For Organisations

In a world where there is growing pressure for increased results from fewer people, organisations have no option but to invest heavily in learning and development. The problem is that there is often no correlation between expenditure on training and development and pay-off for individuals and organisations.

Although everyone manages their own learning to some extent, it’s clear that just telling people to take charge of their own learning can be very inefficient. Whilst research indicates that the most effective leaders of major organisations have managed their own learning very well throughout their careers, most people need support to do this. This is what Self Managed Learning provides.

SML requires people to take responsibility for decisions about:

  • What they learn
  • How they learn
  • When they learn
  • Where they learn
  • Why is it important to them

All of this is carried out in the context of live organisational needs. But organisational needs cannot be met without individuals feeling a personal sense of commitment to what is required by the organisation. You can compel someone to sit in a classroom, you can present someone with a blended learning solution – but you can’t guarantee what they will learn. The key requirement, then, seems to be to create a situation where learning is owned by the individual, is properly supported and at the same time is closely integrated with organisational needs.

Self Managed Learning (SML), created by Dr Ian Cunningham, has been applied within organisations at all levels since the early 1980’s. It has been tested and evaluated in the private, public and voluntary sectors and used at all levels from apprentices through to CEO’s.

Examples of the types of contexts in which Self Managed Learning has been used are:

  • Leadership Development for senior management in global corporate organisations
  • Organisational Development in supporting a global sports brand to develop their culture
  • Enabling organisational change following an acquisition in a healthcare company
  • Assisting UK Civil Servants to create effective strategies for involving young people in policy making
  • Enabling employees to take full responsibility for their own learning in a global electronics company
  • A consortium programme of primary school heads
  • Driving strategic change and cost reduction in the procurement function of a global oil company
  • Creating cultural change to shift an HR service from tactical operations to strategic partnering
  • Making a strategic shift in partner capability levels in a ‘Big 4’ consultancy organisation

All the SML programmes in the organisations mentioned above had in common a carefully thought through design that had to be well managed. SML needs to be part of a strategic approach to development and it needs the focused commitment of senior people in order to make it happen effectively.