Resilience Pathway #104: SDL, CBT, and SOJT

Are SDL, CBT, and SOJT familiar acronyms to you? If so, do you use them appropriately to facilitate human learning? This Pathway explains these acronyms and gives you a few pointers for their workplace applications.

Self-Directed Learning (SDL) has been around since the 1950’s with the birth of teaching machines and programmed instruction. SDL traditionally happens without an instructor and is a way to create training where learners master instructionally designed packaged material and are free to do so at their own pace and in a way where they may be able to utilize some of their own unique learning styles.

Some examples of SDL include web-based e-learning, computer based training (CBT) courses, video, printed workbooks, study guides, and structured on the job training. In addition to other benefits, SDL offers many time and cost advantages. Today, organizations are continuing to choose this instructional method over traditional classroom based training. 

To work effectively, SDL has to fit the learning requirements. In one situation, I worked with the material services group of an automotive manufacturer. They contracted with me to create a CBT program to teach their newly hired tow motor drivers how to drive a tow motor in the manufacturing plant. Once the learner completed the tow motor computer based training course, the learner’s driver’s license would print and this was in a sense the “certificate” of course completion.

The material services group wanted this training to decrease costs associated with tow motor accidents and injuries. They thought that CBT, which offered consistency and the ability to handle large numbers of new hires at any given time, was the perfect solution. But using CBT alone was more likely to double or triple their current costs associated with tow motor accidents.

A key consideration this group was overlooking was the importance of Structured On the Job Training (SOJT). Using CBT alone to teach a new hire how to drive a tow motor was not an option. CBT did not allow the learner any supervised time operating the actual tow motor. CBT was a perfect instructional format for the informational parts of the cognitive objective, but using CBT alone would not allow the learner to put the knowledge to work or to achieve the psychomotor objectives required to master driving the tow motor. So CBT and SOJT would have to be used in tandem to achieve the desired results.

Next week, I’ll share with you a model used in schools and corporate organizations called Facilitated Self Directed Learning.

Coaching questions: How could SDL benefit your organization? What is your experience as a learner with SDL? Does the training provided by your organization fully support mastery of the learning objectives? How do you best learn? What’s your unique learning style? 

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. If you are interested in learning more about how you can partner with a LifeTrek coach to enhance your resilience, please Email Christina or use the Contact Form to arrange for a complimentary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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