Social Media and Self Directed Learning

By Posted in - General HR Topics & Social Media on December 18th, 2014 2 Comments

Self-directed learning is an adult education concept that has been around for some time. In 1975, Malcolm Knowles provided the following definition:

“In its broadest meaning, ’self-directed learning’ describes a process by which individuals take the initiative, with our without the assistance of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identify human and material resources for learning, choosing and implement appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes.” .

Organizations have tried to adopt this approach as a strategy for developing internal talent in an efficient and effective manner but have met with limited success. There simply has not been the tools available to support this strategy. Technology can solve this problem by providing a social learning online environment.

Social Learning Online Environment

Self-direction does not mean the learner learns alone or in isolation. Learning from peers and mentors is critical to success. A social media environment can be leveraged to offer a broad range of learning experiences in an online format. Key aspects of this environment would include:

Goal setting – Good goal setting involves specificity and communication. Learners should be able to publish their learning goals to individuals who are able and willing to support them. These individuals should in turn be able to offer feedback on the quality of the goal statements.

Facilitative interactions – It is important to create “development circles” for your goals. Development circles are private networks of individuals who are uniquely qualified to provide feedback, support, resources, and encouragement. Leaning on the people in your personal network and supporting them in turn for their development is a key aspect of self-directed learning. Online mentors are another key component of facilitative interactions.

Resource support – An ideal online environment would provide courses and other developmental content organized in a manner that facilitates easy search and filtering capabilities to find content relevant to personal goals. Developmental content should be organized and structured in a way that matches learner interests.

Progress evaluation – Tracking your progress is essential. Tracking results should be built into the system and progress checks should be a routine component of the social interaction around development goals. These checks should be viewable in the form of a progress timeline graph.

Recognition – Members of the social community should be able to publish completed goals to their profile and receive recognition of their learning accomplishments.

OMNIview provides both private and public social learning communities for employers and individuals. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you effectively implement a self-directed learning solution.

Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

About Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

Patrick Hauenstein is the President and Chief Science Officer for OMNIview. During his free time Pat likes to cook. He is particularly fond of traditional southern cuisine. Pat is also an animal lover ...
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