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Leadership Tips: Create Self-Directed Learning Opportunities

Fierce Ideas (purple lightbulb)

Learning has always been a lifeline for me. Like many others in our digital age, I’m constantly looking for ways to learn throughout my day. When I ask my friend for a new workout at the gym, I’m learning something that will help me with my fitness goals. On my commute in, I watch videos and read articles on how to “up” my game in the latest digital marketing innovation. While thinking about what to cook for dinner, I search the web for a new recipe and watch short tutorials on how to prep. Throughout my day, the opportunity for micro-learning—small, bite-sized learning—shows up.

This micro-learning trend is showing up in the workplace too. We see a continued emphasis in the workplace for employees to drive their own learning, and more than ever in 2017.

Some of this is due to technology and ease of access, while some is a result of changing workplace demographics—millennials use technology to learn more than any other generation. Self-directed learning has been greatly explored by learning experts Towards Maturity. In their research, they found that 88% of participants learn more by finding things out for themselves, rather than through face-to-face training, and 87% know what they need to learn to do their job.

So I ask: are you discussing with your team members what they feel they need and want to learn? Are you encouraging them to find ways to do it?

This week’s tip is to foster the conversations necessary to make sure your team members are taking their learning into their own hands. For many leaders, this can feel overwhelming. And the reality is that many companies do not have the resources to create all the assets they would like for their employees’ learning. The upside? There are so many external access points to learning such as platforms like Udemy, meetup groups and professional associations events. Get curious and start to foster new thinking around learning.

Leaders who want to stay on top of this trend will need to put a greater focus on the conversations needed, and oftentimes, the skills to have these conversations need to be developed. We know this to be true from years of helping companies transform these conversations.

What will do you to increase learning opportunities this week?


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