How Self-Directed is your Learning?

I remember clearly the day I packed up my house and left university. I was ready for the world of work and was glad to be saying goodbye to student life. Some 16 years have passed and I’ve found myself back at university, but in a different country and with a whole different mindset.

Gaining an Msc is a goal I’ve held onto for years and I’m over the moon that I’ve now found the opportunity to complete one. However, learning needn’t be formal or expensive and you certainly don’t need a post-grad to learn new things to expand your career opportunities.

With the “job for life” being a thing of the past, lifelong learning is a concept which has gained significant ground. To gain interesting and challenging employment, people of all ages are embarking on study, reinventing themselves and their careers and following paths which 10 years previous even, might have seemed unachievable.

With shrinking budgets and an increased accessibility to knowledge, self-directed learning has become a necessary activity for those who want to expand their skills and understanding. Relying on your employer for personal development and traditional training is not enough for those wanting to get ahead of the game.

The great thing is, with access to the internet, you needn’t pay a penny for your learning and sometimes, not leave the comfort of your own home! Here are some cost-effective methods to boost your life-long learning:

  1. Open University: there are a whole host of professional courses that can be completed through the “openlearn” area of the Open University, from business accounting to creative writing, there appears to be something for everyone!
  2. Coursera: This site offers courses prepared by top universities and learning establishments from around the world – for free!
  3. Youtube: there are literally thousands of lectures and informative videos. You might not get a certificate but you’ll be able to bring your knowledge up to date and apply it in the workplace
  4. TED Talks: hundreds of talks from around the world delivered by thought leaders – experts in their field
  5. Reed delivers hundreds of courses via selected training providers. Many are free, but some, such as Microsoft office and computer skills can be snapped up at an excellent rate!
  6. Social Media: let’s not forget the amount of cutting edge information we can pick up on platforms such as Linkedin and Twitter – from blogs to news, to cutting edge research, social media can contribute a great deal to your learning.

If you’re in the market for a new role, or looking to develop your career in your current company, being able to demonstrate your ability to learn – and your interest in building your knowledge – will increase your opportunities for success. It is never too late to learn and in this global market where knowledge is everything, it would be a foolish thing to turn your back on.

As part of our career and executive coaching programmes, we help you identify the type of skills and opportunities that would be worthwhile developing and support you in building a learning strategy. If you’re interested in doing something different, but don’t know where to start, give me a call for an informal chat 0115 8800098 or email