Personalized Learning is What You’ve Been Waiting For

Personalized Learning is What You’ve Been Waiting For

What are your people learning today? As an HR professional, you’re probably familiar with the latest trends surrounding the development of your organization’s people. But how can personalized learning support this?

A recent study discovered the 83% of companies say they think it’s important to develop leaders at all levels of the organization. But only 5% have a fully developed plan to do so. I have a suggestion that can help you cut through the L&D jargon and set a plan in place to improve business outcomes. It’s called personalized learning—and it’s centered around the employee, not some check-the-box topic or top-level learning push.  

Not surprisingly, we’ve learned that personalized learning can have a big impact on performance outcomes – for employees, teams and organizations – leading to better business outcomes overall. In fact, in a recent study by Saba and analyst firm Brandon Hall Group, 93% of high-performing organizations said personalized learning supports an employee in reaching professional goals more efficiently and 91% said personalized learning improved the link between learning and organizational performance. 

What is personalized learning?

In the race to improve performance outcomes, it’s natural to search for the visions and actions that differentiate high-performing organizations from their competition. 

Personalized learning is employee-centric while staying aligned to the goals and needs of the organization. Whether through instructor-led classes or short, micro-learning bursts, high-quality personalized learning offers social and collaborative interaction that allows your high-performers to share their ideas and receive feedback. 

One of the best things about personalized learning is that it’s just for you—and your development needs. With the right learning management system (LMS), companies can allow employees to find, track and manage all their learning and development, whatever and wherever it is. Saba Discovery, for example, allows employees to add articles, webinars and courses to their learning plan that they might attend outside of their formal learning platform. This allows high-performing employees to search far and wide for content that inspires them, rather than just plodding through "assigned" courses.

Providing personalized learning during the onboarding process

New employees should be introduced to personalized learning from day 1 to set them up for performance and career-development success in the short, mid- and long term.

Saba hosted a webinar recently where we learned more about the USA TODAY NETWORK and how they create learning journeys for employees. Onboarding of new hires is a particular focus for them, with new team members added to the LMS in a feed each night. Then, a manager logs in and assigns the employee to the 101 onboarding courses. This training is much more than simple “new hire” paperwork. It’s a comprehensive approach to bringing the new employee fully into the company and setting them up for success with an ongoing, personalized training roadmap.

The link between personalized learning and performance

The Brandon Hall Group research found that high-performing organizations are more likely to offer personalized learning to their people than other companies. These type of organizations reportedly agreed or strongly agreed that personalized learning:

  • Improves the link between learning and organizational performance
  • Supports an employee in reaching professional goals more efficiently
  • Supports employee needs for continuous development
  • Helps to improve organizational strategies, mission or vision
  • Aligns with the 70:20:10 framework

As learning in the workplace evolves in an effort to match the needs of both the business and its people, a culture of continuous learning and development is a natural result. When this happens, all team members improve their skills and performance so they can deliver their best at work, each and every day. In addition, engaged employees who feel supported by their employers and are offered opportunities to learn more and develop skills are more likely to stay in their positions and contribute to the company's bottom line. According to the 2017 Saba State of Employee Engagement Report, this includes the much-discussed millennial workforce, too.

Personalized learning is a hallmark of high-performing organizations. As people work and collaborate in new ways, they need learning environments that are engaging, accessible, impactful, scalable and relevant. That's why it's critical that your organization continues to invest in your people with personalized learning to help them upskill in their roles over time.

Author: Hawley is head of Organizational Talent and Leadership Development at Saba Software. As the OD leader at a talent management provider, she has the unique opportunity to marry Saba’s ongoing performance, continuous learning and career development strategies with the company’s own cloud solutions and services. Hawley is responsible for global initiatives ranging from onboarding to performance management training and leader development, as well as Saba’s people and team-driven development programs. Before her L&D leadership role, Hawley served as principal product manager at Halogen Software, prior to the company’s acquisition by Saba in 2017. Nearly a decade of experience in working with hundreds of HR and learning leaders to translate their business and user needs into product capabilities has provided her with distinctive insight into her current role.

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