People have different learning styles. There will always be ones that understand a concept quicker and ones that need more time, ones that skim and ones that scan, ones that are night owls and those that are early birds. At the core of these styles is pace. Very important and so is its control.
When you’re not in control of your learning pace, someone – the instructor – is, and you must try to adapt to the pace of the class, with a bit of a trade off on the learning outcome. This is typical of virtual or classroom training programs where it’s almost impossible to only have students of one learning style in a program.
But when you’re in control of your learning pace, you’re able to control the quantity of information you consume as well as the duration of time you need to learn new information properly. This concept, known as self-paced learning, is highly effective. Why?
Studies have shown that self-paced learning can lead to a significant improvement in memory performance and knowledge retention. This is because it allows you to distribute your time in a manner best suited to yourself and not to the class average. And without time pressure, your memory performance improves greatly.
In addition, with full control of your pace, you can spend more time on things that you find challenging and breeze past things that you already know. This encourages inductive thinking – the ability to grasp specific information, stop, reflect, and then come up with broader generalization based on that information.
All of these have important implications for the effectiveness of your learning efforts and achievement, which is the primary reason self-paced learning is dominating modern employee training.
The fact is that the one-size-fits-all type of learning most of us used while in school is not necessarily the best way for adults to learn about and retain new information. Besides, in this era of digitization, we can no longer expect everyone to be onboard with a one-dimensional learning style.
When learners are made to learn at the same pace, they are denied the optimal flexibility and individuality required to incorporate their training into their different lives and schedules – which in our hectic world, is increasingly important and valued by the workforce.
Thus, meeting workplace standards has never been easier as self-paced learning provides learners with supportive and individualized setting to learn on their terms. It leverages technology to create an environment which encourages continuous learning at every stage of a person’s professional life.
Apart from the learning-related benefits that self-paced learning offers, for organizations; it arms them with the ability to track and record progress; it takes away scheduling issues; it’s cost effective; and it increases workplace morale by keeping employees trained through means which suit their learning style (rather than forcing them to adopt the same styles).
Many people would prefer taking control of their own learning. But to benefit from the effectiveness of self-paced learning, learners need to be self-disciplined and not prone to procrastination.
However, this is not a problem for organizations as they can put control measures in place to drive commitment and timely course completions.