Human Resources

What Is Participant Driven Learning?

Question: What is participant-driven learning, and how is it changing the training landscape?

Answer: “Participant-led/participant-driven learning is having the ability to take control of what, and how, you learn,” says Chris Douglas, vice president of training for Fierce, Inc. (www.fierceinc.com), a leadership development and training company. “When it comes to leadership training, participant-led learning allows personal preferences to influence how these skills are learned and applied. For example, an individual may prefer to learn at their own pace via online resources, while another individual may prefer 1:1 training over the course of a few days.”

“There has been a heightened desire among employees, across various industries, for participant-led learning,” she says. “This is due, in part, to the influx of Millennials in the workplace, a generation that places a lot of value and emphasis on having control over their own learning. Additionally, stats reveal that 88 percent of participants learn more by finding things out for themselves, rather than through face-to-face training. This factor alone is inevitably shifting the way we look at and approach learning.”

Douglas describes the trend toward participant-led learning as “both good news and challenging” for employers. “For employees with limited resources, offering a broad range of participant-led learning opportunities can be difficult.”

“One of the biggest challenges for HR trainers will be acquiring and offering supporting technologies and resources for participant-led learning,” she explains. “Another challenge is shifting the mindset of an organization to embrace these changes by highlighting the positive impact” that participant-led learning can have.

Douglas’s advice to trainers includes looking for ways to provide participant-led training and “getting creative while ensuring frequent and open feedback to find specifically what works best for their organization and its employees. It won’t be the same for everyone.”

“As with any organizational change, requesting frequent feedback from everyone involved is key,” she says. “What is working, what isn’t? How can it be improved?” Employers also must have “the willingness and flexibility to make changes as needed.”