Should Employees Choose Their Own Educational Opportunities?

However, the education conversation is shifting. Is a total top-down framework the most effective method of learning? Does it ensure maximum engagement and retention? We consider the science behind adult learning, and how you can use it to get the best results from your professional development program.

How Adults Learn Best

Adult learners benefit from a diversified, personalized learning experience. The theories behind andragogy, the method for teaching adults, promote two key variables for effective learning:

  • fostering a deep-rooted motivation to learn
  • offering learners a choice in what to learn

For example, a manager in a multinational organization may decide that added language skills will improve their employees’ performance. At work, employees face language barriers daily. If encouraged to reflect on the areas they need to improve, they would likely autonomously choose to learn a new language.

When delivering corporate training, managers and leaders want to promote an environment where learners are actively finding answers to real world problems they face in their everyday lives. Instead of mandating what employees must learn, try letting them choose what to learn based on their own professional needs. This will ensure deeper engagement and motivation. And if thoughtful introspection is encouraged, staff are likely to identify the same gaps in their knowledge as their managers have.

How Blended Learning Solutions Can Help

Allowing learners to make thoughtful decisions about what and when they learn is easier than ever before. With blended learning solutions, learning isn’t restricted to the classroom anymore. With an Internet connection and mobile devices, you can access skills training from any location.

This 21st century online learning format is empowering learners to determine what they need to master, and tailor how and when to learn it so that it fits in their busy lives. This mitigates scheduling issues, and allows learning to reach team members who are spread across the globe.

When employees have the freedom and choice to improve their performance in ways that fit their busy lives, they are more motivated to succeed than if their coursework is mandated by their managers. Effective and empowering learning practices can do more than train workers: they also help build employee engagement, which is pivotal to corporate success.

When you’re developing a workforce, professional development and corporate training isn’t just about building functional skills of employees. Corporate learning is also about building company culture, fostering engagement and equipping workers with the skills they need to continually learn or move within a company. This builds loyalty and encourages employees to stay with their current employer, reducing challenges around employee retention.

[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]A leader of professional development should inspire curiosity and self-reflection[/clickandtweet], and provide the necessary tools for learning. This will motivate professionals to discover new ways to learn each time they come to an area of their job they need to improve. Ultimately, it will result in improved job performance. Employees who are able to self-reflect and improve their work ultimately bring an important contribution to overall business performance—and that’s good for everyone involved.

Learn how to further motivate your employees and what the latest trends in e-learning and talent management practices are by downloading one of the Speexx White Papers.

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Photo: Guillermo Riquelme