Your learners have unique personalities, interests and preferences, and they come from different educational and professional backgrounds. These unique characteristics mean they all learn differently and have unique learning needs.

As such, it only makes sense that your training program is personalized to support each learner in their personal development journey. Personalization drives relevancy, which in turn drives uptake and better learning outcomes. This can help you to create the high-performance learning culture you’ve been dreaming of.

But let’s take a step back and explore what personalized learning is and what makes it so effective.

Personalized Learning

Leslie Hart, an author on brain-compatible learning, once asserted that designing educational experiences without understanding the human brain is like designing a glove without understanding the human hand.

Since Hart made this analogy in the 1980s, there has been exponential growth in learning interventions that are backed by brain science.

One of these developments has been the rise of personalized learning. Personalization is an approach that takes your learners’ unique needs, interests, goals and strengths into account by creating personalized training interventions for each learner.

Sounds tricky, right? How can you create personalized learning programs for every learner in your organization?

Thankfully, technology keeps opening doors for more advanced customization options. In fact, 78% of learners want to explore courses that meet their career goals and skill gaps, and 77% of learning and development (L&D) professionals agree that it’s vital to employee engagement.

As such, personalization is no longer a “nice to have,” but an expectation. It’s an essential tool to keep your learners engaged. After all, learners report that they would spend time learning if it would help them stay up-to-date in their current field.

By personalizing your content and courses, you can meet this need and ensure your learners keep coming back for more.

Why Personalization Works

To recall information and combat the dreaded forgetting curve, you must form long-term memories. As such, new information needs to reach the right areas of the brain so that you’re able to retain and recall it.

This makes the limbic system one of the most important areas of the brain when it comes to L&D. When you receive new information, it passes through the amygdala and onwards to the hippocampus. It can then be sent to your long-term memory banks.

But forming long-term memories sounds a lot easier than it actually is. More often than not, you end up forgetting the information within days, if not in hours. And that’s where personalization comes in!

Personalization Tools

The levels of personalization in online learning range vastly. At the minimum level, personalizing your training program means including, for example, name tokens so that your learners are greeted by name at the beginning of each content unit.

However, you can take personalization much further than that. In fact, effective personalization is about making the entire learning journey relevant and meaningful for everyone.

Truly personalized learning experiences ensure your learners only receive content that’s most relevant to their skills gaps, job roles or aspirations. This level of personalization requires an effective level structure and customized learning pathways for each learner, all of which are achievable with the right tools.

Levels

Building a library full of content typically means you’ll end up with training that covers the needs of various roles, teams and departments. After all, your learners have unique training needs, often relevant to their job roles or career aspirations.

While learning content is essential for effective training, it can also cause confusion among learners if it’s not relevant. Training created specifically for one team might not have any impact whatsoever on any other department.

As such, you need to ensure that your learners are only pushed toward the content that’s most relevant to their needs. That’s where levels come in.

Levels are a game mechanic that helps you to both gamify and personalize your training program. A level structure means that your learners only progress to the next stage of their personal development once they have mastered their current level.

For levels to work effectively, you should provide both required and optional content. You choose which content is assigned to each level and what mandatory content they need to complete to progress further. This content can include completing eLearning units, assessments, quizzes or earning enough badges or experience points (XP).

Upon completion, they unlock their next level and a new set of content. Not only does this create an effective and palatable structure, but it also means that your learners can see what training they still need to complete to level up.

Implementing a progress bar also helps your learners to track their progress within a level. This is a strong motivator, as people are more likely to achieve an objective if they have a sense of advancement toward their goal.

Multiple Learning Pathways

Ultimately, your level structure creates a learning pathway for your learners. However, one single pathway is rarely suitable for all learners.

As such, you need to choose a learning technology solution that supports multiple learning pathways. Creating multiple pathways is the best way to give each learner a personalized experience, as each employee only gets pushed content they actually need.

With more advanced learning technology solutions, you can also unlock the possibility of suggested content. Recommendation engines can push additional content or resources to your learners based on their activity (or the activity of similar learners).

As a result, learners can find all the resources they need without having to look for them among hundreds or thousands of content units sitting in your content library.

You can control the order in which your learners complete content units and the time frame in which these become available. This enables your learners to build their knowledge progressively. However, your learners can also explore additional content whenever they decide.

This push-and-pull strategy ensures that learners are informed of what to learn and in what time frame while giving them more autonomy and ownership when it comes to expanding their knowledge.

Platform Customization

While content arguably plays a big role in personalized learning, your platform also needs to feel like home to your learners. As such, you should choose a white-label learning technology solution that helps you to take your personalization even further.

With a white-label learning management system (LMS), you can customize your platform to the extent that you remove any trace of the original vendor’s branding. This includes aspects like a custom logo, widget dashboard, color palette, domain name, banners, imagery and a modular set of features that support all your training needs.

In addition to the look of your platform, make sure to customize the different features you use in your training program. For instance, personalizing your levels creates that extra layer of meaning. Small details like this matter when it comes to ensuring your training resonates with your learners.

In Conclusion

One-size-fits-all training no longer cuts the mustard. Failing to cater to individual needs now means you will suffer on an organizational level.

Luckily, today’s modern learning technology solutions cater to personalized learning. Implementing features like levels or learning pathways ensures you support your learners in their unique learning journey.

The end result? A learner who’s hungry for more and engaged with their training.

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