It is the aim of every education to increase their output and thus enjoy comparative advantage compared to other organizations. On the same note, organizations are aiming at reducing costs since they eat into their profits. It is important to note that among the most important inputs in a firms’ production is labor. However, lately, firms are endeavoring at ensuring they get maximum productivity from the minimal possible human capital.
As a result, investment in human capital is an inevitable aspect of any organization. Continuous learning and development is a necessity to ensure that the competency of employees is enhanced. One of the methods of learning that has gained importance is a Self-Managed Learning (SML) process.
This is a structured learning process that is more attractive, all-encompassing and involves people managing their own learning process. SML has various benefits both to the organization and an individual on which it is practiced.
The benefit of Self-Managed Learning
To begin with, people who are willing to undergo the self-managed learning program are usually self-motivated and personally willing to advance their skills. In this regard, the process enables an organization to identify employees who are easy to train. On the same not, unlike the traditional learning methods where it was difficult to put into practice what has been learned, SML eliminates this.
In SML people continue applying what they learn in their day to day functions. Similarly, the process is usually undertaken to counter existing gaps in organizational needs which ensures that what is learned will be put into practice (Norman 2013).
The process is compatible with other methods of learning to mean that a firm that decides to implement the process will not have to scrap the entire existing learning process. Consequently, the process is not very expensive to implement yet it is more effective in its outputs moreover, since the program is aligned with the present needs of the organization the process addresses directly the needs of an organization.
Furthermore, individuals get the opportunity of choosing what to learn depending on one’s preferences and level of knowledge. Additionally, the process of learning becomes enjoyable since one engages in what is best for him or her. Similarly, an individual has the power to choose the schedule of learning according to a personal timetable without mechanically following a laid down procedure.
The process is also very vital in ensuring productive life because one is engaged in a field where he or she has passion. Moreover, financial freedom and freedom of choice leads to personal satisfaction (Pearn 2003). On the same note, self-managed learning ensures continuous self-development and lifelong learning which are essential for human capita development
Procedures used in Self- Managed Learning
There are several approaches used in self-managed learning. Firstly, people can use seminars and conferences where people share knowledge and ideas. In the process of exchanging ideas, people end up learning new things. Moreover, this approach increases confidence and public presentation skills. Another approach is the use of social networks. These platforms allow people to engage each other in exchange of ideas leading to knowledge sharing.
On the same note, this does not necessarily have to be done by any schedule and is thus enjoyable to do. Additionally, the internet has very many resources that can be used to learn. Consequently, an individual can decide to be reading materials regarding the subject of interest (Haan 2004). Consequently, people can gain a lot of crucial information that can be positively used in an organization.
Furthermore, learners may decide to use different approaches to studying available. The first one is the deep approach where a learner tries to personally understand new ideas and put them into practice in the real-life work situation. This approach is very effective because it ensures maximum retention of ideas gained.
Self-managed learning also applies the surface approach to learning. In this approach, the learners only concentrate on the required areas of learning only. This is meant to ensure that learners are not overburdened with reading what will not be of use to them (Norman 2013). SML also concentrates on required issues only because individuals are aiming at enhancing specific skills. This approach is referred to as a strategic approach.
Influence of Personal and Professional Development on Lifelong Learning
Lifelong learning entails constant enhancement of one’s skills through continuous learning. Lifelong learning is advantageous in enhancing professional skills and increasing output. It includes continuous self-development and self-awareness programs which lead to personal and professional development.
In attaining lifelong learning people need to assess their achievement by identifying their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Lifelong Learning ensures that he or she is updated on the latest required skill of work while personal and professional development ensures that one catches up with the dynamic corporate world (Harrison 2005).
Through personal and professional development, people advance their self-knowledge, build or renew their identity, develop their strengths and weaknesses and fulfill their aspirations among other aspects. Organizations have incorporated training facilities in their programs in a move that is aimed at ensuring that their employees are highly trained.
On the same note, personal and professional development encompasses the whole idea of one striving to become better than before and includes self-awareness. It should be noted that continuous self-development has gained popularity in recent years because of its ability to give an individual the chance to be engaged in the learning process.
Lifelong learning leads to increased ingenuity and creative skills thus enhancing organizational growth (Pearn 2003). When people are striving to continuously improve their personal and professional skills, then lifelong learning becomes a necessity.
It is important to note that learning is not a definite process and people will have something to learn throughout their lives. In this regard, lifelong learning is a continuous, self-managed, voluntary, and broad scope process that should apply not only to work but also in all parts of human life. Similarly, it involves goal setting and self-assessment to reflect on real-life achievements as far as personal and professional development is concerned.
Skills Required for Professional Working
Several skills are required in an organization to help in propelling its functions. Top on the list are those skills that will enable the organization to maximize its output. Consequently, professional qualifications for the job being sort for are crucial. Every firm will ensure that employees hired to feel any gap have the academic qualification that befits the job description.
This will help in ensuring that the person has the expertise required to carry out his or her duties without any problem. On the same note, each organization has limited time per day which it can operate. As a result, time management is essential to organizations (Huang 2006).
In this regard, employees will be required to be time conscious and utilize their man hours productively. To achieve goals and vision of the organization, employees need to ensure that they accomplish their tasks in time.
Similarly, employees should possess skills that will enable them to carry out a self-evaluation and implement a self-development program. Employers highly value an employee who is ready to learn and is always ready to advance his or her skills. This also involves the ability to keep up with every advancing technology. Therefore, employees need to be able to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
Moreover, any organization requires smooth and efficient communication for the effective running of activities. Results need to be communicated; threats need to be conveyed while at the same time reports need to write. All these require a good communicator to deliver the message as intended. As a result, organizations require employees to have excellent communication skills both oral and written.
Furthermore, since organizations have various employees working in various departments, teamwork is of the essence. As a result, employees need to be team players with the ability to manage others and take responsibility. Similarly, problem-solving skills are crucial in any organizational setting (Harrison 2005). Employers also require people who can confidently work under pressure and are self-motivated.
Development Needs and Opportunities
I have very important strong points that can help me in increasing my output. To begin with, I am very good at time management and can execute my duties within stipulated time. Consequently, I am not late in executing any of my duties.
On the same note, I have good written communication skills which allow me to the right good reports. Moreover, I have a good command of language and can, therefore, be able to explain myself clearly. I am also ready to learn new ideas whenever they come up. I am also able to work under minimum supervision and have excellent organizational skills.
However, time management ends up being my weakness. I am too much concerned with time until I get frustrated when people do not meet my deadlines. Furthermore, I am not very well conversant with the dynamics of technology. Though, I know about technological functioning of some issues, technology is very dynamic. Consequently, there has been recent advancement in technology which I am not well informed about.
Similarly, I become a little nervous especially when I am in front of unfamiliar people this interferes with my oral communication skills (Norman 2013).
Fortunately, organizations have integrated training facilities in their programs for employees who are ready to learn. I am also young and ready to learn which places me in a good position regarding the learning of new technologies. On the same note, given the fact that the internet has many resources that one can use.
Personal and Professional Development Plan
Given the personal weaknesses identified above, it is prudent that I find ways of mitigating their effects and where possible do away with them. Regarding management of time, I am planning to start giving deadlines which have room for delays by the other members who are not so strict on time.
This will not only, ensure that I get the work in due time but will also reduce the conflicts between me and other members of staff. On the same note, I will carry out a self-awareness exercise to ensure that I learn how to manage my affairs with my co-workers. This will be done to ensure that I learn how to manage my disappointments so that I do not get agitated.
On the same note, I will have to educate myself on the new advances in technology. This will have to be attained through attending classes and reading materials on the same. Consequently, I will start attending part-time classes and also try as much as possible to put what I learn into use in real life situations.
The technology that I will choose to learn about will be the technology that is required and used by our organization. This will ensure that I remain relevant to the organization. Regarding the problem of being nervous, I will try to engage in many presentations even in the classes that I will attend to ensure I gain the confidence of communicating before unfamiliar people.
Implementation of the Plan
The plan will need to be implemented as quickly as possible. I will start classes immediately. I get the opportunity. However, I will embark on reading materials on the internet regarding self-awareness exercise as well as technology that I need to know.
Similarly, I will immediately start giving shorter than actual deadlines on work to avoid disappointment from co-workers who will want to complete their work in the last minute. On the same note, since technology evolves very first, I will ensure that I continuously advance my technological skills through self-managed learning.
Furthermore, I will reschedule my timetable to ensure that my evenings are free so that I can be able to attend classes. Moreover, I can ensure that I accomplish all my duties as quickly as possible so that I reduce my workload for each day to increase the time available for learning. Also, I will ask to be transferred to a department which uses the technology that I am not conversant with to challenge me to learn about the technology.
Work Based Problems and Solutions
The first problem that occurs at work places is conflict. It has been noted that conflict affects certain issues that directly influence the outcomes of the group and that it does not in itself directly affect the group. Such issues as the amount of trust that group members have both on the group as a whole and individual group members highly determine the productivity of the group.
In conjunction with that, the bond that puts together individual members in the group is of importance, as it determines the likelihood that the members can enjoy working together hence influencing group outcomes (Huang 2006). The cohesiveness of the group, if threatened by the conflicts, will therefore negatively affect the outcomes of the group besides hindering the processing of any input.
On the same note, if employees suspect that they are being discriminated upon, their morale to work reduces. This will affect their level of productivity since they spend most of their time focusing on which type of discrimination is applied and who might be the next victim. Besides, retention of employees becomes difficult as they keep on searching for employment opportunities in other organizations where they will be treated with dignity.
Organizations should formulate rules and regulations that prohibit discrimination of any form within the organization and implement them to discourage people from discriminating others. However, formulating of rules cannot help per se, and therefore employees should be encouraged to report any form of discrimination that may take place in their presence (Pearn 2003).
On the other hand, Conflict is moderated by open discussions which tend to restore trust and respect of the group members. Furthermore, conflict can be avoided by developing, as part of the group culture, the opinion that it is possible to solve any conflict that may arise.
Effective Communication of Problems and Solutions
The organization employs people from different backgrounds and problems cannot be avoided. Consequently, communication is the key to success of any company. It should be noted that the quicker a problem is solved, the less likely it is to have negative effects on output. The organization should, therefore, put in place procedures to be followed in case there is a problem.
Firstly, a culture of openness should be encouraged where a problem between employees can be solved by the employees discussing and reaching an amicable solution (Harrison 2005). If there is no solution reached, the immediate manager should be informed. The chain of command should be clear so that employees can be aware of where to register their grievances.
On the other hand, it should be noted that juniors will find it very difficult to report complains against their seniors to the same seniors. In this regard, there should be a secret and confidential to enable those who do not want their identity to be revealed to report their displeasures. On the same note, there should be a whistle blowing channel that will be used to report any problem that is likely to cause negative impacts.
This channel is essential in ensuring that privacy is maintained to avoid stigmatization. Similarly, the organization should exhort employees to take it upon themselves to report any issue that might impact negatively on the firm.
It should be noted that since most of the problems in an organization are associated with employees, solutions also lie with them. As a result, people should be given a chance to contribute to the decision-making process (Haan 2004).
This can be done by setting aside some time where employees’ contributions and suggestions will be collected. Additionally, a suggestion box can be placed within the organization where employees will be encouraged to place their suggestions.
Personal and professional development is an important aspect of any employee. Technology is dynamic and keeps on changing each time. Similarly, the skills required for a given duty keep on advancing due to the changing corporate environment. This will compel employees to advance their skills or become obsolete.
Consequently, learning has to be a continuous exercise throughout one’s active life. Since the traditional ways of learning have proved to be cumbersome and somehow ineffective, self-managed learning approach comes in handy. It is important to note that people will be ready and willing to learn when they know that they are the ones who determine the content and schedule.
However, it is hard for employees to learn willingly if the firm is not treating them well. Consequently, organizations should be ready to support their employees whenever they are ready to learn by providing them with a favorable environment.
Haan, ED 2004, Learning with Colleagues: An Action Guide for Peer Consultation, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.
Harrison, R 2005, Learning and Development, London, CIPD Publishing.
Huang, YF 2006, E-Portfolios: Their Impact on Self-directed Learning and Computer Technology skills on Preservice Teachers, Ann Arbor, ProQuest.
Norman, G 2013, Learner Managed Learning: Practice, Theory and Policy, London, Routledge.
Pearn, M 2003, Individually Differences and Development in Organizations, Hoboken, John Willey & Sons.