Tag: L&D

09 May 2022
self directed learning

What is self-directed learning, and how can it help? 

These days, companies are focusing so much on making employees feel valued in an organization. Making them get better at what they do by allowing self-directed learning is a part of such appreciation.

Self-directed learning can help companies give much-needed encouragement to employees. Employees have become more oriented towards their careers nowadays. There is a considerable difference between the employees of earlier generations and those of today. Generation Z prefers learning through its ways, which has intensified because it has so many sources.

It has smartphones that have Social Media and YouTube available for it to absorb information.

Self-directed learning makes sure that the company does not restrict the employees from completing their eLearning modules within a certain time. Self-directed learning also helps companies save money on supervising the learning activities like tracking the LMS activities of employees.

What is self-directed learning?

In broad terms, self-directed learning means a learning process in which people take the liberty themselves to evaluate what they need to learn and, hence, decide their objectives for the process.

Once they have decided on their goals, they evaluate what resources are available at their disposal, both human and nonhuman. Henceforth they create some learning methods and check whether they have learned enough.

Direct learning, where a teacher gives students instructions, is completely different from this concept, where students only consult teachers when they have problems.

In a hybrid workplace where remote employees can’t come to the office to attend lectures, self-directed learning is an important solution. The main goal behind self-directed learning is to boost the confidence of learners. They decide their learning topics without being forced by the organization.

Hence their levels of interest in this process are better. They also have to take responsibility for meeting their learning objectives because they choose the learning topics themselves. When learners don’t fail after learning something in a formal training environment, the L&D department is blamed for not choosing the right topics.

Self-directed learning also makes sure that employees don’t resign because they can’t keep up with the training schedules of the company.

In self-directed learning, learners have complete autonomy for upskilling or reskilling themselves. Once a company introduces a culture of self-directed learning, it should be ready to reap its benefits in the long run. Such learning improves the technical and communication skills of employees, but it also makes them ready to battle any change in technology through such learning. They embark on a road of self-discovery and self-reliance. Companies with such individuals can expect the latter to upgrade their skills whenever needed.

Also, individuals don’t like to attend classes like young children after a certain age, unlike in self-directed learning.

Its most important benefit is:

Reduced work for L&D: The L&D teams also benefit from such autonomy given to the learners because it saves their time in planning learning schedules for employees. Instead, they get feedback from learners about whether they need more resources to support their learning. If the employees need access to more experienced persons or books for self-directed learning, HR can arrange that.

But organizations also have to see to it that when they are guiding employees towards self-directed learning, certain elements are taken care of:

  • Proper learning technologies: The organization must have proper learning technologies like the LMS so that the employees can embark on these self-directed learning paths. Hence, the companies must ensure that the employees have access to the organizational library of resources, including senior managers. Discussion forums can be set up for communication between the inexperienced and the veterans in the workplace.

    Such resources include human beings and technical assets, such as simulations and animated videos offering instructions for different procedures. When employees have such resources, they can easily learn independently without requiring an instructor.

  • Raising a need for such learning: Apart from providing access to resources for self-directed learning, it’s also the organization’s job to see whether the employees feel a need for it. That’s why employees have to be given an idea of their knowledge gaps through scenarios with similar job roles as theirs. The employees should be given continuous feedback by employers on their performances rather than yearly or six-monthly feedback to understand their gaps. Learners could be given skill blocks developed by their seniors, but the level of the block to be mastered by them must depend on their tenure in the company.

A company has to understand that self-directed learning is so crucial in a company because everyone has a different learning path depending on their intended growth trajectory. Everyone cannot be taught through a homogeneous course that presents everyone with the same material.

Hence this is how an organization can excel at self-directed learning.


04 May 2022

Why should L&D (Learning & Development) focus on podcasts? Are videos not enough?  

The L&D industry is getting revolutionized now. Employees are getting incentivized in every way to receive training with pleasure.

Podcasts are prerecorded audios, and many people find them a better way to increase their knowledge base without straining their eyes. Moreover, many important guests can become a part of such a podcast, and apart from listening to the host, you can also get their opinions on a topic.

Podcasts can be a useful resource for a company when its employees are coming back from work because instead of listening to a music channel in the car, they can listen to a podcast. Bluetooth enabled headphones have been invented, and you can easily listen to podcasts while driving the car.

But all knowledge cannot be delivered when it is a podcast because the listener might have questions they cannot ask. They must email the L&D personnel to ask such questions. But there is also an advantage that such podcasts are prerecorded because they can be recorded multiple times before perfection is attained. Hence, there is no irrelevant content in such podcasts because the host knows that anything, not fitting in won’t interest the audience.

Podcasts have become a true need of the learners because the pandemic still exists. So, it is the best way to train remote employees who cannot be called to the office. They can understand the company rules through a podcast and later post their queries to HR (Human Resources). These are the reasons why podcasts are getting popular:

  • Increase in podcast users

There is also a surge in the number of podcast users. US citizens have been taking a keen interest in learning through podcasts. The estimated growth of podcast listeners will be up to 125 million by 2022. The remote employees find podcasts an excellent way to assimilate knowledge when doing the mandatory household chores.

Also, more and more employees are shifting to work from the home method, they have become so attuned to it during the pandemic.

Due to the pandemic, workers are still working from home because of the Omicron variant. There is a nationwide rise in Omicron cases in the US. At the end of April, these cases had increased in all of the US, barring three states. Apart from the pandemic, remote work is still happening because people feel inclined for it now apart from their relocation to another area. Hence, it is not possible to work from the office. The pandemic in 2020 has awakened people to the benefits of working from home. So, the remote work option is here to stay.

Moreover, podcasts are ideal for connecting with remote employees who feel annoyed because they never interact with their fellow workers. They might need a personal touch in communication included in a podcast, especially when they are addressed by the HR or the company leaders about their key goals.

  • Better retention of podcasts

Podcasts are getting popular because they do not contain any graphic content and are easier to retain.

Podcasts can also engage the employees much more than documentation. They might not have the patience to go through PDF manuals and emails, but a podcast is not boring for them. It has been revealed that documentation has lesser engagement rates, but podcasts have 60% engagement. It has been proved that podcasts have better comprehension rates than written text. People understand 38% of the material in podcasts, rather than only 7% in written text.

So, the L&D department must ensure that podcasts are result-oriented to deliver urgent information like compliance changes.

How should the podcasts be created?

A Podcast’s success depends on the host’s hard work.

Selecting the right speakers: The podcasts can include many insights when the industry leaders are called. In training audio, people want to hear the reasonable opinions of those not at the C-suite level positions. Podcasts can feature anyone, be it frontline workers who understand the problems of a common employee. The success of a podcast depends on a host’s expertise in the matter so that he can ask very expansive questions from the leaders. He can make sure listeners hear the answers to the most relatable problems in their work domain.

Before recording a podcast, it’s also crucial to see that the guests called to contribute must be the most relevant experts on the subject. The guests must be recognized in their field, like writing a PhD dissertation. So, such guests might take some time to fix their time for the podcast, but booking them is essential for its success. The L&D professional must ensure that such guests are approached well to get their confirmation.

Every podcast episode must have a theme introduced at the beginning, so the listeners know what’s in store for them.

The podcasts meant for employees are excellent for training them because they contain information about relevant changes in the company and political and economic conditions affecting the business. They can also contain inspiring messages during critical times.

Podcasts should be downloadable so that the employees can access them outside the office too. There should be a library of podcasts in which the users can search through keywords. The users must also get regular updates when a new podcast series episode is launched.

Are podcasts the perfect way of training? Depends on the situation

There are also limitations on whether podcasts are suitable for all forms of information. It must contain a story for a podcast to be interesting. All subjects don’t lend themselves to a storytelling format, except historical knowledge. For example, a podcast is insufficient when explaining human anatomy to a medical intern because graphics like video and images are required.

Hence, eLearning forms a better option in this case. Podcasts have the highest accessibility out of all the eLearning formats because you can’t watch a video while jogging, but this is not so with a podcast. So, an L&D professional must have experience in developing podcasts. However, podcasts do not have interactivities, so how much information the user has retained after listening to them cannot be tested.

04 Mar 2022

How can L&D give any results? 

Elearning is now getting implemented by every company to upskill the workforce. But is it yielding the results it should? It isn’t.

Well, in a survey done by the Harvard Business Review, which included 1500 managers, 75% were not happy with the learning and development(L&D) provided by their companies.

And a large majority of them didn’t believe that they had the requisite skills for their jobs. So, is eLearning justifying the purpose for which it is getting implemented?

So, the eLearning developers should focus on certain things when trying to develop content for the employees:

  • Easy to use technology

The learning must include technology, but it should also focus on learners’ abilities. The learners must not feel that the technology impedes their learning. Instead, the learners must comprehend the technology in the course and use it seamlessly. When they can’t, eLearning is futile for them. If understanding the technical aspects of the course seems cumbersome to the learners, then it’s as tedious for them as attending a course in person. So, they might as well skip the eLearning course just like an in-person synchronous training course.

  • Least downtime

Managers in implementing eLearning aim to ensure that downtime is not caused. But when workers are going through eLearning, downtime is caused. So the eLearning department must see that it is as low as possible. Why would a company want downtime when it leads to reduced profits because workers are not contributing anything.

The eLearning department should ensure that the company does not enforce downtime during eLearning activities, and it should reduce the daily work hours for such activities.

  • Focus on changing employees’ performance

Although eLearning aims to increase profits, it deviates from that purpose when the employees pursue such courses, but the results don’t speak for themselves. So, apart from the costs incurred in developing such courses, the employee downtime proves to be a waste of time too when they have not changed their work performance. Hence, learning should aim to improve the employees learning at level 3 of the Kirkpatrick taxonomy because it can only determine whether the e-learning has caused any change in employees’ behavior at the workplace. Hence instead of wasting time on including extraneous knowledge in the course, eLearning should only impart essential knowledge. The objective of an eLearning course should be to improve learners’ skills, not just make them gain information.

What is Lean learning?

Lean learning has three dimensions, including the support streamlining and simplification of Learning and Development procedures.

So, the L&D department must ensure that lean learning is there, which implies that there is no wastage in the learning process in choosing the wrong audience, the wrong time, and the wrong quantity. When anything is not apt, it leads to so many unjustified extra costs for the organization.

What are the components of lean learning?

  1. Support

    Hence, adequate support must be provided to the learning and development department to provide the correct learning environment. Hence, their equipment must be correct and free from any faults. Furthermore, such departments must abstain from putting any extra burden on the learners because it means introducing variations in the course, which is useless if learners are forced to learn at rates faster than required or possible by their natural tendencies, it’s an overburden for them which ain’t possible without changing the e-learning content.

  2. Streamlining

    Streamlining is another practical concept in the learning and development domain. Its because the learners need to experience prioritized learning. They must be given the JIT mode of delivery rather than making them learn all the time. There must be a thought process behind why learners are taught about anything.

  3. Simplification

    Last is the simplification in eLearning, which implies that the L&D department must be conscious of the resources expended to create such courses. Hence, the main objective is to ensure no bottlenecks arise in the e-learning content design and development. When the L&D department tries to include efficiency in all the stages of the eLearning process, it can lead to a faster outcome for the end customer, who can be another department or an external client. So, before starting an e-learning process, it’s essential to go through all the stages and recognize those that can cause delays.

    For simplification, it’s reasonably necessary that the end product is shown to the stakeholders after a brief time because changes can be made quickly. Customers also feel appreciated when the end product is given to them within a deadline. On the other hand, if it takes time, the customer will give feedback decisions later. And the product might no longer meet their needs which changed due to a prolonged development time. Hence for better feedback and rectifications, the iterations in product development cycles should be short. Sometimes, elearning is so delayed that it does not fulfill customer expectations.
    Moreover, whether these are internal or external learning requirements, the truth is that the companies must assure simplification so that no waste of time occurs during the design or development process, which ensures a swift delivery.

Hence there are the following 7 principles of lean learning as follows:

  1. Eradicate waste: First of all, the L&D department should detect all those procedures which can’t affect the eLearning outcome. For example, there can be content production, which is not required at all (overproduction). Hence it’s the job of such a department to plan the content needs. There might be some processes in the eLearning design and development that can be done without.
  2. Strengthen learning: The learning and development should be one in iterative cycles. The end consumers of such learning activities should also be included because the end product is much better. The departments and customers work together, and their combined experience is put to good use.
  3. Take decisions after facts emerge: The L&D department should take plan learning judiciously. It should not be a rash decision to implement e-learning. The decision about the training topic should be delayed based on facts. Hence when specific changes have happened in the business environment necessitating eLearning, it should only be planned rather than based on assumptions about the future.
  4. Quicker delivery: The eLearning company must also provide results as swiftly as possible. Its because customer feedback should be received at a particular stage. When the product development does not happen in an iterative cycle, it can cause a slow delivery leading to the inability to implement customer feedback because the entire product has to be modified.
  5. Allow L&D to gain experience: L&D professionals must also have experience. Its important because that means no disturbance from the management, which implies that the former can do their work at their pace because management trusts them. They also stay motivated because the management has faith in them and can perform the tasks required for the eLearning job. The eLearning department must be encouraged to get a lot of experience to avoid any interference by the management.
  6. Encourage Integrity: The L&D department must work together with employees/learners because, once this way, they can solve problems in the eLearning content. When they receive information sequentially in batches, it makes sure no stress is caused when information is received in copious amounts by either party.
  7. See the large picture: Similarly, there must be interactions between different vendors who are included in the L&D department because when there are not, they produce outputs that can’t be used together. Hence there can be defects in the end output. Such communication is essential for large L&D departments where there are so many parties involved in creating the result.

In the end:

The main crux of lean learning is that the L&D department must use common sense and learn swiftly from its mistakes apart from implementing quickly.




He was a German psychologist who is known for discovering the forgetting curve. According to this curve, the biggest decline in memory happens within 20 minutes, and then 1 hour.