan, strategize, and communicate ideas internally and externally. Without good people, your business will not go far and reach its optimal potential.
L&D programs help to maximize their potential by promoting a culture of curiosity within them. As they get more curious about various topics across the field, they ask more questions, which will help them expand their horizon.
Science backs this up – research has shown that teams trained well have a 10% increase in productivity overall.
Moreover, the employees themselves know just how crucial it is to have a diversified skillset, and thus they are actively seeking opportunities to do so.
According to the LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development.
Just as they are willing to stay when they find a good opportunity for professional growth, they are also more than ready to leave if they think their current position does not provide them with sufficient learning opportunities.
Hence, managers need to invest their time and effort into L&D programs for their team and company.
What is self-paced learning?
Among the various ways of learning, none of them can be deemed the one correct way to learn. Self-paced learning is a learning method that allows each person to learn at their speed, and it caters to the different preferences and styles of learning each person may have.
Self-paced learning kills two birds with one stone – flexibility and scalability.
When learning is done individually at their own time, speed, location, and convenience, it would be much easier for employees to manage their various personal or work-related responsibilities and not feel overwhelmed by them. Flexibility leads to balance.
In fact, according to the LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 58% of professionals prefer to embark on learning at their own pace.
Not only that, as the materials of self-paced learning are usually recorded once and uploaded online, there is no limit to how many people can access it.
Multitudes oManyf people no longer have to gather at a specific location and timing to receive training from professional trainers. All the content is permanently uploaded, and it can be reused at any time.
This not only saves time, but it also dramatically saves costs as hiring trainers for multiple sessions is not very cost-effective.
One possible concern managers may have the trackability of it. Since the materials of self-paced learning are expected to be countless, employees might not be able to fully recall which topics they had and had not learned, thus tracking aretheitheirr learning progress.
Moreover, managers may think that as self-paced learning is all done individually without the direct supervision of the managers, they won’t be able to know whether the employees are utilizing the materials provided and whether they are participating in the process.
However, managers and employees can rest assured that this is not a problem.
Ultimately, most self-paced learning programs are combined with management platforms that allow managers to monitor their employees’ progress and completion rates. Some are already equipped with features that provide individual users with reports of their learning progress.
When individuals are given more autonomy over what they are learning, it increases their ownership and accountability. This helps them gain clarity in the goals that they want to pursue, but it also helps to drive their motivation in this whole learning journey. This in itself is a form of professional development.
With more precise goals, decision-making becomes effective, efficient, and accessible. They know what they need to work on and what is unnecessary. This eliminates a vast inefficiency that comes along with other ways of learning.
Self-paced learning is not fully self-guided
Those who might worry about not finding the suitable materials or deciding on the relevant topics to learn location don’t have to worry because most self-paced programs offer a suggested curriculum that the users can start with.
Thus from this starting point, they can try to gauge their capabilities, skip the ones that they have prior knowledge on while delving deeper into topics they have never learned before and are curious about.
What tool should I use to deliver these materials?
The best way to scale the delivery of your self-learning program is to use an efficient tool that allows you to distribute the learning content to the relevant group of people.
Using a Learning Experience Platform like Necole is your best option here. Most LXPs come with a ready library of self-learning content already available on the platform while allowing you to upload your content, customize your groups and delivery, and monitor the progress of your team and company.
How do I start applying self-paced learning?
Assuming you’re building your self-learning development programme, you will first need to gather all the necessary materials, such as online tools and recorded training sessions. Make sure to include several different learning methods, e.g., reading content, video content, podcasts, and case studies, to appeal to your company’s different types of learners.
Next, draw out the sequence in which the self-paced program will be delivered. You may need to empathize with your employees to draw out the best arrangement and path that fits your employees the most.
The best way to start your delivery is to test it out on a pilot group of staff and monitor their progress. Get feedback on any hiccups or areas of improvement, and make the necessary iterations to address these loopholes.
You may need to repeat this process several times before you come up with a coherent course. Just remember to adjust your expectations (and any other stakeholders for that matter) that this is a process that takes time. A program that is developed slowly and carefully is much better than a program developed quickly and hastily.
Once the major issues of the program are resolved, you can start introducing this program to more employees while continuously enhancing it to enrich your course or update it with the newest information.
Remember, there is no one method of learning that is superior to all. The key is to monitor and never stop improving continuously.