One size doesn’t fit all. We need to be able to personalise the learning experience for all. Have you ever undertaken a training course where you covered content you already knew, or content that was relevant? We probably all have at some stage, I’m thinking about all the OH&S induction training I have done at different organisations.

One size doesn't fit all

We have all had different experiences. Growing up we have been exposed to different things, been to different places, been taught or told things from different people. We have worn different hats. Roles we have had in school, in groups and work have all been different. This has shaped the experiences we have had. All of these experiences impact on what we think. Which in turn impacts on how we act and react. And our experiences impact on how we learn. It impacts on what we already know and how we make sense of new information we receive. It impacts on how we react or engage in our learning experiences. It impacts on the speed that we acquire new knowledge. It also impacts on our natural curiosity and our desire to learn.

But, in the workplace we expect everyone to learn the same way. We send people off to sit in a face-to-face workshop to hear and experience the same things. We push out linear eLearning courses that everyone needs to start at the same point and finish at the same point, covering the same content. Too much emphasis is on everyone taking the same path. Expecting everyone to start at point A and finish at point D. Even though some people may be at point B, C or even D already. We aren’t focusing on the objectives enough, what performance outcomes we need in the workforce. The strategic objectives of the business. We need to set the objectives and help people achieve them and give up some control on the path that they take to get there.

Based on the experiences people have, everyone has different gaps in knowledge or skill. Everyone needs a personal learning journey to reach the objectives. A journey that allows them to fill the knowledge and skills gaps they require.

Everyone has different gaps in skills and knowledge

There are many benefits to personalising the learning experience. People have a greater choice over what or how they learn. As a result, they are more engaged and more motivated to learn. It also provides an opportunity for people to learn at a time that suits their need.

Personalisation isn’t anything new. It’s already happening. Just look at the movie recommendations you get on Netflix based on what you have already watched, book suggestions after you’ve purchased on Amazon, or adds popping up in your Facebook feed after you have searched an overseas holiday or new car.

So how do we personalise learning?

Implement Technology

We need to implement the right technology. We need to have systems in place that allow people to access and source a range of information, systems to allow people to easily access content, systems to allow people to share content with others and encourage social learning.

Capture Data

We need to capture data about what people are doing, where there are gaps and what they need to know. The xAPI standard provides a great opportunity to do this. We can capture learning events that have taken place or decisions that people have made in scenarios and tests. From this we can then direct or recommend content to fill the gaps required.

Curate Content

There is so much content available on the internet. YouTube is one of the most used search engines for people to learn something. We need to be able to embrace these resources and curate content for our learners. We also need to allow people to access this range of content and allow for user generated content. For people to find their own information and to share it with others.

Encourage Continuous Learning

Encourage people to go out and find information that they need. Not simply rely on being spoon fed content that lives on the LMS. Go beyond that and allow for their natural curiosity. Encourage people to find information to solve the problems. Encourage people to develop their skills continuously, in alignment with the organisations strategic objectives or to meet customer demand.

Embrace Campaign Learning

This is the name our friends at HT2 give to a more agile approach to corporate learning and development. It involves a campaign of Plan, Do and Measure. It incorporates content curation to deliver courses quickly, rather than waiting months to build and deliver the perfect course, which may be out of date as soon as it goes live. It involves planning a campaign around the organisations strategic objectives. From this a range of tools can be used to inspire, instruct and implement change. Then measure the impact in real-time, quickly and early.

In conclusion

Personalised learning means better learning, with more engaged and motivated learners. This results in better outcomes and, as a result, better returns.

So, how can you personalise learning in your organisation?