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Are You Taking the Right Steps to Personalized Learning?

Published: February 06, 2017
Skip Marshall is Vice President and CTO of Tribridge Read More

Personalized learning. David Wentworth, principal learning analyst with Brandon Hall Group, defines it as "the process of providing learning experiences based on the employee's professional and personal needs/interests and being able to access that learning in a venue and timeframe that is best for the employee."

In other words, it’s "just for me" learning. According to a Brandon Hall survey, most learning professionals recognize the importance of personalized learning:

  • 83% of respondents said they either "strongly agreed" or "agreed" when asked the question, "Do you agree that personalized learning supports employee needs in continuously developing knowledge, skills and abilities?".

While there is widespread agreement on the need for personalized learning, widespread implementation is lacking.

Barriers to personalized learning

As organizations grow, it becomes more difficult to maintain a personalized learning and growth path for all employees. Across the board, experiences tailored to a small group become homogenized and expanded until there is a one-size-fits-all feeling to everything. At the same time, however, it is becoming more critical to personalize learning for employee satisfaction and engagement, and for personal and organizational success. 

Other Brandon Hall surveys report that:

  • Less than half (46%) of companies said they use personalized learning "all the time" or "most of the time" in their learning strategy.
  • Only 30% of companies said their organization creates a personal learning plan that helps the employee keep track of their goals, strengths and development opportunities "all the time" or "most of the time".

    With multiple disparate technologies and widely dispersed and diverse audiences, providing a personalized, learner-centric experience can be a challenge. According to Brandon Hall:

  • 53% of companies consider the inability to customize content as a significant challenge to implementing the learning strategy.

Characteristics of a personalized learning environment

But there are companies blazing a trail for personalized learning. Brandon Hall's Wentworth notes in research that:

  • 83% of high-performing organizations (HiPOs) consider delivering learning experiences tailored to the learners' needs and the subject at hand as "important" or "critical" to their business.

Wentworth concludes that HiPOs are more likely to have an established coaching/mentoring program and create an environment in which learners are able to:

  • Easily find subject matter experts within the organization
  • Comment on or rate content
  • Easily share content with one another
  • Discuss content, courses and development paths in the learning environment
  • Meet virtually to discuss topics without the need for a formal scheduling system
  • Generate and contribute their own content 

6 Steps to personalized learning

It's time to rethink our approach to talent and focus on the individual learner in the context of a rapidly changing workforce. Learners need to be at the center of the learning structure. Companies must offer experiences that meet learner expectations while driving long-term results. Here's how we'll get there:

  1. Focus on experiential learning opportunities.
  2. Provide technology to support learner preferences.
  3. Allow learning to take place naturally.
  4. Support learner-driven knowledge gathering.
  5. Enhance opportunities for information sharing.
  6. Continually monitor, evaluate and improve.

What's next?

Find out how our latest technology innovation, ContentSphere, drives learners toward an experience where individual needs and organizational goals are met.

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