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I wrote last week about the 4 big shifts in learning in education which we could apply to workplace learning. The second of these ideas was around the student (or in a workplace setting, the employee, colleague, worker, etc) agency.

The ownership of what, when, how and why to learn has been a key element of my suggested practice for a while. The concept of self-determination, in addition to self-direction, is rare within a workplace learning setting.

Very often, we create painting by numbers, over-specified learning activity which provides an illusion of choice for an individual but offers little in satisfaction.

This lack of choice, in concert with the lack of challenge to test an individual’s analysis of a topic, means, understandably, people feel their learning support is of limited value. For example, someone recently told me the story of a doctor. This doctor moved around 4-5 hospitals a year and at each hospital, they had to undertake safeguarding training. The cost to the organisations was excessive, no learning was had, and the doctor was (at the very least) demotivated and disinterested.

Offering completely individualised learning is hard; it means allowing people to tailor an offer outside of your expected standards and you will be told of the worst-case scenario as the exemplar of why it’s necessary. Giving people the option to miss elements you consider to be essential is a hard habit to break.

Try imagining the best case scenario and start to have those conversations with people. #ItStartsWithMe

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