Personalized learning has never been more important. Employees are more scattered than ever — they’re at home, in offices, on the road, or all of the above. Work schedules are ever-changing, and hiring is on the rise. Because of a combination of these factors, companies must deploy a personalized training strategy to meet employees where they are to ensure pertinent training is deployed in a way that is meaningful and results in true learning.
Additionally, we are constantly surrounded by personalization in almost every aspect of our digital lives: Social media, advertising, music playlists and streaming services all update their content to cater to the user. This normalization of personalization has created an expectation that other aspects of life should be personalized too.
The question is, how do you apply this to your own training plans?
What is Personalized Learning?
Personalized learning ditches traditional learning tracks and promotes the idea that you should no longer teach everybody the same lesson at the same time. Instead, you should customize learning for each person and develop individual goals. You can do this in a couple of ways:
- Using technology to automate proficiency mapping, knowledge and skill gaps identification and booster learning.
- Allowing learners to set their own goals and work independently from the trainer. This way, they can learn at their own pace and take ownership of their learning progress.
What are the Benefits of Personalized Learning?
1. Paced learning per individual provides a better understanding and higher engagement of your learning content.
This method of training can assist learners who are having trouble with specific concepts/training sections. It allows them to slow down and comprehend one section before moving on to the next one to ensure they have a thorough understanding of what is being taught. Also, when the content is personal and relevant to them, they are more likely to be more engaged in the content, which leads to better retention.
2. More easily identify and close knowledge gaps.
This system can also allow trainers to stay informed of the status of each individual they are teaching. If someone falls behind, their trainer, their manager or the technology can identify and close gaps.
3. Improves the employee experience and allows trainers to identify which learning content and methods are making the greatest impact.
Building a culture around personalized learning improves the employee experience. Everyone learns differently, and by meeting employees where they are, you show that you care for them and their development at a personal level. It opens up opportunities for greater peer-to-peer learning and identifying subject matter experts, increasing the likelihood that your training will make an impact.
4. Increases learner motivation to do their job well.
When learning is directly connected to the learner’s job or interests and provides insights they can immediately use in their day-to-day work life, it will likely motivate and equip them to perform better.
5. Keeps your training materials up-to-date and effective.
Constantly evaluating learner progress through training materials gives you insight into the validity, timeliness and relevancy of your learning content to ensure the most efficient and effective training is being taught.
How Can You Create a Personalized Learning Model?
There are several methods for creating a personalized learning model. None of them are mutually exclusive, so feel free to combine these methods in a way that works for you:
- Train mentors/managers on how to judge each learner’s needs and respond to them accordingly. This entails observing learner progress and creating one-on-one sessions, or customizing their learning to hone in on concepts that aren’t sticking
- Use technology to easily scale your personalized learning and the analytics to prove it. Understanding how your learning is performing affects future learning budgets, business outcomes and the employee experience.
- Allow learners to dictate their own learning process. Periodically collect feedback from your learners and their leaders to determine how their training is going, what processes should be changed and which learning content is confusing/unclear. Be open to changing your learning process for future learners.
- Create individual goals rather than group goals. A standard set of objectives can result in poor goal achievement. As mentioned earlier, this can help you understand where a learner needs more focused attention. It also contributes to personalization by allowing the learner to feel like an individual instead of another cog in the machine.
- Allow for and encourage self-learning at a learner’s own pace, and make it easy for them to do.
- Be open to change. Outdated learning materials that aren’t personalized or effective can affect how new and existing employees perceive the company. Learners who don’t feel like learning is cutting edge may not take the organization seriously or consider them a forward-thinking company, resulting in employee churn and poor motivation and performance.
Remember, not only will personalized learning contribute to the overall success of your L&D programs, but it will also be expected by learners who are constantly being fed personalized experiences in other aspects of their life.