Self-Managed Learning in the Context of Lifelong Learning

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SELF-MANAGED LEARNING IN THE
CONTEXT OF LIFELONG LEARNING
Unit 13 Personal & Professional Development

Introduction

NatTrainSolns (NTS) a small but influential management training consultancy agency based in City West Industrial Park, Dublin. We deliver professional educational training to both the public and private business sectors. Our mission is to provide targeted training solutions to meet the needs of our clients, operating under the highest ethical standards and treating our stakeholders with respect and acknowledgement for their contributions to the success and furtherance of the company’s mission and goals.

NTS will develop and execute content and training consistent with the most effective trends in self-managed learning to meet the identified needs of Teagasc and its 1,200 staff divided in 52 locations throughout Ireland (Teagasc, 2013). Via its S-ML programmes, NTS will promote the efficient use of Irish government resources to maximize the efficiency of The Authority in providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities of Ireland.

1. Evaluating approaches to Self-Managed Learning from the perspective of Teagasc needs and objectives.

Considering the vast capillarity of Teagasc, with hundreds of staff distributed all over Ireland, NTS believes the Open Learning method can be the most efficient approach to be adopted. We will provide an internet-based course, to guide the learners through the course contents in a social constructionist model of education.

Motivation is the key factor to foster the retaining of knowledge and skills by the learners. This motivation can be related closely to the expectations the Learner has regarding the learning process to be started and his personal goals to be achieved. According to Hiemstra (1994), “self-directed learning readiness has been associated with a various performance, psychological, and social variables”. Some of the Teagasc employees certainly will be more prepared to engage in a Self-Planned Learning during the process (readiness). However NTS will offer a solid alternative for those who are not autonomous enough to adopt a SPL. Through a highly detailed and carefully researched Learning Project these learners will be able to achieve the same results as the autodidact ones.

Regehr and Eva (2006) suggest that self-assessment is not an effective mechanism to identify areas of personal weakness and that even when those areas are obvious to the adult learner; they are often avoided because such learning often takes more energy and commitment. However, during an SML Programme, monitoring stages can help learners to evaluate their progress as an individual and as part of the group as a whole. This feedback regarding the work in progress permits fine tune adjustments to be made in good time. It also increases the possibility of the successful completion of the Learning Project. NTS provides built-in tools on the course website so the Self-Regulated learners are able to assess their performance in a daily-basis; to identify certain areas of personal knowledge or skills that seem to have dropped below professional (or personal) standards of practice; and to gather for a vast range of materials and sources to fulfil these occasional gaps.

2. How lifelong learning could be stimulated both in the personal and professional lives of Teagasc employees?

Running SML programmes in an organisation raises a number of issues in relation to the learning method to be adopted. Employees come from a wide variety of personal and professional cultures, and this must be carefully considered. The different backgrounds of learners can lead to a more rich exchange of ideas; however it can also present a vast range of questions and challenges. If we understand the personal history of the people we are speaking to then we can customise our language and our expression of concepts in ways...
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