We live in a world where personalisation is an expectation, not an option, and this doesn't exclude the workplace. The demand for personalised learning is real and has significant benefits for your organisation and your people. Employee-centric learning significantly improved employee engagement, with the LinkedIn 2021 Workplace Learning Report finding that 76% of Gen Z employees consider 'learning' as a key to their career success.
Personalised learning is about more than branding your learning management system. It's a critical stage in creating fantastic user experiences that help to drive engagement and empower your people to take control of and embrace their learning.
Let's look more closely at the concept of personalised learning and how to apply it in your workplace.
What is personalised learning?
Personalised learning can be simply defined as supporting the needs, abilities and goals of each individual within your organisation through customised learning and development opportunities. Every employee follows their unique learning pathway, allowing them to grow in their role and support wider business objectives. Done properly, personalised learning is a great motivational tool. It empowers your people to move forward in their careers with the objectives of the organisation as a whole still present.
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven demand for personalised learning, with many organisations pushed towards eLearning and other individual approaches to employee training due to lockdowns. The global personalised learning market is estimated to exceed $2 billion by 2024, growing at a rate of around 29% from 2018 to 2024. The flexibility developed to manage remote working during the pandemic means organisations already have many of the tools necessary to implement personalised learning. As it's what employees want, there’s no reason not to move forward in this direction.
Personalising learning experiences are relevant and specific to the individual learner's needs and goals. Personalised learning also delivers the value organisations want from their corporate training as employees are engaged, interested, and motivated to learn. Putting effective personalised learning strategies into place satisfies both your people’s and your organisation's needs.
Steps for creating a personalised learning strategy in line with career goals
Giving your people a chance to self-direct and learn on an individual basis to support your business and their career goals involves approaching your learning and development strategy differently, but it can be done successfully. These steps are vital for ensuring an effective strategy to support both sets of goals:
1. Understand the learners
Personalised learning is impossible without a strong and developed understanding of the learners and their needs, what they face in their role, their day-to-day activities, and the skills necessary to futureproof their role.
2. Undertake comprehensive learner needs analysis
The foundation of any personalised learning programme is the creation of learning personas. Each individual's persona decides their pattern of learning and the most relevant materials for their needs. It’ll also ensure they learn what they want, not just the essential requirements.
3. Identify the optimal personalisation level
Not all elements of your training programme need to be highly personalised. Compliance training and other essentials like health and safety can be fairly similar to other organisations, dependent on your industry area. However, soft skills training and job-specific skills can be much more personalised and specific to individuals and their roles.
Personalised learning experiences are difficult to deliver via traditional means without incorporating other types of training to further enhance the experience. Most personalised learning programmes will incorporate the following:
- Mobile learning: Applications customised and personalised to allow individuals to access their learning modules or experiences via their mobile devices. Mobile learning also often allows learners to add their own learning experiences via their devices and share them with the wider network. Mobile learning is on-demand and delivers just-in-time information that your people may be able to integrate into their work instantly.
- Microlearning: Small, bite-sized chunks of hyper-relevant information make it easy for learners to digest key points they need quickly. Learners can pick and choose the relevant information they need.
- Gamification: This encourages learners to fully engage with their learning experience and draws them back into the process, with multiple opportunities to apply, evaluate, and assess their learning.
Software and technology are, of course, vital for the development of personalised learning experiences.
The role of Learning Management Systems in personalised learning
Learning management systems (LMS) offer learners an adaptable environment tailored to their learning goals and expectations. This can be the case when the right system is in place. The right LMS will incorporate all the features your people need to succeed and benefit from their fully individualised learning experience. The requirements will differ from organisation to organisation but investing in an effective LMS is a step towards delivering effective personalised learning.
A good LMS can map each employee's personal learning journey and help them to manage and maintain focus in their career development. It also allows managers to oversee and provide targeted support for your people at different stages in their learning experience. Many LMS platforms integrate easily with other tools and make collaboration and engagement a priority, helping learners to further understand the importance of and value of the learning they’re involved in.
How can personalised learning boost business performance?
Training and development can eat up a huge portion of your budget. However, a Gartner survey found tht 70% of a group of 6000 workers felt they didn't have the skills they needed to do their job. Personalised learning and development pathways put the learner in the driving seat, but the management team still maintains some control. This means you can tailor learning to individuals and dial into their talents and strengths to benefit the wider organisation.
Personalised learning also has the power to futureproof your workforce as you give them the chance to develop new and emerging skills that set your company ahead of the curve. Organisations investing in personalised learning quickly see the positive impact within their workforce.
Personalised learning is the ultimate win-win opportunity. Your people have the chance to advance their careers in a hyper-relevant, goal-focused way, and employers can utilise the process to fill skills gaps and find talent within their organisation they may not even know was there. Individualised learning pathways may uncover hidden talent and add purpose to each training experience.
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