How to Promote Self Directed Learning Strategies

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The fight with self directed learning strategies has been a long one, and to be honest, it’s definitely not resolved yet. The desire to implement training systems that allow them to manage it themselves, under their own initiative is a holy grail that just isn’t perfectly possible right now. Software is emerging that makes self directed learning strategies more viable, but that only solves the technical and logistical aspects of it, and none of the human ones. Well, that’s a problem isn’t it? The Concession: Well, the thing is, first of all, that you can’t have pure self direction in training. At some level, there has to be a teacher and student relationship, and if it’s in an organization, a student body relationship as well. This makes it sound like self direction isn’t practical, but that’s not true. In fact, the limit to how far “self” can go is a benefit to this kind of approach, in the long run. You’ll see why in a minute. Gamification: Engagement and motivation are the biggest problems with self learning. Getting them to get the work done if you’re not on top of them, and to actually be good judges of their own progress is tough. Gamification is the idea of applying a mask of game play over the learning process. Progress becomes levels, courses and tests become quests, and rewards of status and privilege, as in a game, come with this progress. You can add a bit of abstraction to gamification, and make it as much of a game as possible, if you want to go wild! Periodical Organizational Flipped Classroom: That was a mouthful wasn’t it? The idea here is that every so many days, in a long term training project, that you actually have everyone come in as an organizational learning group with a flipped classroom model. This motivates some to catch up, others by showing they’ve advanced, and allows them all to meet mutual goals by helping one another. WalkMe: This one is the tool that will allow self learning to even take place in technical training especially. This is a tutorial creation program which allows you to create applets which integrate into interfaces. They can deduce user activity like confusion and progress by monitoring the user’s actions. Point and click programming allows it to act logically on this information to correct mistakes, make suggestions and guide the user’s experience through the most complex processes ever dreamed of. This allows individual learners to have a virtual guide who takes them through it until they have it down. It also allows real work to be done as they practice and learn. This software is ridiculously helpful. Without it, this entire model would never work. Conclusion: Well, you have incentive and engagement with gamification, which drives them to work harder to meet goals and progress through the game. On top of that, you have the periodical meetings where the gamers compare scores, and insufficiency and success both motivate across the board. Finally, you have the software that can allow training on a single handed basis. And with all of this, self directed learning strategies are now entirely possible, and not nearly as difficult as you originally thought.

Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog