Creating a Personalized Learning Experience in Corporate Training
When it comes to learning in the workplace, employee training methods have shifted in recent years away from classroom training toward e-learning. In the last decade, e-learning has moved from a simple one-directional instructor learner model to an experience in which the learner accesses training information from a wide range of sources. Thanks to the explosion of both the social web and mobile technology, learners can access training almost anywhere and anytime, across multiple devices. Social media, search engines, on-demand webinars now complement formal training, on-site workshops and conferences, and informal discussions.
Yet the abundance of information, and the ability to access it via different channels, does not solve a key challenge that corporate learning and development professionals still face: the challenge of context. One of the key barriers to achieving successful training results is that training is often too abstract or sweeping, that it ultimately overwhelms the employee faced with absorbing the information in a short period of time. The training that does occur is often not put in the context of specific tasks when the employee would need it the most. Therefore, we see knowledge lost once training ends, and the lack of success in applying it to everyday responsibilities.
The idea of creating a personalized learning experience is that the training process – note it’s a process as opposed to a single event – is adapted to the needs and current skillset of each employee. In personal learning environments, employees typically have their own profile. This profile tracks who they are, what their skills are, what their tasks are in the company, and what their learning and work requirements are. It collects data on what topics or information have already been covered, what "steps" in the learning process have been completed, and which information is relevant now. The employee will then receive that information when they need it most –before they are set to begin the task, or when they are actually performing the specific task and need assistance.
As a result, there is a more direct link between training and performance, and managers will hopefully see a high level of employee confidence and productivity.
Learning is something that must be done every day to keep your memory fresh and your brain working. Personalization of learning is a great way to help employees learn on the job and also enjoy learning it. Companies should always provide the tools employees need to learn. The company should make sure that the employees are actually learning from the methods being used and offer additional support when it is needed.
Personalized learning is gaining popularity, and is a great way to make sure that your employees are learning effectively, strategically, and in a way that will result in a positive and lasting impact.
Jason Silberman is Marketing Director at WalkMe, an interactive online guidance system and engagement platform, which reduces training times and costs, while raising performance levels. He is the lead author and editor of Training Station, a blog devoted to news and ideas on training, learning and employee performance. He recently published a free eBook – "Express Train: How to Accelerate Employee Time to Competence" – with tips on overcoming some of the common challenges in employee training. Follow him at @tstationblog.