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Self-paced courses have become quite popular in the learning fraternity. Research indicates that by 2020, 98 percent of the organizations will be actively using e-learning. HRs, learners, organizations at large are employing this methodology to meet their learning needs. But the question here is whether learning needs are being met. Are learners even completing these courses?
The benefits of convenience, flexibility and cost-effectiveness have drawn individuals and organizations alike to self-paced learning, much like a moth to the flame. But are these benefits a reason enough to start and more importantly, complete a self-paced course? Since self-paced courses give ownership of learning to learners, there are a few questions to be answered by learners before one embarks on the journey of a self-paced course. The key here is determining the ‘drive’ to learn before you dive into the process.
Will this course help me get a promotion?
As a learner, understanding whether the acquisition of a certain skill or gathering knowledge about a specific subject is needed to be promoted or given additional responsibilities. If so, the drive to complete a course is significantly higher as learning becomes a stepping stone or moving to another rung on the career ladder.
Will this course help me do better at my current role?
Learning a new skill or strengthening an existing skill for the current role and leveraging it at work for increased productivity and engagement could certainly be a determinant for completing a self-paced course. Knowing the benefits of learning from a specific self-paced course that becomes a value-add at work is motivation enough to stay on track and finish it.
Will this course be useful in building my expertise/ credibility?
As a professional’s career graph progresses, it is imperative for individuals to raise the bar to their credibility. Credibility of a person is valued based on cumulative elements like integrity, competence, sound judgement, empathy and likeability. If a self-paced course is serving these means, then taking it up and pursuing it till the end is a deep motivator to stay hooked.
Will this course support my endeavour of continuous learning?
Certain individuals are on a constant learning spree; anything that adds value and momentum to their endeavour of continuous learning is a winner in their book. (Read more – why we find most of them turning to Wikipedia and Google) Thus, picking a self-paced course that fulfils this criterion is necessary. Then, it will certainly be completed.
While these are few questions that can help you determine your drive for pursuing a self-paced course, there could be other ways too like discussing with a mentor, manager or peer for understanding and helping you conclude – why you need a specific course.
Discovering and understanding the ‘why’ is the key to pursuing a self-led course where there is no external pressure or commitments to push and urge you towards completion. This learning methodology is also a popular choice for making individuals responsible as the onus lies entirely with them.
Put the reason on a post-it and place it on your ‘wonderwall’ or ‘dream wall’. A wonderwall or dream wall is where you make a mark or sign about everything you want to do/ achieve/ acquire. Making a little note of it on this wall and looking at it day after day, nudges you to follow through your decision of finishing the course. It certainly works!
While learners are now increasingly taking over the responsibility of their own learning, creating or curating any learning intervention, including a self-paced course is in the scope of L&D professionals and instructional designers. This shift in the learning process doesn’t take away from the fact that many times learners aren’t entirely aware of the learning they lack or need. Therefore, L&D teams are still responsible for ensuring that learners embark on learning that they want, but also that they NEED.
In subsequent blog posts, we will address how the role of L&D professionals alter in the face of the increasing popularity of self-paced courses, what L&D professionals need to keep in mind when designing winning self-paced courses, and how L&D professionals can facilitate learning through self-paced learning courses.
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