Self-Directed Education at Work




In our current climate, specific to the restrictions brought about by COVID-19, it is valuable for many people to increase their own responsibility for driving learning and acquiring the skills necessary to succeed in their careers; through active participation in various online courses available to them.

It is, perhaps, ironic that limitations imposed on society are responsible for the success of certain functions and learning adaptations.

In this respect, it is easy to see that online communication and learning, is becoming not just a more efficient way of succeeding in careers and education but will become a vital part of society.

A good example to note is the approach of Just-in-Time Learning which stresses the promotion of information in bite-size chunks for easy dissemination. This works especially well in replacing traditional methods of upskilling in the workplace, as time-consuming and costly workshops will be less relied upon.

As is apparent with this dynamic, there is a greater reliance on individual rather than group responsibility; and as businesses shift to this model of functioning, there is a greater level of trust put on individuals to manage their own education, be it within the business itself, or in the wider world of education.

Many people will enjoy the opportunities that come with this shift in operating. Similarly, there will be those who prefer more traditional methods. Nevertheless, the shift is happening and will continue to gain traction in the fields of business and education with various evident approaches being shared. This, in part, is a direct result of social order dynamics that are governed by adherence to global pandemic we are experiencing.

There are several avenues for taking charge of your own upskilling;

  1. Workplace or On-the-Job Upskilling: An employee could decide what skills they want to acquire and discuss with their line manager. Perhaps, taking on an extra project in order to benefit themselves as well as the business, by uncovering new abilities. Consideration needs to be taken as to how this extra work will impact the workload.
  2. Staying Connected: Open source and social platforms such as YouTube provides access to a myriad of resources. Although these are not as structured as accredited online learning; many videos are short and as thus easily consumed. The benefit of online learning is hassle-free, not having to attend workshops with set-schedules and therefore employees can learn in their own time.
  3. Employer-initiated Workshops: Many businesses offer e-Learning modules and webinars to help employees gain the skills necessary to improve themselves. One should not discount the benefit of peer-to-peer learning and colleagues serve as an invaluable resource as well.

As we march towards the future, we reminded of how automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and robots will emerge, taking over jobs or functions within the business that can be automated. In finding opportunities for upskilling, employees will also enhance their abilities in generating ideas.

It is this ability for creative thinking that will be in high demand in the future, as repetitive tasks (within some job functions) will be automated. Human skills (skills that cannot be done by AI or robotics) will become more valuable.

Along with the need for creativity, is also the need for Emotional Intelligence (EQ). All jobs that require human interaction rely on this trait, example,  leadership and management positions, sales and marketing, HR, waiters and bartenders to name a few.

Never underestimate the need for your emotions! Understanding how people think and being able to respond is a skill that is far beyond the capabilities of AI at present.

Ultimately, self-improvement cannot be done without self-management.

The world is rapidly changing around us. Every day brings new challenges, and new initiatives open to meet these challenges.

What they do today may become redundant tomorrow. Those who maintain a high level in managing the acquisition of skills will not only protect themselves from redundancy but also improve their standing as an asset to their business.

Omni HR Consulting has done extensive research on the topic of Leadership, Artificial Intelligence and the Need to Redefine Future Skills Development.

As a result, we have developed a curriculum of skills development solutions to assist leaders (and employees) to engage in the positive based future of Artificial Intelligence.

To learn more about the skills solutions to remain relevant well into the future, visit our website for all available open-programmes.  Alternatively, our e-Learning offering allows you to learn online, at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home – please visit our e-Learning platform: Omni Stack 

Contributor: Greg Beyer

Researcher at Omni Academy for Education, Training and Development