As well as considering your values, you need to analyse your current skills and skill gaps. This self-assessment is a crucial phase in self-directed learning. It is a forward-looking process that requires thought and honesty.
The following activity can help in this process.
Task - writing exerciseSpend time completing the following task. Note that while we can often identify areas of skill deficit, we may find it difficult to identify our strengths - yet our strengths form the basis of our future planning and development.
Make a list of your:
- Skills - e.g. technological skills, speaking to groups or interpreting legislation
- Strengths - e.g. seeks challenges, strong team player or learns quickly
- Weaknesses - e.g. can be disorganised; can take on too much; or can find it hard to maintain motivation
Question - Referring back to the Force Field Analysis (Topic 3.4) what opportunities do you see to improve on your weaknesses?
Question - What skills, attributes and attitudes do you want to acquire, enhance and develop?
How did you find this exercise? Were you able to identify some of the skills or attributes that you wish to develop? A learning need is the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in regard to a particular area of knowledge and skill.
There are numerous ways that you can begin to identify your learning needs. You may already be aware of certain learning needs as a result of a performance management appraisal or the long accumulation of evidence about yourself. The process of determining learning needs can be a negotiated one between yourself and your supervisor, mentor, peer etc. Feedback can also play a key role in determining learning needs.