It will come as no surprise that cable and satellite TV subscriptions have plummeted in the last few years, or that sales of fitness apps and wearables are up. We don’t want to consume the same old content or follow generic plans; we want experiences that are personalised to our needs and preferences so we can get the most out of them.
Corporate learning and development is no different. Everyone is too busy to sit through one-size-fits-none training at work. Fortunately, most talent developers agree that personalised workplace learning is far more beneficial for employee development than traditional corporate training that teaches every employee the same thing, the same way, at the same time.
While most people know on an intuitive level what “personalised learning” means and why they like it, they might be hard pressed to put it into words. In this post, we will define the term and talk about why personalised learning is the gold standard for workplace learning and development.
What Is Personalised Learning?
Simply put, personalised learning means supporting the needs, abilities and goals of each individual through customised learning and development pathways. Personalised learning accounts for each person’s learning objectives and preferences for content and delivery methods, making it engaging, effective and efficient. This approach has benefits both for individual learners and for the organisation.
Why Is Personalised Learning Important in the Workplace?
It’s well established that employees want to work for organisations that invest in their skills and career development, but multiday training sessions with a binder of canned content that will sit on shelves and collect dust aren’t valuable to anyone. Individuals want learning opportunities that are relevant, and organisations want value for their investments in corporate training. Personalised learning achieves both.
Benefits for Individuals
People like personalised learning and are more likely to benefit from training when they enjoy it. But why they like personalised learning comes down to some principles of adult learning that are directly addressed by personalising learning experiences. Adult learners enthusiastically engage with learning opportunities that are:
- personally meaningful and relevant
- tailored to account for existing knowledge and experience
- practical and problem-centered
Here are three ways personalised learning applies these principles.
1. Personalised Learning Gives Employees a Say in Their Learning and Development
Your employees know what skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs well, and they know what their aspirations and interests are. When given the choice, people will choose learning opportunities that are relevant and meaningful, and as a result, they will be engaged with and even excited about their training. Personalised learning enables individuals to work on the skills that are most relevant and applicable to their work and career development goals.
2. Personalised Learning Accounts for Prior Knowledge and Experience
The wealth of knowledge, skills and experience that your employees bring to learning programmes can be a big asset to the overall learning environment. People can learn as much from each other as from the course if their experiences are shared and the course administrator takes the role of a facilitator rather than an instructor. Personalised learning experiences allow flexibility to incorporate the perspectives of the learners and adjust to the existing knowledge they have.
3. Personalised Learning Is Timely and Practical
When employees participate in corporate training programmes, they’re taking time from other personal and professional commitments. That’s why they want training that’s practical and delivered at the point of need. Personalised learning experiences can equip learners to tackle problems, letting them practice skills and apply knowledge to realistic situations and problems in a setting where it’s safe to take risks and experience setbacks. As a result, they can confidently apply what they learn to their jobs.
Benefits for Organisations
Training Industry estimates that globally, organisations spent over US$357 billion on training initiatives in 2020, showing that company leaders understand the importance of investing in employee development. But surveys also show that many organisations are missing the mark. For example, Gartner reported that 70% of respondents to a survey of 6,000 workers said they don’t feel they have the skills they need to do their jobs well.
Personalised learning and development pathways have several benefits for organisations looking to get a good return on their training investments. Personalised learning is:
- Efficient: When training is relevant, timely and tailored to each person’s starting point, no one is wasting valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere.
- Effective: When learners get what they need right when they need it, they can apply their learning immediately and avoid the forgetting curve.
- Engaging: When employees find learning engaging, it nurtures a growth mindset and helps build a learning culture throughout the organisation.
As a corporate training strategy, personalised learning has another benefit that can’t be overstated: It can help organisations future-proof their workforces.
Personalised learning is a game in which everyone wins. Employees benefit from career advancement opportunities that are hyper-relevant to their goals, and employers don’t have to look outside the organisation for skills they can easily develop internally. In collaborating with employees to carve out individualised learning pathways, organisations can make full use of the talent and potential that exist within and close skill gaps.