Traditional training programs are often planned by an instructor with little or no input from the learner. In such programs, the learning activities may not cater to the learner’s learning style or contribute to his or her professional development goals. Self-directed, competency-based training requires that learners take responsibility for their own learning. A learner is partnered with the learning supervisor in assessing the gaps in learner’s skill set. Together, they select the best ways to bridge those gapsaccording to the learner’s goals and learning preferences.

The Competency Group firmly believes that, when learners are engaged in their own learning, they are more likely to improve their skills and apply these skills in the workplace. Foundational to our approach is Self-directed Learning: A Guide for Learners and Teachers by Malcolm Knowles, a renowned expert in adult education. Over the years, our team has helped many organizations successfully engage their employees in self-directed learning programs.

So, what is involved in the development of a self-directed learning program?

  • We develop a competency map to identify the general areas of competency and the specific skills, knowledge, abilities, and behaviours required to operate effectively in a specific occupation.
  • We develop training modules based on the individual skills in the competency map. These modules detail learning objectives, suggested learning activities, and additional learning resources.
  • The learner reviews the learning modules that address his or her skills gaps. The learner, in collaboration with a learning supervisor, draws upon the suggested learning activities to decide on a learning plan that fulfills the learning objectives of the module.
  • The learner completes the learning plan and a performance assessment rating, which is then reviewed by the learning supervisor.
  • Under the guidance of the learning supervisor, the learner completes the modules that address his or her skills gaps.

The Competency Group’s approach to developing self-directed learning programs emphasizes the development of real-world skills that can be directly applied to tasks or problems that the learner encounters on the job. The learner’s involvement in developing a unique learning plan enhances his or her training buy-in. As learners progress through the program material, they are also honing their ability to learn additional material in the future. Self-directed learning is an important part of competency-based training and is, therefore, beneficial for both the employer and the employee.

How We Can Help

The Competency Group can help your organization from start to finish – from competency mapping to the development of training modules to coaching you on how to use self-directed learning programs.