Personalized learning is just that—learning that prioritizes the learner’s interests, needs, and situation as best as possible. It’s engaging enough to pull the learner in, and practical enough to help him or her see the personal value and benefits. For a more in-depth definition and deconstruction of personalized learning, check out this article written by Katrina Stevens or take a look at ten trends of personalized learning in 2017.
This type of learning has seen a surge in recent years due to its versatility. A static course is unlikely to meet the needs of every learner involved, where a personalized course provides an experience that’s adjustable for each individual. To give you an example of a personalized learning solution, we’re going to focus on a training program we at Allen Communication created for a large financial institution.
Video interviews with professionals
We started with a base of courses themed around a topic, split into 3-5 chapters each. Rather than introduce each chapter topic with text, we opted to use motion graphics instead and custom interview videos with professionals in the financial advisor field. These videos focused on specific questions framing ideas about the following:
- Effective ways to approach clients depending on the situation
- Personal accounts of situations where these skills came in handy
- Barriers that these seasoned professionals had to overcome
- Tips for new financial advisors coming into the field
Using a successful individual to frame each chapter’s contents helps increase the learner’s investment in the course, as he or she is now also able to see that success is possible and to see the framework of others who came before.
An interactive planner
Working together with our art and programming teams, we were able to create an interactive Action Planner that each learner could fill out as they progress through the courses. This Action Planner records information and makes it available to print or review, and includes writing prompts and questions to facilitate learner interaction and thinking. Each Planner is required to complete the page, but is completely individualistic in the way that the learner can provide as little or as much information as they want.
Personalized workbook pages for each course
Outside of the Action Planner, we created a related Workbook. Available to download as a .pdf file at the beginning—or throughout—each course, these Workbook pages have an activity for each chapter as well as Take Action steps and Key Takeaways to provide a forum for real-life application. These Take Action steps include suggestions for ways to reach out to clients or interact with outside programs and specialists to help them grow their practice (and, in turn, their profits).
Simulated client conversations
Finally, we also included a variety of knowledge checks that were individualized to the learner. Rather than create multiple choice questions with a clear yes or no answer, we came up with scenarios that simulated actual conversations between a financial advisor and his or her client. After being prompted to select the “best” response, the learner received input about which part of the response is good and which part can be improved. We recorded audio to be used for both directional instruction and client questions to further break up the experience and make it more interactive.
Initiating client conversations can be hard at first, and learning how to properly network and share your value with both clients and partners takes practice. A personalized learning experience provides a forum for learners to build confidence in their skills, and prepares them to branch out into the real world at their own pace and through self-direction. This is especially true for businesses in the financing industry. In a field where hours are long and contacts are so diverse, having the guidance of professionals and a pathway for experience can help decrease nerves moving forward and help your employees reach a greater level of success for your clients, yourself, and your practice.