Self-Managed Learning Essay Example

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Self-Managed Learning

Self-Managed Learning

Executive Summary

Self-Managed Learning (SML) is a unique learning approach which entails an individual choosing their personal learning strategy as well as enables them to obtain a single, diverse manner of learning. This is evidently a rather different way of learning as opposed to the traditional learning methods. The paper has identified various approaches of SML including conferences and seminars as well as the social networks. The benefits and limitations of these methods have been discussed in the paper relating to the motivational and learning styles theory. On the other hand, the paper has identified some ways of encouraging SML both in the professional and personal contexts. According to the findings, some of the ways of doing this include self-reflective learning and continuing professional development, personal strategy, and through developing a personal and professional development plan. Additionally, the paper has evaluated some benefits of SML on the organization and personally some of which include developing and enhancing the communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, among others.


Self-managed learning is regarded as a means by which an individual or people get to find a diverse way of learning things that could be either found in a diversified environment, at the workplace, or in the society that they are in. This type of learning often gives the person the opportunity to develop their individual learning strategy (Lizzio and Wilson, 2006). Self-Managed Learning (SML) has various elements which emphasize on the personal learning responsibility in such a way which is a reflection on the process of natural management as compared to them being taught in a traditional and impassive manner. Additionally, in SML, there is the aspect of collective responsibility where the learners usually support one another and are also participate actively in helping others to learn (Lizzio and Wilson, 2006). Therefore, the paper will seek to evaluate the role of SML in the lifelong development of an individual through assessing some aspects including the approaches to SML, its benefits to the individual as well as the organization, as well as give recommendations on the ways of enhancing SML both in the personal and professional contexts.

  1. Elements and Benefits of Self-Managed Learning

Elements of SML

In SML, three distinct elements exist which characterizes this learning approach. One of the elements is that the learner in SML is the one who identifies the particular goals and objectives of their learning process. The second element is that the learner gets to design their individual means and ways of achieving their set goals. Finally, the learner gets to define the criteria that they will utilize to assess whether the goals that they set were achieved. These three elements are the most important aspects which differentiate SML from the traditional approach of learning (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001).

Benefits of SML to the Individual

Communication Skills

SML usually assist the learner to develop their writing and communication skills which can be utilized both for personal and organizational use. People, through SML assist the learners to be independent because they undergo various challenges to develop their personal learning abilities (Cunningham, Bennett and Dawes, 2000). Through doing this, the learners could share or connect with other people and develop a good synergy which may consequently improve the organizational development while at the same time enable other people to create new stuff.

Presentation Skills

SML gives the learners the opportunities to acquire some presentation skills. This may be attained through the learner being given the responsibility of presenting their acquired knowledge to various audiences. Presenting to others will enable learners to express their knowledge of the things they have learnt from a given topic while also giving them the confidence to talk before others. these skills can be advantageous both to the organization and the individual learner in that it enhances their confidence to be vocal in front of others.

Teamwork Skills

In their academic background, the learners usually learn to work in teams through their university projects as well as the group work assignments. Through doing this, they learn how to work effectively in teams through understanding and listening to their team members to obtain different perspectives of the issues at hand. Team work skills are very efficient when it comes to enhancing organizational and personal performance in expanding the knowledge on various issues.

Benefits of SML to the Organization

SML is an important tool in assisting the individuals to obtain decision-making skills. These skills can be acquired through the various learning experiences that they have obtained from the education and work experiences. Having these adequate decision-making skills will enable the people to be ethical where they will be in a position to have a sound moral judgment from their personal experiences. This could in turn be advantageous to the organization because it is important for the workers to have sound decision-making skills and ethical at all times for the enhancement of their productivity (Cunningham, Bennett and Dawes, 2000).

Many companies would prefer having employees who have proper problem-solving skills as well as being flexible. Among the skills that SML enables one to have is the problem-solving skills which can be obtained from the education system, work, interests, or hobbies, among other places. These skills are essential because it enables an individual to solve problems in a practical manner which is largely applicable in an organization. Additionally, SML enables the learners to be flexible in their working patterns which means that they will manage to handle different tasks assigned to them without any limitations which is crucial for the success of any organization (Cunningham, Bennett and Dawes, 2000).

B. Approaches to SML

The SML approaches have benefits and limitations in the context of costs, learning theory, motivating theory, as well as access to these approaches. The learning theory entails the various styles of learning which tend to take into consideration the difference in individuals when it comes to their ability to learn (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001). According to the learning style theory, the learning approaches which are adopted are usually those styles which a person may prefer naturally so that they can manage to maximize their personal learning. On the other hand, the motivation theory seeks to evaluate what motivates an individual to learn which focuses on learning as opposed to behavior (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001). The two primary motivation types include extrinsic and intrinsic. The intrinsic motivation concerns motivation which is from within the student while extrinsic is one that is generated from outside sources (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001).

Conferences and Seminars

Individuals could significantly learn through conferences and seminars in that whatever it is that they experience in these settings may change their future in the long run. Conferences and seminars usually offer the individuals with the chance to showcase and present their knowledge concerning a given subject to their audience who, in turn, learn new stuff (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001). Conferences and seminars usually assist individuals to turn out to be confident as they speak in public while at the same time enhancing their presentation skills that are significantly required in a company. Conferences and seminars are regarded as an SML approach in that they are useful tools which offer the individuals to share their knowledge with other people (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001).

Benefits of Conferences and Seminars

Oral Communication

The conferences and seminars can be an open and comfortable environment where a person may practice their professional techniques when it comes to communication. In line with the learning theory, conferences and seminars usually help an individual to turn out to be a good listener while enhancing their ability to present their ideas and arguments in a clear manner (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001). It also enables the individual to be patient and be open to listening and adopting the perspectives of other people as well. In these settings, there may also be group discussions which can enable an individual to practice their interpersonal skills like tackling conflicting opinions which may exist among the group members who may be working together to achieve a common goal. In doing this, the confidence of a person is enhanced which is a significant component of the intrinsic motivation.


Another benefit of conferences and seminars as an SML approach is networking. Most of the conferences and seminars usually have experts who steer them. This means that in these settings, an individual often has the opportunity to meet these experts as well as other people with whom one may share their interests with. Additionally, the discussions in these conferences and discussions give the individual an opportunity to debate some significant issues which are related to a given field, exchange perspectives, as well as share experiences. According to the learning theory, such opportunities give the learner the encouragement of solving problems as well as enable them to tackle various challenges that they face (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001). In turn, this will enable these people to establish some professional connections which will be effective even the period when the seminar or conference is over.

Renewed Motivation

It is typical for a person to lose motivation or any form of excitement when they become caught up in their everyday grind. In doing this, they may probably lose the drive to pursue their learning interests both personally or in a professional setting. The conferences and seminars enhance the intrinsic learning motivation in that the learners acquire the opportunity to dedicate themselves to learning the topic or topic being discussed during the days which the seminar or conference is held (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001). Consequently, an individual may come from the seminar or conference having an enhanced motivation of pursuing their goals while at the same time rekindling their enthusiasm for a given subject. This will, in turn, result in higher fulfillment and productivity levels of both the academic and professional goals.


When a person or people attend these conferences and seminars, they usually incur some personal costs. Also, some of these conferences are usually associated with an entry fee which sometimes can be rather high for the attendees or the learners to afford comfortably. The entire hotel, food, travel, as well as other miscellaneous costs, will need to be absorbed by the attendees. This then presents a challenge for the learners to achieve these SML learning objectives.

Incorrect Knowledge

One of the primary aims of the attending these conferences and seminars is to acquire appropriate knowledge for their good. However, sometimes there may be chances that the knowledge which the speakers are sharing may be incorrect or are themselves not knowledgeable. This then presents the need for an individual to make their personal assessments of the topics that are being discussed and not to believe the things that are being presented completely.

Social Networks

Various social networks exist like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, among others. These are the platforms where individuals tend to spend at least more than about two hours when connecting with their friends while at the same time learning about new stuff as well as about other people (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001). People could also learn by the use of new groups, as well as bulletin boards. Additionally, individuals could also learn the ways of the owners of some of the social networks like Mark Zuckerberg who is the owner of Facebook to become successful people. Through these social networks, people can be in a position to find ways in which they could also be successful in their individual careers which are an important aspect of SML (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001).

Benefits of Social Networks

Interest Commonality

Regarding social networks in SML, an individual may select other people who have similar dislikes and likes to theirs which will help them build a stable network around these commonalities. Through the social networks, an individual can find as well as interact with other individuals who have a common interest as theirs. As the learning theory suggests, social networking is a significant way of sharing ideas and tips which are in turn an excellent means where people can learn and share information about various life aspects (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001). Through sharing and pinning different kinds of information, an individual may attract even more like-minded people into their circle.

Information discovery

Social networks provide an amicable way of discovering information from different sources. These networks give an individual the opportunity to learn about various aspects that interest them. This produces some form of extrinsic motivation where a person may be subjected to different kinds of information that will motivate them to want to know more and learn more. Additionally, the social networks enable the learners to give feedback and interact with others real-time which will allow them to sharpen their scope of learning and broaden their perspectives on various issues that interest them.


One of the major limitations of social networks as a means of SML is that it may result in some primary relationship problems. It is evident that the social networks impact the online social interactions where the learner may form new relationships but in the same light may result to others ending. It is quite easy to communicate with others on various topics or plans with an individual through any of the social networks. However, the social networks have been argued to take the place for the face-to-face type of communication which is an essential component of SML according to the learning theory (Guglielmino and Guglielmino, 2001). The lack of it through the increasing use of social networks tends to promote antisocial behavior in humans which in turn jeopardizes the effectiveness of SML as a learning approach.

C. Ways of encouraging Lifelong Learning in Professional and Personal Contexts

Lifelong learning entails the personal continuous learning which can contribute to the professional setting. A person may choose to have some personal evaluation as a way of lifelong learning. Some of the ways of encouraging lifelong learning in a personal context include self-reflective learning, as well as personal strategy as well as through professional and personal development plan.

Self-Reflective Learning and Continuing Professional Development

The self-reflective learning tool has the possibility of assisting the learner to learn new skills while they are at work while at the same time developing their personal skills. This can be achieved through having responsibilities and tasks assigned to them. Self-reflective learning tends to review things which will enable the learner to develop their personal learning while at the same time grow professionally through evaluating and planning their effective learning which would be through accepting the opinions and judgments from others (Dowling and Cahill, 2004). In the same light, the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) tends to combine the approaches, techniques, and ideas which enable them to develop their personal learning as well while developing themselves professionally at the same time (Dowling and Cahill, 2004).

Personal Strategy

With the aim of enhancing the basic skills of the learner, they can choose to read more newspapers and books which include some business pages. In doing this, they will expand their knowledge which will, in turn, enable them to develop their communication skills. Additionally, the learner can adopt a strategic planning programme which will entail reading some professionally-appropriate materials (Dowling and Cahill, 2004). Consequently, they will be able to learn how other companies have improved their performances and sought to do the same to improve their individual performance as well as that of others. Taking these proactive steps will enable the learner to be in a position to undertake some personal development projects. This will further advance their learning by researching the types of changes which may occur in the future and the way the company may assess the threats that are presented through the PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological) (Dowling and Cahill, 2004).

Professional and Personal Development Plan

A personal development plan refers to the way that people can develop a plan which will assist them in understanding where they are regarding their skills and careers and the direction that they are taking both professionally and personally. The professional and personal development plans will assist learners to have an adequate plan which they will utilize for their future development which will also need to be flexible because of their aspirations and requirements constantly changing (Dowling and Cahill, 2004).


SML is a learning approach which enables individuals to develop the learning strategy that suits them as well as enabling them to learn different things in an environment that is diverse. The elements of SML emphasize on the personal learning responsibility in such a way which is a reflection on the process of natural management which is not the same as the traditional learning approach. Various approaches of SML exist which include conferences and seminars and the social networks. These approaches have benefits and limitations relating to the learning style and motivation theories. Some of the ways of encouraging lifelong learning in professional and personal contexts include self-reflective learning and continuing professional development, personal strategy, and through developing a personal and professional development plan. Additionally, some benefits of SML both personally and the organization have been discussed.


Cunningham, I., Bennett, B. and Dawes, G 2000, Self managed learning in action: putting SML into practice, Gower Publishing Ltd.

Dowling, J and Cahill, V 2004, Self-managed decentralised systems using K-components and collaborative reinforcement learning. In Proceedings of the 1st ACM SIGSOFT workshop on Self-managed systems (pp. 39-43). ACM.

Guglielmino, P.J and Guglielmino, L.M 2001, Moving toward a distributed learning model based on self-managed learning. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 66(3), p.36-38.

Lizzio, A and Wilson, K 2006, Enhancing the effectiveness of self‐managed learning groups: understanding students’ choices and concerns. Studies in Higher Education, 31(6), pp.689-703.