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Custom eLearning Development Topics: How to Personalize Content for your Learning Audience

Did you know that personalization is a vital method to increase learners’ motivation and engagement?

Custom eLearning courses can be designed with personalization in mind. Use of personalization is a critical strategy for increasing the overall success of your learning initiative, because it encourages a mindset called “psychological ownership.” People feel a sense of ownership when they can personally identify with a concept, idea, or even an object. They feel inspired and motivated, and a sense that they have agency and control to make progress and improvements that make a difference – to themselves, and others.

For example, in the workplace we often hear leadership and management talk about taking ownership of a project. To explain the idea simply, you can say that ownership is an expression of self-identity and belonging that can be tied to the activities that people find meaningful. When people take ownership of a project, they feel motivated to perform and responsible for outcomes. They are willing to problem-solve, help move the project forward instead of waiting for direction, and are invested in the results.

The same is true in learning. For learners to feel a sense of ownership with regards to learning new skills and completing a training course, they must feel personally involved and engaged. They must have a sense of control and ownership.

How does that relate to custom eLearning development and personalization? As learning and development professionals, we can take steps to build personalization into our custom eLearning development with courses that will increase motivation, move people to think more deeply about a subject, help us to remember information, and provides a greater sense of satisfaction.

Person benefiting from a custom eLearning development

Custom eLearning Development Personalization Strategies

Here are four important strategies to personalize your custom eLearning development to encourage learner ownership – and ultimately improve outcomes.

  1. Feedback. Build in opportunities to provide feedback to your learners. This allows for active participation, rather than passive reception of information. When learners know they can ask questions, get more information, and will be guided to improve, they are more likely to pay attention and feel invested. This feedback can come in the form of vILT, for example, or may be built in through self-assessments.
  2. Accessibility. At the very minimum, as designers we must make it easy for learners to access and navigate courses. All eLearning should be built and tested to ensure users can control navigation and playback on the devices they use with the browsers they have and the internet access available.
  3. Customization. It should be a given that the learning is applicable to the role of the employee taking the course. Beyond that, you should provide options for preferred experience. Ideally, options built into the course would allow learners to choose to watch a video, view a diagram while listening to audio, or download the transcript in PDF. 
  4. Choice. How is the content displayed? Can learners modify visual themes? Do your learners have options to download and learn on their own flexible timetable? Can they add questions to a chat to pick up information later? Can they take the learning with them offsite outside of the office? Any or all of these options increase choice, and therefore a sense of control. The great thing about custom eLearning development is that all of these options are available.


All of these strategies are useful to in new custom eLearning development, or during a content refresh to update material. Adding user control and fostering a sense of learner ownership will improve individual success, with the result that it help organizations to meet objectives and desired outcomes.