5 Distinct Uses Of Self-Directed And Adaptive Learning In A Corporate Habitat

Have you picked a new skill in the last years? Or studied a programming language on your own? In this article, I talk about the self-directed learning and its similarities with adaptive learning.

How To Use Self-Directed And Adaptive Learning In A Corporate Habitat: 5 Ways To Consider

People are enthralled by stories of individuals who renounced traditional education yet still become champions in their field. Bill Gates, Ellen DeGeneres, Anna Wintour, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison; none of them have a college degree, but they have achieved a level of success only a few can match. How did they do this? What is their secret?

In my previous article on “6 Benefits You Should Know About Adaptive Learning in Corporate Training“, I spoke about the overview of adaptive learning and its benefits for corporate learners. But, in this article, I would like to sketch the similarities between self-directed learning and adaptive learning. Are these two similar? Before we dig deep, let’s first understand what self-directed learning is.

Self-Directed Learning

Nowadays, self-directed learning is more of an organizational necessity. This is because of the constant need for re-skilling due to increased technological advancement. New knowledge hoards so quickly, and industries change swiftly that traditional learning styles and paths cannot keep the gait. Unless you had a degree in clay jewelry fad of Ancient Egypt, chances are your degree is outmoded. Nonetheless, some newly detected Bedouins will capsize the terracotta archetype.

So, What Exactly Is Self-Directed Learning?

Malcolm Knowles, an educator and chief for adult learning, has described self-directed learning as a process:

“in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes.”

So, how does this ring a bell with another learning strategy? Don’t you think it is analogous to adaptive learning? Well, I think there is a fine line between adaptive learning and self-directed learning. I feel, self-directed learning is all about the learning context created by learners whereas adaptive learning is about the learning context the computer algorithms create. But the major fleck between the two learning methodologies, is that, they engage learners in learning through a growth mindset.

Adaptive learning framework is built upon confidence-based assessments. Let’s take a look at it next.

Confidence-Based Assessments

Learning through growth mindset involves confidence. The algorithms are created to test the current understanding of the learners and also their confidence of the subject by additionally qualifying the questions with confident/not confident choices.

Here is a course that has the confidence-based assessment and the associated remediation that is provided immediately after an incorrect answer.

Let’s now have a look at the 5 distinct uses for corporate Learning and Development:

1. SMART Goal Setting

Adaptive and self-directed learning enable the employees to set Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-defined goals on their learning journey. These goals help employees to be constructive even in their off-productive hours. They give the ability to break down the learning material and give employees enough time to learn each chunk. Thus, it avoids ambiguous, amorphous, unrealistic, irrelevant, and delayed learning.

2. Flexible Learning Schedule

Most of the corporate training programs make use of limited resources and materials. This means, the training programs are sparse and scheduled in such a way that it disrupts the employees’ working schedule. Who wants to attend a training session in the middle of a major project-deadline?

Adaptive and self-directed learning legitimize employees with flexible learning schedules. Both the learning methodologies give the employees to choose their learning paths. They also provide them with digestible learning content which can be learned at their own pace. Thus, employees see training as an opportunity and not as a task to be completed.

3. Opportunity For Continuous Learning

Employees, nowadays, are expected to take charge of their own learning. This can be achieved through adaptive and self-directed learning. Both the methodologies provide the right learning processes and strategies to the employees to embark on their learning journey.

Adaptive and self-directed learning also support errors and mistakes. This, in turn, helps the employees gather the necessary evaluation, take time to reflect on them and track their progress effectively. This thereby encourages a growth mindset which in turn fuels continuous learning culture in the organization.

4. Create Your Own Motivation

A conventional method of training path gives employees a clear-cut motivation; to complete the training to be on the project. But in adaptive and self-directed learning, employees will create their own motivation as this encourages them to never stop learning.

Adaptive and self-directed learning uses the philosophy “the more I understand, the more I get excited about it”. Thereby, nourishing the internal motivation of employees.

5. Communicate Shared Organizational Objectives

Employers can support adaptive and self-directed learning by communicating the organizational needs and goals to the employees so that they can align their personal visions with these goals. The employee’s personal vision will act as an inception for them to lay out their work-related learning goals. By shackling employee’s learning goals with organizational vision, employees’ learning can be directed to business outcomes.


Self-directed and adaptive learning is a smart way for organizations to invest in enabling their workforce. They are one of the many strategies that are can be used the quench the contemporary learning needs of employees. They can foster a lifelong learning culture among the employees.

Suggested Reading

  1. Top 8 eLearning Trends For 2019

The post 5 Distinct Uses Of Self-Directed And Adaptive Learning In A Corporate Habitat appeared first on eLearning.

Trendstudie 2018 des Wuppertaler Kreises

Der Wuppertaler Kreis, soviel vorweg, ist ja ein eher bodenständiger Verband wirtschaftsnaher Weiterbildungsanbieter. Für diese Einschätzung reicht ein kurzer Blick auf die Webseite des Verbandes. Von daher suche ich hier selten nach Impulsen oder Nachrichten. Aber der Verband gibt seit einigen Jahren eine Trendstudie heraus, und die Digitalisierung hat mittlerweile auch hier ihre Spuren hinterlassen – ob es um die Zukunft der Weiterbildung, die zeitlichen Rahmenbedingungen für Bildungsangebote oder die Zukunftserwartungen an verschiedene Weiterbildungsformate geht. Von daher lohnt ein Blick, auch weil es ja hierzulande nur eine kleine Handvoll vergleichbarer Trendstudien gibt (via Christoph Meier).

Wuppertaler Kreis, Juli 2018

Using 4 Mat Model for Creating Engaging Digital Learning Experience

The 4Mat model of instruction design is an offshoot of the Kolb’s learning styles. How exactly it can be used to create better digital learning experiences is the focus of this article.

Overview of the Model

I have presented in my previous article on Kolb’s model that all learning happens due to real world experiences which then help people form mental models of that experience. Some people actively experiment with the new learning and create further experiences on the subject.

In the Kolb’s learning cycle, the learning begins through an experience the learner has. The experience then makes the learner reflect on it, think about it and create new mental model that he/she can apply it in another situation. Through careful application, the experiences are refined and further changes are made to create another concrete experience.

The 4 Mat Model is derived from the Kolb’s model in that there are new and easier terms that are overlaid on it. The right brain part of the model calls it “why” and “what” of learning. The left-brain part is about “How” and “If” of the learning, that is how the process works and can be implemented and refined through “what if” scenarios. The diagram is given below.

4Mat Model Explained

The 4Mat model was propounded by Dr. Bernice McCarthy’s that talks about learning styles and behaviorism in a concrete manner. 4Mat attempts to take advantage of the learning styles (as explained in Kolb’s model) to achieve better learning outcomes.

The model integrates the 4 parts of the learning cycle and can be illustrated as below:

4Mat model answers 4 key questions that are necessary for the learning cycle to complete. They are:

  1. WHY?
  2. WHAT?
  3. HOW?
  4. IF?

Source: 4mat4learning.com.au

Let us look at each question to understand what they imply.


The why part of the learning cycle is crucial to understand, why is it important for learner to know the concept. What happens when they do not understand the raison d’etre of the concept. A simple example is safety training wherein the learners are told why the need to learn about the concept of safety and what will happen if they are not aware of the safety processes.

This can be introduced as an example or a picture or an analogy. Learners who are in the first stage of the cycle are “experiencers” and want to connect/attend to the concept. So, for the new experience to ingrain in their mind, they would require a “why” component to play out clearly.


The question “what” is asked when we are trying to conceptualize the new information that is being presented. After the experience is done with, a question that often comes to our mind is, “what was that? What happened?”. This is part of the thinking where the learner or observer starts to make sense of the new experience, new concept or new content and integrates that into the experience using reflection and contemplation. This is a natural process and should be presented carefully to the learners. Taking our earlier example of safety, learners are presented as to what is safety, what are the various aspects of safety that they should take into consideration at workplace.


The next question “How” tries to answer as how one should apply the concept that is learnt. So, this forms the logical or reasoning part of the brain, and the learner tries to sequence the information and apply it into daily life. So, if we take the example of safety again, here learners are presented steps to stay safe, or procedures that they must follow to stay safe. A good corollary for this is how to use a fire extinguisher in case of fire emergency in office. The “How” part of the model takes the lions share in terms of designing a course. Learners are often interested in “how to get things done” rather than what the process is all about. This is natural for today’s busy learners and learning designers must provide sufficient content in the course for the how part.

What If?

The last question relates to the concretization of the experience. After applying the concepts learnt, the learner gets new questions in mind which must be answered to refine the response. A simple example would be what if a particular type of fire extinguisher is not available? What if the building’s evacuation plan is not available and so on. So, these additional what if scenarios help learners to refine their understanding of safety better. They play out all possible scenarios of emergencies which they then take to a logical conclusion. In terms of Kolb’s model, this part helps learners equip themselves better and should not be neglected by the learning designers. A good checklist or job aids should be prepared so that learners are ready with correct responses in all situations.

Case Study

We have developed several courses and have applied 4Mat in designing them. One such course was for drug discovery, where we first explained, why drug discovery is important and why it takes a long time to come up with drugs that can be released to market. The how part of the course contained a decision tree activity wherein the learner could try out various combinations of molecules and see how much time does a drug take to be tested on rats, then humans and then go through the approval by the respective drug administrators before getting released to the market.


To conclude, 4Mat model is a simpler yet an effective way of imparting instruction by combining all the 4 parts of the brain and addressing the concerns of varied types of learners.

Related articles:

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Digitale Transformation und L&D. Ergebnisse einer Standortbestimmung und Handlungserfordernisse

Ein „Benchmarking-Bericht“ heißt es. Dafür hat das swiss competence centre for innovations in learning (scil) im Auftrag der Allianz University (AllianzU) Vertreter aus 15 Bildungsorganisationen befragt, um mehr über die zukünftigen Aufgaben von Learning & Development zu erfahren. Es sind 12 Themen, die angesprochen wurden. Sie reichen vom L&D-Leistungsportfolio bis zu den Veränderungen des Bildungsmarktes. Dabei wurden die Befragten gebeten, sowohl über den Status Quo als auch über die erwarteten Veränderungen Auskunft zu geben.

Der Bericht enthält viele interessante Hinweise und Details, auf die ich hier nicht eingehen kann. Aber die 12 Handlungsanforderungen bieten einen guten Überblick:
– Die Veränderung des Spielfelds für betriebliche Bildungsanbieter durch externe, Cloudbasierte Anbieter beobachten.
– Anpassungen bei Rolle und Auftrag der Bildungsorganisation in Richtung CoE / Broker / Ermöglicher prüfen.
– Mehr Agilität bei der Steuerung der Bildungsorganisation in Betracht ziehen.
– Orientierungsrahmen zu «digitalen» Kompetenzen nutzen und ausbuchstabieren.
– Kundenreise & Kundenerlebnis mit Blick auf digitale Touchpoints bewusst gestalten.
– Das Leistungsportfolio zur Kompetenzentwicklung ausweiten und Formate wie z.B. selbstgesteuertes Lernen oder Lernen im Prozess der Arbeit bewusst integrieren.
– Mediengestütztes Lernen – die Potenziale medialer Formen in der gesamten Breite nutzen.
– Potenziale der Digitalisierung und Automatisierung für die Leistungsprozesse von L&D prüfen.
– Neue Kompetenzprofile für Bildungsverantwortliche gezielt entwickeln.
– Verrechnungs- und Ertragsmodelle für Bildungsdienstleistungen prüfen bzw. anpassen.
– Die Wertorientierung der betrieblichen Bildungsarbeit durch Aufwandsvermeidung
(Automatisierung) sowie durch wirkungsorientierte Evaluationen stärken.
– Kennzahlen zur Bildungsarbeit systematischer Nutzen, um die Leistungen von L&D
Christoph Meier, Daniela Bäcker und Diana Seibold, scil Arbeitsbericht Nr. 29, November 2018

Bildquelle: rawpixel (Unsplash)

In der Beta-Phase: Weiterbildung wird digitaler

In diesem Artikel (in dem ich eine kleine Nebenrolle spielen darf) erläutert Tobias Pickl, Leiter Digitale Lernprozesse und Bildungscontrolling bei der Audi Akademie, wie er und sein Team „Beta-Phase“ für Corporate Learning übersetzen: ein neues Format wie MOOCs aufnehmen, einen Versuch im eigenen Unternehmen starten („Zusammenarbeit 2.0“) , Erfahrungen sammeln und auswerten („Es gibt unserer Erfahrung nach nur wenige Themen, bei denen es sich wirklich lohnt, einen eigenen MOOC zu organisieren.“) und weiter an neuen Ideen und Konzepten arbeiten, denn:

„Wir müssen immer weiter experimentieren. Und als Personal- und Learning-Manager selbst auch Erfahrungen mit den neuen Formaten sammeln.“
Sarah Sommer, Human Resources Manager, 15. November 2018

Bildquelle: Ali Yahya (Unsplash)

New Research Shows „Heavy Learners“​ More Confident, Successful, and Happy at Work

Es gibt einen Zusammenhang zwischen herausfordernden Aufgaben, Möglichkeiten, sich weiterzuentwickeln und Arbeitszufriedenheit. Wenig überraschend, aber so würde ich die Ergebnisse einer Studie zusammenfassen, die Josh Berson mit LinkedIn durchgeführt hat. Aber manchmal braucht man ja etwas schwarz auf weiß. Deshalb hier die zentralen Fragen/ Antworten:

In your current job, what is #1 thing that inspires you and makes you happy and want to work harder?  =  The nature of the work itself (26 Prozent)

In your current company, what is the #1 most important thing that would make you look for a new job?  = Inability to learn and grow (20 Prozent)

Dazu gibt es noch eine Keynote (Video) von Josh Bersin („Learning In The Flow Of Work“).
Josh Bersin, LinkedIn/ Pulse, 9. November 2018

Bildquelle: Casey Horner (Unsplash)

The No. 1 Reason Employees Say They’ve Stopped Learning Is Because They Don’t Have Time

Ja, Zeit ist ein kritischer Faktor, wenn es darum geht, etwas Neues oder Zusätzliches zu tun. Lernen gehört oft dazu. Dan Pontefract spielt den Ball zuerst zwischen Mitarbeitern, Führungskräften und Unternehmen hin und her, bevor er drei Empfehlungen gibt:

„The first step is to analyze how employees are spending their time. …
Second, ask employees their predilection for learning. …
Third, redefine the term learning such that it incorporates three key types: formal, informal and social. …“

Der Artikel enthält einige gute Punkte, die unser Verständnis von Lernen betreffen. Allerdings überwiegt die taktische Ausrichtung („… wie bringt man Mitarbeiter dazu, …“).
Dan Pontefract, Forbes, 23. Oktober 2018

Bildquelle: rawpixel (Unsplash)

Lerndogmen und Bildungsmythen (1)

Es ist vor allem „das derzeit viel diskutierte 70:20:10 Dogma“, an dem sich Alexander Klier hier ausführlich und gewissenhaft abarbeitet. Ich finde zwar, dass er dabei der einfachen Formel, die ja meist eine handlungsaktivierende Funktion hat, etwas zuviel Ehre zuteilwerden lässt, aber gut …  Um zu „produktiven Lerngelegenheiten“ zu gelangen, müssen wir jedenfalls, so Alexander Klier,  den Blick weg von den Oberflächenphänomenen und hin zu den Organisationsstrukturen wenden, wo heute immer noch eine „systematische Entmündigung der Lerner*innen“ stattfindet.

„In den Beschreibungen und Angeboten der Sichtstruktur schlägt meiner Wahrnehmung nach deshalb auf, was auf der tieferen Ebene des betrieblichen Lernens die eigentliche Problemstellung ist: dass die derzeitige Organisation der betrieblichen Aus-, Fort- und Weiterbildung strukturell, d.h. bauplan- und damit komplexitätsbedingt nicht mehr in der Lage ist, adäquat auf die digitale Transformation zu reagieren.“

Der Artikel hat einen längeren Vorspann (über psychologische Lerntheorien und pädagogische Lern-Modelle). Ein zweiter Teil ist angekündigt.
Alexander Klier, Blog, 13. Oktober 2018

Bildquelle: https://www.pexels.com/de/foto/ausbildung-bildung-drinnen-handy-159844/

What is VR, AR and 360° Video? What Makes Differ From One Another?

Gone were the days, where learner used to sit in a closed room with a book in his/ her hand and an instructor with the teaching aids. Over the last two decades, the change in the technology is unpredictable. A radical behavior in the minds of the learners paved a way to discover the new…

What is VR, AR and 360° Video? What Makes Differ From One Another?

Gone were the days, where learner used to sit in a closed room with a book in his/ her hand and an instructor with the teaching aids. Over the last two decades, the change in the technology is unpredictable. A radical behavior in the minds of the learners paved a way to discover the new…