Being selfish is typically frowned upon in most areas of our lives. The adage, “There’s no I in team” comes to mind when an individual is ridiculed for exhibiting a self-centered attitude. But in training, these rules don’t exactly apply. In fact, there are two I’s in training.

When you think about it, learning is a personal experience. It’s about self-exploration, gaining knowledge, building confidence and expanding skill sets. Regardless of how it occurs or whether it’s for personal or professional growth, learning is about the individual.

In corporate training, we must realize that each employee is unique, and these differences will influence outcomes. As an example, consider one department at your organization where multiple people perform the same job. Now, think about the backgrounds of these individuals (e.g., education, experience, age, etc.). Then, consider their weaknesses and strengths. And finally, consider their interests and long-term goals.

While these individuals may perform the same job, they are dynamically different people who will progress at different speeds and interpret information differently. In this context, we can see why a one-size-fits-all training program would fail to meet the needs of all the employees.

The Rise of Personalized Learning

Technology is transforming our lives – both inside and outside of the workplace. Today’s learners have grown accustom to personalized experiences in their day-to-day lives. From consumer websites recommending products based on previous searches to GPS tracking offering a recommendation based on your specific location, it is only natural for employees to expect that same level of customization in training.

Modern learners want to be at the center of the learning experience. They are concerned with the specific skills they need to perform their job and focused on the speed in which they can achieve growth. Before sinking their time into countless hours of training, learners want to understand what’s in it for them and how their role is making an impact in other areas of the business.

Personalized learning is engaging and impactful because it provides the relevancy learners want and that organizations need to meet business goals. For example, adaptive learning technologies can monitor the progress of employees, providing learning and development (L&D) with data and insight into their performance. The technology uses a question-based approach to check learner comprehension and enables the learner to place-out of content they may have already mastered. This ensures the learner is not wasting their time on content they already know and allows them to focus on more challenging information.

Coming Together

The learner is just one side of the equation. The priorities of the business must also be taken into consideration when developing corporate training initiatives. When you get down to it, high-performing organizations develop training programs that reflect the needs of the business. L&D must translate the organization’s mission, values, goals and objectives into training programs that will maximize the performance of its employees to deliver on the intended outcomes.

While the learner and the business operate with individual goals in mind, L&D must serve as a “liaison” advocating for the needs and expectations of both audiences. Training is the catalyst to driving organizational performance. It could be argued that L&D should view those two I’s in training as representative of the learner and the business. One is irrelevant without the other.

Without strategically aligned training programs, organizations will likely fall short in preparing their employees to meet their goals. By acknowledging that learning is a personal experience, L&D can bring relevancy to training that will benefit the learner as well as the business.