What Is Self-Paced Learning?

Aug 20, 2021 8 Min Read
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Why Should You Implement Self-Paced Learning in Your Organisation

The concept of learning and self-improvement has always been crucial for our existence. 

In the early days, learning helped us adapt and survive in harsh physical environments. Today, the demands of a fast changing environment require us to constantly better ourselves and learn at faster rates than ever before.
In the corporate environment, learning and development tools are important to help employees sharpen their knowledge and develop their skills in their respective fields. The content that employees are provided with for their learning journeys need to be frequently updated to reflect the changing business environment of today.

To keep up with this pace, more and more corporates today are implementing self-paced learning systems, where employees can embark on these learning and development at their own time, place, and medium of learning.

Why invest in learning anyway?

People are a company’s greatest asset. They are the brain of the company. They think, plan, strategize, and communicate ideas internally and externally. Without good people, your business will not go far and reach is optimal potential. 

L&D programs help to maximise their potential by promoting a culture of curiosity within them. As they get more curious about various topics across the field, they ask more questions and this will help them to expand their horizon. 

Science backs this up - research has shown that teams who are trained well, have a 10% increase in productivity overall. 

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Moreover, the employees themselves know just how crucial it is to have a diversified skill set, and thus they are actively seeking for opportunities to do so. 

According to the LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development.

Just as they are willing to stay when they find a good opportunity for professional growth, they are also more than willing to leave if they think that their current position does not provide them with sufficient learning opportunities. 
Hence, it’s important for managers to invest their time and effort into L&D programs for their team and company. 

This might interest you: The Future of Work is Continuous Learning

What is self-paced learning?

Among the various ways of learning, none of them can be deemed as the one correct way to learn. Self-paced learning is a learning method that allows each person to learn at their own speed, and it caters to the different preferences and styles of learning each person may have.  

Why self-paced?

Self-paced learning kills two birds with one stone - flexibility and scalability. 

When learning is done individually at their own time, their own speed, their own locations, and their own convenience, it would be much easier for employees to manage their various responsibilities, whether personal or work-related, and not feel overwhelmed by it. Flexibility leads to balance. 

In fact, according to the LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 58% of professionals actually prefer to embark on learning at their own pace.

Not only that, as the materials of self-paced learning are usually recorded once and uploaded online, there is no limit to how many people can actually access it. 

Multitudes of people no longer have to gather at a certain location and timing in order to receive training from professional trainers. All the content is permanently uploaded and it can be reused at any time. 

This not only saves time, but it also greatly saves costs as hiring trainers for multiple sessions are not very cost-effective. 

One possible concern managers may have is the trackability of it. Since the materials of self-paced learning is expected to be countless, employees might not be able to fully recall which are the topics that they had and had not learnt thus track their learning progress. 

Moreover, managers may think that as self-paced learning is all done individually without the direct supervision of the managers, they won’t be able to know whether the employees are actually utilising the materials provided and whether they are participating in the process. 

However, managers and employees can rest assured that this is not a problem. 

Ultimately, most self-paced learning programmes are combined with management platforms which allows managers to monitor their employees progress and completion rates, and some are already equipped with features that provide individual users with reports of their own learning progress.

As a matter of fact, when individuals are given more autonomy over what they are learning, it increases their feeling of ownership and accountability. This not only helps them to gain clarity in the goals that they want to pursue, but it also helps to drive their motivation in this whole learning journey. This in itself is a form of professional development. 

With clearer goals, decision making becomes effective, efficient and easy. They know what they need to work on, and what is unnecessary. This eliminates a huge inefficiency that comes along with other ways of learning.

Self-paced learning is not fully self-guided

For those who might worry about not being able to find the right materials or deciding on the right topics to learn, they don’t have to worry because most self-paced programs offer a suggested curriculum that the users can start with. 

Thus from this starting point, they can try to gauge their own capabilities, skip the ones that they have prior knowledge on, while delving deeper into topics they have never learnt before and are curious about.

What tool should I use to deliver these materials?

The best way to scale the delivery of your self-learning programme is to use an efficient tool that allows you to distribute the learning content to the relevant group of people.

Using a Learning Experience Platform like Necole is your best option here. Most LXPs come with a ready library of self-learning content already available on the platform, while allowing you to upload your own content, customize your groups and delivery, and monitor progress of your team and company. Other online learning platforms like Osmosis work as well since it also has the option of having it as an app on your phone for easier access. 

Supplementary Reading: Leveraging The Power of Digital Learning

How do I start applying self-paced learning?

Assuming you’re building your own self-learning development programme, first you will need to gather all the necessary materials needed such as online tools and recorded training sessions. Make sure to include several different methods of learning, e.g. reading content, video content, podcasts, case studies, to appeal to the different types of learners in your company.

Next, draw out the sequence in which the self-paced program will be delivered. You may need to empathize with your employees to draw out the best sequence and path that fits your employees the most. 
The best way to start your delivery is to test it out on a pilot group of staff, and monitor their progress. Get feedback on any hiccups or areas of improvement, and make the necessary iterations to address these loopholes. 

You may need to repeat this process several times before you come up with a course that is coherent. Just remember to adjust your expectations (and any other stakeholders’ for that matter) that this is a process that takes time. A program that is developed slowly and carefully is much better than a program that is developed quickly and hastily. 

Once the major issues of the program are resolved, you can start introducing this program to more employees while continuously enhancing it to enrich your course or update it with the newest information. 

Remember, there is no one method of learning that is superior to all. The key is to continuously monitor and to never stop improving. 
Watch this cool video on Necole and see what Necole can do for you. There will never be another boring day when you have Necole!

Click here to find out how you can get necole for your organisation.

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Vera Lawrencia is a Leaderonomics Superintern under Research & Business Intelligence. She is passionate about reading, writing, research, and learning just about anything that she can get her hands on. One day, Vera hopes to explore the world and experience the unique cultures out there.

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