The other day I had a individual request some pointers on where to go to learn about a topic that was ancillary to a project she would be working on. The question arose as to whether there was real value in that. Certainly, since she would merely be executing scripts, there is not a significant short term benefit to time spent learning about this topic.
On the other hand, given the organization and her general responsibilities, there will likely be long term benefit to a little time spent now. However, there is a more significant issue in view. In my experience, an individual who likes to spend time educating himself makes a very powerful team member. This willingness to self teach tends to result in stronger problem solving skills and greater overall creativity. Failure to support such behavior means a failure to develop your team (and in this case it’s not taking much of a manager’s energy), as well as potentially driving a strong contributor to find an environment which values this behavior more. Something to think about.