Self-service is everywhere, from our banking through to will writing. We are increasingly looking at how we can be more self sufficient in what we do both in our personal lives and at work. However, when it comes to learning and our professional development, we still have a very traditional approach to what work place learning should look like.
So, what is Self-Service learning? Is it another L&D fad or another re-brand of “figure it out for yourself” learning?
What is self-service learning?
In a nutshell, it’s when people help themselves to the learning they need when they need it and are best in a position to learn.
The original concept as we would recognise it today, goes back to the self-improvement movements of the Victorian era as the working classes consciously strove to educate themselves further and improve their social standings. Evening classes at the local Carnegie library focused on work skills or general self-education and were structured around worker’s free time. They were key to Victorian learners accessing resources to help them there and then as well as in the future. Learners were driven and inquisitive, focused on filling gaps that they knew about as well as those they didn’t before they started learning.
Books and face to face lectures may seem old school today, but the philosophy of self-driven learning, accessed as and when you need it is still as relevant today as it was back in the 1870’s. So, what does it look like today? It can take many forms from random internet research for a project, listening to Pod casts, on-line learning to more structured dip in and out training that your company may offer as part of their wider learning and development program. It can focus on both job related and softer skills. Content can either be generic, available from a provider, or more bespoke and designed in house. Either way, it puts the learner in the driving seat.
Self-service learning can be great as it can:
In reality, it’s not so great when:
So where next?
On balance, self-service learning offers a great way to meet learning needs on the cheap and empower your team to continue to develop themselves. However, to really succeed, it needs to be supported by a culture that supports curiosity, continuous growth and employee driven career development. The very things that made the Victorian self-service learning “fad” boom!
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