Learning.africa

Employee-driven learning: 4 tips for facilitating freedom

The workplace is changing quickly. Talent development looks a lot different than it used to. People are more independent.

Smart investment that boosts employee engagement and retention and ensures the content your people consume is applied back on the job is more important than ever. According to one recent survey, 67% of HR managers saw training budgets growing in 2022.

How can talent leaders be sure they’ll get a good return? To get the most from your L&D, it makes sense to double down on employee-driven learning.

What is employee-driven learning?

Employee-driven learning is a model of self-directed development that empowers people to make their own choices and take responsibility for their own progress. It does this by helping people focus on their own interests and ambitions.

Unlike traditional learning models such as classroom sessions or prescribed courses, self-directed development encourages people to evaluate their needs, set goals, choose the resources most helpful to them and formulate their own strategy.

Ultimately, it means giving people options - including how and when learning occurs.
Employee-driven learning is more effective.

Letting your people take control helps you build a culture of learning that motivates and enables - supporting a workforce of people skilled for the jobs they have today and those they want for tomorrow. The advantages are numerous:
  • Employee-driven learning accommodates every type of learner.
One-size-fits-all solutions aren’t effective for everyone. Some people learn best from traditional lectures. Others from infographics or video demonstrations. Still others prefer reading articles or taking a hands-on, experiential approach.

When you give employees options and a variety of resources - and the freedom to choose what and how they learn - they can engage in ways most effective for them. Choice promotes engagement. You’ll be inspiring your people to be curious and, perhaps more importantly, responsible.
  • Passion drives effective learning.
When people form an emotional connection to a piece of content or educational material, they’re more likely to retain information about it. According to neuroscience research, people remember information better when it’s connected to something they already know and care about. This is why marketers use storytelling to sell products and services.

In this age of broad information access, people are accustomed to searching for and consuming information on topics they’re passionate about - like baking, day trading and countless other subjects - using sites like Google and Youtube.

Giving employees the latitude to pursue professional topics in the same manner they pursue their hobbies - whether it’s leadership skills, time management or new programming languages - is just as effective as the learning they do in their free time.
  • Buy-in boosts retention.
Employees are more likely to be loyal to an organisation that values their development. Indeed, a lack of learning opportunities regularly ranks as one of the top reasons people leave one company for another.

Employees want training, and they want that training to be geared toward their individual needs. Over 75% of employees say they want training that is tailored to their personal career goals.

Let learners tell you what matters and you’ll reduce costly employee turnover.

4 tips for facilitating freedom

Incorporating autonomy and choice into your training strategy might seem tricky. But with the right approach, you can help in a few key ways:

1. Employ the 70-20-10 model

Only 10% of learning happens during actual coursework. The rest happens with ongoing coaching and mentoring (20%) and on-the-job experiential learning (70%).

Make sure your strategy reflects the 70-20-10 model.

In addition, help managers understand their direct reports’ goals. This will ensure managers can coach people as needed. Incorporate action plans into development so employees consciously prepare for how they’ll apply new skills on the job.

2. Find the right technology

Seek a dynamic learning solution that supports tailored learning paths. A good learning experience platform (LXP) can integrate other learning platforms and all their content. The right platform will also track learning progress and make recommendations.

When Cisco leadership wanted to boost employee-driven learning, the company used Degreed, which tracked employee learning across multiple platforms. One centralised login made it intuitive for people to see all the options and for Cisco to recommend curated learning paths. The right platform gave employees access to the right content and increased learning engagement.

3. Use your existing content

As companies transition to virtual learning programs, they have greater flexibility and access to more content. Expand your course offerings by tapping into existing online training materials.

A lot of quality content exists out there already, developed by L&D experts and ready to roll out. Give employees more dynamic choices by bringing together different learning platforms and making relevant topics available.

4. Give people options

People learn differently, so offer content across a range of media.

ATB Financial wanted to connect employees with relevant learning and resources that fit their personal workflow and learning patterns. Using Degreed, the company’s L&D team gave people courses as well as videos, articles, podcasts and more. This boosted engagement and got upskilling efforts on track.
Inspiration doesn’t happen on its own.

The right LXP will provide your people with the resources they need to learn, remember and apply.

Useful resources:
Degreed
Degreed is the workforce upskilling platform for one in three Fortune 50 companies. We integrate and curate all the resources people use to learn - including learning management systems and millions of courses, videos, articles, books, and podcasts.
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