What is personalized learning?

At its core, personalized learning is a tailored educational experience. Imagine a suit or dress that's custom-made just for you, fitting all your unique curves and angles perfectly. That's what personalized learning does but for your brain. It's an approach that customizes training to fit the individual needs, preferences, and pace of the Learner.


“Employees ultimately utilize only 5 - 20% of what they’re taught in training courses.”

- Robert Terry, in a recent editorial in the Financial Times


The corporate training world isn't deluded. We know how much employees can dislike mandatory compliance training videos, and are fully aware that some Learners try to skip to the end of their online courses. And with statistics like the one above, who can blame them? 

Jane Hart, writing on her Workforce Collaboration blog, responded to the FT piece, writing:

“In all likelihood, there was probably nothing instructionally wrong with the courses/training in question; it was more likely to be the case that they were the WRONG solutions for the problems they were intended to solve.”


Essentially, this means that employees aren't just passive recipients of one-size-fits-all information. Workers will become more actively engaged with relevant training materials tailored to their unique roles, experiences, and learning styles.


Traditional Training vs. Personalized Learning

Traditional Training:

  • One-Size-Fits-All: Traditional training often delivers the same content to everyone, regardless of their prior knowledge or role in the company.
  • Fixed Pace: Everyone progresses through the material at the same speed, which can be too slow for some and too fast for others; usually taking place at an in-person conference or meeting.
  • Generalized Content: The training materials are designed to cater to a broad audience, which might not address specific needs or challenges of individual learners, especially ones working with precise machinery, models, or systems.


Personalized Learning:

  • Tailored Content: Training is adapted to the individual's role, experience, and learning style. It's like having a personal, cloud-based tutor for every employee!
  • Flexible Pace: Learners can move faster through topics they're familiar with and spend more time on areas they find challenging. This can also help train employees who make work with different schedules or time zones.
  • Relevant and Engaging: With content that directly relates to the learner's role and challenges, engagement and retention rates are often higher.


The Benefits of Personalized Learning for Corporate Training

Increased Engagement:

In the realm of corporate training, engagement is everything. When training content is tailored to an individual's role, experiences, and challenges, it naturally becomes more relevant and interesting. Instead of sifting through generic modules, employees find content that speaks directly to them, making them more likely to engage and participate actively. 

Efficiency and Time-saving:

Time is a valuable commodity in the corporate world. Personalized learning respects this by allowing employees to learn at their own pace. They can quickly move through topics they're familiar with and take their time on new or challenging subjects. This flexibility not only saves time but also ensures that learning is a stress-free experience.

Better Retention:

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report captures the link between engagement and retention in a nutshell:

“Employees who are engaged are more likely to stay with their organization, reducing overall turnover and the costs associated with it. They feel a stronger bond to their organization’s mission and purpose, making them more effective brand ambassadors. They build stronger relationships with customers, helping their company increase sales and profitability.”

The same report found that only one-third of workers are engaged... 

It's a well-established fact that we remember what is relevant to us. Personalized content, by its very nature, is tailored to be relevant to the learner. This relevance, combined with active engagement, ensures that employees retain and apply what they've learned more effectively. 

Higher ROI:

"Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability."

- Gallup study

For businesses, the bottom line matters. Investing in training is essential, but it's equally crucial to ensure that this investment yields tangible results. Personalized learning, with its focus on relevance and efficiency, ensures that employees not only learn but also apply their knowledge effectively. This leads to better-skilled employees, improved performance, and, ultimately, positive business outcomes. In essence, a higher return on investment for every training dollar spent.


Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Personalized Learning Plan:

A personalized learning plan is akin to a roadmap for an individual's learning journey. Instead of a generic path that everyone follows, each employee gets a route tailored to their destination – their unique learning goals and needs.

For Directors of HR, Heads of L&D, and Directors of Training, the benefits are clear. Implementing a personalized learning plan means more engaged employees, better training outcomes, and a more efficient learning process. In a world where the only constant is change, staying ahead of the curve is essential. A personalized learning plan offers a way to do just that, ensuring that training is always relevant, up-to-date, and effective.


Step 1: Identify the Learner's Goals

Start by understanding what the employee hopes to achieve. Are they looking to master a new tool, understand a process, or take on a new role? How will you know when a Learner has achieved this goal?

The first step in this process would be to clearly label and communicate what the goal of training is for each Learner - why are they taking courses? Is it to help on an upcoming project, to upskill in a new area of work, or to remain industry-compliant? By making sure the Learner and Admin both know what success looks like, you can assign and manage relevant training, while cutting the fat and leaving out unnecessary "gen-ed" courses. 

Top LMS Feature to Utilize: Intuitive LMS dashboards and reports can help track progress through tangible metrics by quantifying a Learner's analytics, allowing the LMS to track and guide the learner's journey towards these objectives. To learn more about how to quantify metrics, download a free eBook about Getting the Most of Your LMS Data


Step 2: Assess Current Knowledge

Before diving into the learning material, it's essential to gauge where the learner currently stands. What do they already know, and what gaps exist? How can you ensure that the training provided is neither too basic nor too advanced?

To address this, initiate a pre-training assessment. This not only helps in identifying areas of strength but also pinpoints knowledge gaps that need attention. By understanding the current knowledge level, you can tailor the learning experience, ensuring that it's both challenging and rewarding.

Top LMS Feature to Utilize: Pre-assessment Quizzes and Skill Gap Analysis tools within advanced LMS platforms can be invaluable. These tools administer quizzes to determine the learner's current knowledge level and then analyze the results to identify areas that need focus. This ensures that the training content is perfectly aligned with the learner's needs.

To utilize this tool within Knowledge Anywhere's LMS, schedule a meeting with us or reach out to support@knowledgeanywhere.com about our AI Assessment tool, which instantly creates personalized quizzes based off of your courses. These interactive quizzes can be given to employees before they take a course. This allows them to prove already-known skills - if they meet qualifications, they will not have to take training they don't need, and if their knowledge falls short, a Training Administrator can assign the course to them. 


Step 3: Tailor the Content

Once you've identified the learner's goals and assessed their current knowledge, the next step is to curate content that aligns with their objectives. How can you ensure that the content is directly relevant to their goals and addresses their knowledge gaps?

Top LMS Feature to Utilize: Having personalized Learning Paths in your LMS platform is a must-have feature. They can automatically curate and adjust content based on the learner's goals and pre-assessment results. This ensures a highly personalized learning experience, tailored a training curriculum based on individual needs, and eliminating any redundant or irrelevant modules. 


Step 4: Build in Engagement and Interactivity

Theory and practical application often go hand in hand. How can you ensure that learners can apply what they've learned in real-world scenarios?

By integrating simulations, case studies, and real-world tasks into the learning plan, learners can practice and apply their newfound knowledge in a safe and controlled environment.

Top LMS Feature to Utilize: Simulation and engagement tools allow learners to immerse themselves in real-world scenarios - some examples include Virtual Reality Training, role-playing, and quick quizzes. These hands-on approaches ensure that knowledge isn't just acquired but also effectively applied.  

According to the National Training Laboratories, the retention rate for learning by doing (active practice) is 75%, while the retention rate for reading is only 10%. This is often visualized in what's known as the "Learning Pyramid," which suggests that people tend to remember:

  • 10% of what they READ
  • 20% of what they HEAR
  • 30% of what they SEE
  • 50% of what they SEE and HEAR
  • 70% of what they SAY and WRITE
  • 90% of what they DO


Step 5: Incorporate Feedback Mechanisms

By integrating feedback portals and regular check-ins, you can gather insights directly from the learners, refining the learning path in real time based on their experiences. But how can you ensure that feedback is continuous, relevant, and actionable?

Top LMS Feature to Utilize: Advanced, modern LMS platforms should allow for feedback collection, either in the form of a post-course survey or an area to rate, review, and comment on the course. This ensures that the learning experience is continuously refined based on direct input from the learners.

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