Benefits of Self-Directed Learning: Organization

by Dana Skiff on June 29, 2009

There are several distinct benefits of SDL for the organization. Among them are:

  1. SDL can help identify an organization’s “A” players.

SDL requires initiative. Individuals who show initiative in undertaking their own SDL program are motivated, confident self-starters. Certainly they would evidence motivation, interest and behaviors in their jobs similar to “A” players.

  1. SDL minimizes the issue of transfer of learning.

The transfer of learning to the workplace is a significant issue for traditional training, an issue that is not always recognized or addressed. This is not the case with SDL, however. When an employee undertakes an SDL project to meet current job/career related needs, there is a high degree of probability that what is learned will be immediately applied and used on the job. This is frequently not true of the current traditional approaches to learning.

  1. SDL is compatible with traditional training programs.

SDL and traditional training are not mutually exclusive. The case for SDL is not either SDL or traditional training, but rather, both. Just because a company supports SDL does not mean that its investment in traditional training is lost or becomes a liability. In fact, the case for SDL is strongest when traditional training does not meet employee learning needs.

  1. SDL can be implemented with minimal expense.

Many learning projects will cost nothing. Relatively speaking, project costs will be minimal. For example, instead of incurring costs for travel, hotels, instructor and participant salaries, etc. to support instructor-led programs, the company will incur many small, discreet costs (e.g., a book, an article reprint, a course tuition, etc.) on an individual employee basis as opposed to a course basis for large groups of employees. Research indicates the total of such SDL costs should be far less than the budgets needed now to support traditional training programs. Salaries for personnel would not really be an additional expense as existing trainers and managers would be transitioned to the role of SDL coaches.

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