Why individuals need to be self-managed learners – and how to build the new skills

2017 UPDATE: Find out more in my book, Learning in the Modern Workplace 2017
man-335401_6401-300x216In my previous blog post I talked about why ORGANISATIONS need self-managed learners, so in this post I want to look at why INDIVIDUALS need to be self-managed learners.

The world is changing fast, and this is having an impact on the world of work. So, for instance, there is no such thing as a job for life – only a life of jobs. In fact is now estimated that current students will have more than 10 jobs by the time they are 38, and what is more, 47% of jobs are likely to be automated in the next 10 years (see Harold’s up date on jobs post for more on this). The half life of a piece of knowledge is also around 5 years, which means that for anyone entering the workforce, their college degree will likely be out of date long before the loan is paid off.

It’ll therefore be up to every individual to remain marketable and acquire new knowledge and skills – in order to keep their job or find a new one. This will be particularly important if they are working in organisations that only focus on training their people to do their jobs, rather than supporting their self-managed learning skills. But additionally, those organisations, who do value self-managed learning, will only hire people who can demonstrate well developed continuous learning skills – as they recognise the value that these people can bring to their business. So either way, being a self-managed learner is becoming a workplace imperative.

So what do these self-managed learning skills look like? Well they include things like ..

  • how to build and grow a trusted professional network of colleagues and contacts (aka personal learning network or PLN) w
  • how to search effectively for stuff on the Web – whether it be a course or a resource – and verify what you find
  • how to keep up to date with what is happening in your industry or profession
  • how to manage information overload – to filter out the signal from the noise
  • how to keep track of what you find
  • how to move from collecting dots to connecting the dots
  • how to reflect on, record and evidence what you are learning – through blogging and/or building a personal  portfolio
  • how to build your personal brand – and promote yourself in relevant social channels to market yourself internally or to new employers
  • how to “learn out loud” and add value to what you share – with your team, colleagues or professional network

But of course the most important thing to remember, is YOU own your learning and YOU manage your learning – not your organisation.

And how do you acquire these new skills?  Well, my Modern Digital Learning Skills for the Networked Age workshop is now available as an on demand, self-paced programme, so this might be a good place to start.

One final note: Workplace Learning Advisors – a new role I identified in my previous post – won’t be able to help their people develop these new skills, until they have acquired them and honed them, themselves.


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