One of the most interesting themes of the Masie Learning 2013 Conference has been the importance of personalizing training. The most effective way to engage our learners is by speaking directly to them: not to a group of employees, not to an age group, but to specific individuals. If we can design training that can be personalized by and for our learners, they will be more likely to feel part of the program. Many speakers in the conference have touched on the value of this personalization and described ways it may be accomplished.
Stu Crabb from Facebook spoke about their corporate notion that “One Size Fits One.” Facebook has achieved its enormous success in part because every Facebook experience is unique: every user can personalize their page with their own interests and content. This personalization is the reason users keep coming back to Facebook; it’s not a generic corporate website—it’s MY website. I have invested time in shaping it, and it now speaks to the topics I am most interested in.
Kevin Oakes from i4cp spoke about the personalized learning dashboards that have allowed their employees to construct their own training curricula. Their learning content consists largely of curated content from the web in addition to original courses, and they use data tracking to provide suggestions for each learner. Their metrics and analytics have enabled their learners to identify specific pieces of training that will produce the particular behavior change they need. As a result, their learners are more enthusiastic about training and more actively involved in seeking out new skills.
This move toward more and more personalized training makes the value of Allen’s customized, layered solutions even more apparent. Things like social learning features, tailored performance support, mobile toolsets, even performance games can produce the individual experience espoused by Crabb, Oakes, and many others over the past two days. If we think about the training we design and develop as a new experience for each learner, we will keep them engaged and excited about learning. And that engagement will make the training effective.