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Personal and Professional Development

Self-managed learning is an individual activity that involves different techniques of learning new information from the society, family and friends, or at the workplace, which is a heterogeneous environment. The self-experience of a person and learning from others’ experience is also crucial in expanding the self-managed learning due to the fact that learning from experience brings additional benefits in expanding knowledge. Self-managed learning relates to setting of life-long goals for learning by evaluating the purpose of learning and exploring opportunities for accomplishment of such goals. Usually, people try to learn new issues from the phenomenal activities such as culture, behaviour, perceptions, and personality. Students can gain knowledge about new things not only in the classroom, but also from Internet, social-interaction, newspapers, friends, and environment. SML helps the individual in formulating his or her future strategy in the field of learning, enhancing wide array of skills, which further supports him or her in an academic career, professional and personal growth, or completing a project.

Approaches to Self-Managed Learning

Most students during their daily activities consume a considerable portion of time to acquire information from several sources and learning various skills, which increases their knowledge and competency. The fast growth in information technology, uninterrupted expansion of new knowledge in several disciplines, and an easy approach to acquire information necessitate that such acquisitions are essential to compete in the rapidly changing world. Much of this learning occurs due to the initiative of a learner, even though some opportunities are available through experience, interaction, and formal settings. The common definition for such activity is a self-directed learning.

Students receive many opportunities when they explore research in various disciplines or work on a project during their academic career in college or university, and also at the workplace. These activities assist in learning new techniques when they collect information from different channels such as questionnaires, interviews, which further helps in analysing data received from respondents. Conferences, exhibitions, and seminars are one of the appropriate learning platforms, which enhance self-directed learning.

 Individuals’ participation helps to acquire much knowledge from the experienced participants, because these activities provide a great opportunity to gain instant knowledge and implement necessary changes for the future life. These conferences and seminars help students in enhancing presentation skills and instil self-confidence in public debates, which are essential for the organisational activities.

Besides, several social networking sites have appeared on the Internet, specifically on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, where users spend plenty of time interacting with friends, acquiring new knowledge, sharing experience and information for mutual benefit, learning current happenings in the world, as well as reading blogs. Knowledge and experience of successful leaders and famous personalities are also available through the use of news groups and bulletin boards.

Furthermore, plenty of information exists on the Internet on any given subject. With the help of computer, students can learn and gather information from journals, articles, reviews written by famous authors concerning management studies, strategic and risk management, Human Resource Development, social movements in the society, etc. For exhibiting performance at the workplace, such knowledge is worth implementing.

Approaches to Lifelong Learning

In general, there are three approaches to lifelong learning: formal learning, non-formal learning, and informal learning.

Formal learningrefers to lifelong learning, which is extended form of formal learning during school and college. According to Livingstone, formal learning means an “age graded, formally certified system and hierarchically organised with designed programs to increase one’s competencies and knowledge for career development in adult life” . It is a systematic learning procedure within a structured and organised model such as formal education or job training, which is meant for learning. The educational institutes and training centres provide formal lifelong learning programs and courses such as graduation, post-graduation, MBA, PhD degrees, and, when extended to the adult years, it is known as continuing education. Thus, this system of learning establishes the tradition of formal lifelong learning.

Non-formal learning.In non-formal learning,the training centres or education institutes do not offer this type of learning and do not offer any formal certification. It consists of learning, structured in planned activities, which are not purposely designed for learning, but includes significant elements of learning. In other words, it is organised with a motive of learning personal goals, learning support, or learning with time, and is an intentional activityfrom the perspective of a learner. Usually, non-formal learning takes place outside of traditional learning institutes, but involves the individual’s own competence in identifying those activities that are ‘useful’ for learning. The most significant aspect remains to be acquisition of a new ways of knowledge and skills with one’s own initiative during the process of learning.

Finally, informal learningextends to learning resulting from daily events in life related to social activities, family, or at the workplace. It is not meant for learning objectives, learning support, and learning time, because it includes the presence of the non-intentional element. Needless to say, it is a tactic style of learning from the occurrence of everyday activities, which happen on a daily basis at home, in the cinema, at a workplace, in a library, concerts, museum, at a marketplace, on the playfield, as well as through various mass media channels. This style of learning is most helpful in adult lifelong learning.

The Benefits of Self-Managed Learning to You and Your Organisation

Many successful organisations realise that encouraging self-directed learning at the workplace is utmost essential to stay ahead in the competitive world. They recognise knowledge skills as perishable and understand that workforce should instil a tendency of continuous learning in their career-development process. As organisations believe in building cost-effective mechanism, highly responsive learning institutions, and flexible approaches to learning, they understand that involving technology reduces the provision of traditional training that demands workers to be more self-managed and competent.

Besides, as organisations prefer to become a model of learning institution, increasing learning potential at the individual level has become essential to achieve efficiency and in order to stay competitive in the market. In short, the self-directed learner is the cornerstone of the learning organisation. Furthermore, a considerable commercial benefit lies in encouraging employees to become efficient self-directed learners, because they can develop and follow their learning styles that will add a competitive advantage to the organization. Hence, competitiveness will be present without the need for whole learning to take place, when there is a direct training program. In the long run, dedication to self-directed learning offers benefits both to workers and the organisation.

Moreover, employees who know self-direction have a capability to build a communication network and are more likely to share expertise with others. However, the ultimate challenge continues in organisations is how to mobilise employees’ propensity to be self-directed learners and not to create barriers that discourage or prevent the process of self-learning.

Audit of the Skills Developed

Communication skills: Another area, in which has been noticed deficiency, is poor communication with co-workers, which sometimes creates misunderstanding with them. Communication skills are extremely essential in the career development and also extremely valuable for students. Both written and oral communication skills are necessary in becoming a successful leader and manager. Oral skills hold equal significance for an intelligent manager/leader to be an excellent orator, because proficiency in oral skills leads to successful persuasion. My workplace and college environment supports me in enhancing my oral skills by encouraging me to participate in debates and presentations.

Teamwork Essentials: Team-building skills play a crucial role in leading a team effectively and efficiently, and this skill exhibits the value of a team leader. Although I am not a senior leader of a team, better knowledge of organising teamwork and team-building can motivate me to become a more productive contributor in an organisation. A team-building skill is extremely essential, because this skill enables a team leader to fulfil much bigger tasks. The teams are able to perform more effectively than a group of members working independently. The two critical aspects play a powerful role in the formation of a high performance team. The first aspect is that the team strength consists of the diversity of personalities, capabilities, and skills of team members. When team members utilise their full potential to achieve a common goal, they also fix each other’s weaknesses. The other key aspect, which contributes to teamwork success, relates to all those activities aimed at achieving the target while working on the same team goal. Thus, the success of a team further depends on effective interaction between team members and a team leader, and the way they establish harmony in relationships.

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