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Steps To Personalizing The eLearning Experience

Personalizing The eLearning Experience: How To Provide The Best Training To Your Employees

This was originally posted on eLearning Industry May 13, 2019

eLearning is becoming a ubiquitous part of the corporate experience. Companies are taking advantage of mobile and internet technologies to educate their workforce on a plethora of subjects. This practice, of course, has many benefits: speed, mobility, standardization. But, one essential aspect of the learning experience has been missing: personalization.

According to Udemy, personalization is the future of Learning and Development. And for good reason; imagine as a child, having an educational experience that isn’t guided by either a teacher who knows you personally and cares about your needs or by your own personal curiosity and desire to learn. Quoting Gartner’s Sharon George, Udemy writes, “Personalization will revolutionize L&D by providing customized learning experiences for every employee, based on the challenges they face in their role, their career aspirations, and their personal preferences.”

Can Personalization Really Be Accomplished?

Some may find themselves wondering, “Is personalized training really possible?” Writers at eFront Learning asked the same question. Of course, personalizing an eLearning course does take more time, resources, and money, but the benefits of such an endeavor far outweigh the cost. For this reason, eFront suggests that personalized learning be focused on “high-potential employees” in order to prepare them for leadership.

Benefits of Personalization

Victoria Hoffman, a writer at eLearning Industry, says that personalized eLearning is the key to corporate engagement. In a world where most media that employees consume is already personalized, it’s imperative that companies cut through that noise by creating personalized learning and development content. Victoria also states that the benefits of personalized courses include the opportunity to gather more data on individual users. Administrators, she says, can use that data “to understand [employees] specific learning needs, analyze their skill gaps, and provide customized training programs”.

How Does Personalization Work?

The office of Ed Tech, in an article on Medium, defined personalized learning as “instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner”. Though many different definitions for personalized learning exist, they see 5 common similarities across these definitions:

  1. The pace of learning is adjusted
  2. Learning objectives, approaches, content, and tools are tailored and optimized for each learner
  3. Learning is driven by learner interests
  4. Learners are given choice in what, how, when, and where they learn
  5. Learning is often supported by technology

There are many ways to apply these principles when designing your courses. Creating a user profile, for one, will allow you to track the pace and accomplishments of each individual learner. Using this profile, you can tailor the content to their position and needs. Giving the learner the option to explore other educational experiences that they may also find helpful will create even more engagement. Yes, this kind of personalization requires more than a glorified Powerpoint presentation, but by using a learning content platform like DesignLab, it’s possible. AllenComm also has training consultants that are ready to help with any personalization challenges you may find yourself facing.

Levels of Personalization

In another eLearning Industry article, Asha Pandey points out that personalization can exist along a spectrum. On a basic level, courses could include the functionality to choose specific “fonts, themes, or backgrounds” for their experience.

A more intermediate level of personalization could allow the learner to customize their experience based on their learning style. For example, they could opt for audio-based experiences, video, interactive lessons, or a course that uses less bandwidth than usual (i.e. slideshows instead of videos).

At an advanced level, personalization would take into account the learner’s role, region, interests, and proficiency, then use that information to further customize the course. This kind of information can be gathered by requesting a user to take a test before the course or fill out a short survey.

The Future Of Personalization

ATD, the Association for Talent Development, quotes Dan Lovely, the former Chief Learning Officer of AIG. “I’m looking for much stronger Artificial Intelligence engines that really understand each employee: What they’re currently working on, who they’re exchanging emails with, what appointments they have on their calendars, both internally and externally. With those kinds of insights, we can increasingly offer people suggested learning components that can be very useful for them.” His point? The future of personalized eLearning will be powered by Artificial Intelligence.

This future is already here. In the same article, ATD implores administrators to stay up to date on new tools and platforms they can use to personalize their learning experiences. Personalization is a growing movement, and with the rate, technology is progressing, we’re bound to see even more amazing opportunities on the horizon.