Learner autonomy assists a pedagogical approach and gets people interested in what they are learning. Self-regulated learners are often adequately equipped for their jobs and life when they gain knowledge on their own.
Autonomous learning, also called independent learning, disregards the role of teachers, instructors, or learning administrators in corporate training and lets the employees design and pursue their learning process.
This teaching method is more about how a learner can take ownership of the learning, how they learn best, and how they set goals.
When leaders perceive learning independence as a natural process and guide it, there are many benefits. It helps you to find out what your teams are driven by. Ultimately, it enables you to improve the performance of both individuals and organizations and create more customer value. Corporate learning
How can leaders establish learner autonomy in their organizations?
Use a standard taxonomy to teach independence
It is challenging to devise a plan for an activity that people don’t entirely comprehend. What are you asking your team to understand or do when you discuss learning autonomy and ask your workforce to create skills in this area?
It’s essential to initiate a taxonomy so everyone on the team can talk about learning autonomy similarly. Malcolm Shepherd Knowles’ definition is our favorite. It covers everything and gives a simple outline that people can use as a guide.
Malcolm Knowles said that learning autonomy that is also called self-directed studying, is a procedure in which learners:
- Take the lead, even without help from other people
- Figure out what they require to learn
- Set goals for learning
- Discover learning resources
- Choose and use strategies for learning
- Measure the results of learning
You can use this description or look for one that fits your ideas about this topic better. You can also talk with your team regarding the meaning of learning autonomy and the aligned skill sets and attitudes.
The main goal is for everyone to agree on what’s learning autonomy and why it’s essential to put it into practice. After that, you can begin developing a framework for your company’s learning autonomy.
Set up the premise for learning to be independent
You can look for signs of independence when you hire people. Enquire about times when candidates had taken the initiative, dealt with problems, and made decisions on their own.
Seek more information about the ongoing activities in their field. They can talk about how they got good at what they did. You can get to know them better by asking about their passions or what they’ve learned recently.
Set a minimum amount of financial security
You need to ensure everyone on your team is happy with their pay and that it does not act as an obstacle in their journey of inspiration and desire to learn.
Highly driven and dedicated people prefer to put their goals ahead of money. But impartiality is what you want to achieve by giving them a compensation plan that matches their skills, job status, peers, organization, and market baselines.
Trust comes first
Everything we are discussing in this blog is built on the idea of trust. A rule that you can’t bend on with your teammates.
You recruited your team because you thought they could do a good job. You tell them that mistakes are a normal part of the learning curve.
Also, you should care about them as people and strive to build trust with them so that you can have serious conversations about their unique goals, intentions, and targets. Never think of faith as a one-time thing; instead, keep putting money into it.
You ought to realize that trust goes both ways. You should believe in the people on your team, and they should believe in you. In short, think of faith as a group effort. Trust between peers is just as important. Corporate training platform
Create a place where people feel safe
Psychological safety has a lot to do with how much trust you have in your team. You know that admitting you don’t know something takes some courage. You also understand that failure is always there when employees try to learn something new.
People aren’t very good at dealing with being weak and messing up. But the people in charge can make a huge difference. As leaders, you might not have enough control over how psychologically safe your organization is.
But you can make it happen in your teams. Failing is a standard part of learning; everyone needs to accept that.
Also, you should encourage people to try new things. Set up a way for employees to get help. Make it a part of how your teams work to give and receive feedback. A learning autonomy framework is safe from a psychological point of view.
Be an excellent example of learning on your own
If leaders aren’t self-directed learners themselves, nothing they do to help others learn on their own will work. Their team looks up to the leadership. Hence, you, as a leader, should:
- Show employees everything you want them to demonstrate
- Find out what you do well and where you can improve
- Describe your end mission and aims
- Try out different ways to learn and think about how you are doing
- In one-on-one conversations and public forums, you can talk about how you learned and what you did well
- Share the new attitudes and skills you’ve learned
Participate actively in training events and acquire the skills you want your teammates to master
Try out ways to encourage independence at each phase of the learning experience.
Deploy skills matrices
Demonstrate what skill sets and behaviors employees need to do their work well and which ones are voluntary. Use a measure such as the Dreyfuss Model to distinguish between different competency levels.
Use a combination of self-assessment and leadership evaluation to illustrate where employees are with every skill right now. Then, ask employees where they would like to be in six months or a year from now with this acquired knowledge.
At the close, you will have a complete map of where each person and the whole team is regarding their level of expertise. It will assist them in figuring out what they’re doing now and which skills they need to work on first.
Your crew is most likely to take the initiative in their self-improvement if they compare their current degree of competence to the predicted or desired level.
Make tasks and functions clear
Help people understand where they stand in their professions. Make demands and responsibilities clear. Leaders usually judge how well their team is doing depending on their performance in assigned roles.
However, to promote people’s independence, you should give them room to try out initiatives and abilities outside of their current role and crew.
Working toward their end goal may imply that a few things they need to do to get there are not part of their present job or team composition.
Make it clear how efficiency is measured
Your team should always know how their performance is being judged. State clearly how they will be evaluated on their effectiveness and how their hard work will be recognized.
Make it clear that judging effectiveness will be an ongoing process all year. With regular check-ins, you can be sure the team has enough time to figure out their performance levels and make changes.
Now, at the end of this stage, your crew should clearly understand what they need to learn. They will have:
- A chart of their skill sets and behaviors as they are now
- Clarity about what is expected of them in their position and how their work will be judged
- A lot of different feedback from many other people
All of the above will enable learners to view the patterns that deliver results and what steps they should take to do better.
It should ultimately help them see the difference between where they are now and where they want to be. Lastly, this prognosis will give you the energy and motivation to do things that will help you evolve as a role model in your firm.
Get the most out of mentoring
Autonomous students typically have their ways of finding mentors and getting in touch with them in areas where they want to improve.
If your team wants assistance, you should know about the different mentorship programs you can point them to. These include experienced in-house employees, peer-to-peer mentoring, or external hiring reputed coaches.
Check the results of learning
Autonomous learners keep track of activities and how what they’ve learned fits into their long-term goals. As a leader, you can do several things to help people figure out how far they’ve come.
During one-on-one meetings, check on how things are going. One-on-one meetings between a leader and an employee are a great place to discuss how well learning goals are being met. Encourage people to think about themselves and give more feedback during these sessions.
Encourage feedback from peers and important people. Peer and investor feedback can also show employees how well they have implemented their improvement plans.
Recognize improvement: personal competence is a running race, so be there for your employees as they go through it.
Notice how they have changed and what has happened as a result. Give them tasks and projects that will push them. This will demonstrate that you believe in the knowledge they have just gained. It will also give them chances to use their new skills in the real world.
During an employee’s performance review, you should tell them how well they did. Show people that the time and effort they have put into personal growth activities have led to changes in themselves and the organization. Show individuals that they are getting closer to what they want.
Learning autonomy is an individual process that is helped by leaders, peer groups, advisors, and communities. As leaders, you should do your part to build and keep an environment where individuals are responsible for their development.
You should agree on a prevalent taxonomy for self-directed learning. You should help your teams use various methodologies, routines, and procedures that can help employees learn on their own. Lastly, you must understand when it’s time to let go and allow your team complete learning autonomy!