Personalised Learning – 3 Things That Go a Long Way

One of the traditional caveats of corporate learning and training has been the lack of personalisation. Due to, among other things, company policies and regulation, organisations are sitting their people through several hours/days/weeks of trainings annually.  In many cases, employees fail to see the relevancy of these training programs, which demotivates them. “Why am I being trained on this? I’m not involved in anything like this in my daily job”. This kind of thinking is commonplace and the frustration for the lack of personalised learning evident.

While we move from compliance driven training to skills driven learning, we need to seriously reconsider our approach. Ironically, it’s information technology rather than persons which is the best in driving personalisation. When training for compliance, you can tick the box as long as the hours are fulfilled. But when you are developing for skills, knowledge and capability, the results define success. And good results require learning engagement, in which personalisation helps tremendously. To understand and drive personalised learning, here are three simple things you can do to personalise your learning.

1. Linking organisational roles and experiences to learning

Naturally, organisations employ people of various degrees of capabilities, knowledge and experience. However, in most cases, there’s quite a clear link between seniority or experience and the individual learning needs. Thanks to technology, we can take advantage of this kind of a link. We can feed our learning systems with information from e.g. the company’s Active Directory (AD) and HRM systems. We can retrieve all necessary information regarding e.g. seniority, tenure, experience, prior learning with this kind of data flows. Once we have this data, we can use it with the learning system to assign learning automatically, based on all these factors. This is the first step of improvement – providing personalised learning based on perceived knowledge.

2. Providing personalised learning based on skills and competencies

Moving to a more individual level, the next step is providing personalised learning based on skills and competencies. Naturally, skills and competencies are a bit harder to track than the roles and seniority. However, by employing seamless testing and data analytics, we can get a better picture of our employee’s actual capabilities. By analysing our employees’ learning history, results, experience and projects completed, we can predictively pinpoint where an individual employee needs learning.

Furthermore, we can complement the above by structuring our learning material in a new way. Firstly, relevant learning materials should include an initial capability assessment. Upon completing this, and based on the results, the learning system forwards the learner to a personalised path on the learning materials. If you scored poorly, you’ll get beginner level material. If the system perceives as you a subject matter expert, it will give you more advanced topics to deal with. Doing this, we give our employees learning content with the right difficulty level. Hence, we don’t overwhelm (too difficult) or bore (too easy) our learners. Essentially, in this model the learning architecture is more like a spider’s web rather than a straight line.

3. Give the learners the chance to personalise their own learning

Finally, a major source of learning motivation is a natural interest in the subject matter. Often, the scope of corporate learning doesn’t extend quite as far as our personal interest would take us. When finding things interesting, we would be happy to dig in extensively but the corporate eLearning only covers the basics. Of course, with limited resources, corporates can’t provide extensive material on all topics. However, we can reap the benefits of the connected ecosystem called internet.

When developing personalised learning materials, we should acknowledge our limitations. But, instead of stopping there, we should put in a little bit of extra effort to guide our learners. There are plenty of outside resources on any given topic which our learners could use to satisfy their personal interests. Off-the-shelf / open source content is seldom a good solution for corporate learning, but in this case, it can help. To help our learners, we should attempt to identify quality content which we can link to. Sure, it might be outside of the current scope of our corporate training, but it can provide a relevant learning opportunity for many. By allowing our learners to seek out subject matter they are interested in, we can positively influence their personal skills development. Even if the learning is not currently related to their scope of work, it might be soon.

Are you looking to provide more personalised learning to enable relevant learning paths across the organisation? We are happy to help and advise you on a data-driven personalisation approach. Just drop us a note here