1. Define self-directed learning, and describe how it can aid in team building.
Self-directed learning is best described as training that individuals can complete on their own. It often allows for people to work at their own pace (within reason, of course), and on their own time. Self-directed learning employs various types of learning technologies in order to effectively aid individuals in their training process. Self-directed learning often uses computers, DVDs, CD-Roms, and other learning technologies in order to convey information to the trainee. Videos and web-based learnings are often used since these do not require the time and energy of an employee to train new employees—or older employees learning new information. It makes a company better able to continue running while employees train, as time does not need to be set aside to train an entire department of people. The trainings can usually be done from home, too, so trainees can still devote their time AT work to working. Self-directed learning is also beneficial because it allows for some adaptability within the employee training programs —it is not necessary for a group of varied individuals to be gathered in a room and have everyone given the same training—despite learning style and level. Self-directed learning can also allow for immediate assessment of skills and knowledge acquired. It is a great way to help educate employees without losing the time and energy of employees whose attention could be focused elsewhere. Self-directed learning is helpful for team building because it allows for those who are further along in trainings to help those who may still be catching up. It also mitigates feelings of frustration felt by those who cannot quite keep up with those who learn more quickly. In the same regard, those who move more quickly will not need to slow down to accommodate others. All of which will lead to a more confident, cooperative team.
2. Technology and social media (LMS, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) are constantly changing, and it can be difficult for organizations to keep up and effectively use technology as a training tool. Choose one new piece of technology (within the last five years), and discuss the pros and cons of this technology as a learning tool. Give a specific example of how this tool can be used effectively to enhance effective learning.
It is true that changing technologies may make it difficult for a company to use said technologies effectively as training tools. Developing and implementing new training plans is time-consuming, and as quickly as a technology is developed, it can change, and just as quickly become obsolete. However, this does not mean that organizations should shy away from embracing these new technologies. Rather, organizations should do their best to understand, learn from, and grow with these technologies in order to use them as effectively as possible while they are able to do so. It may not seem obvious, but certain social media do lend themselves to working as learning tools. The social media platform Tumblr, for instance, if implemented correctly, could be greatly beneficial as a learning tool—in conjunction with others already in place in an organization’s training plan. Tumblr works like a blog-style website, but it includes various ways to quickly share links, videos, photos, audio, and connect with other blogs. All of the information can be cataloged for easy retrieval (by anyone on the website) through a tagging system. A company that really understands how best to use Tumblr’s features could see themselves with an enriching, interactive training program for its employees.
To begin with, Tumblr allows people to upload text posts of their own choosing and content. This means that if an employer is planning to integrate a new database system for their employees, they could make an introductory post about this. Then, they could tag this post with the words NEW DATABASE TRAINING. Within that post, they can urge their employees (who would also have to have their own Tumblr accounts) to “track” the NEW DATABASE TRAINING tag. Now, anything they want to inform their employees regarding the new system, they can just reuse this tag, and their employees will be alerted. This is a great way to keep information organized and accessible.
There are many other ways Tumblr can be helpful in training programs. Continuing with the NEW DATABASE example, if an employer wanted to upload a tutorial video, they could do this directly to Tumblr. Once its employees had viewed the video, they can reblog the post or reply directly to it with any questions or comments they may have. Other employees who follow the organization’s Tumblr (or track the NEW DATABASE TRAINING tag) can see these questions and respond to them. In this way, the team can be collaborative in their training. They can also reach out to one another on issues that may not need to involve their supervisors, but in using the NEW DATABASE TRAINING tag, the supervisors will still be able to be involved with the process.
If an individual or the organization is still having difficulty with the new database, they can use Tumblr to seek outside help. If, for example, the new database was called DataSearch, the employees could search the DataSearch tag, and find ANY post that ANYONE has made. They can, just like their own posts, reply directly to these posts and get outside information. Admittedly, this can become an issue because there aren’t many filters on Tumblr, so some of the information can be unnecessary or inaccurate, but a careful and conscientious individual (hopefully the case for all of an organization’s employees) will find more positives to negatives. As is the case for all new and evolving technologies, it is important that the users understand its scope and capabilities, with this in mind, Tumblr can be a very helpful online technology for a company and its employees.
Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development, fifth ed. Boston: Irwin/McGraw-Hill. (Original work published 1999)