From AI to Access – Insightful Discussions at the Fosway Symposium

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Here are some key takeaways from this year’s Fosway Symposium.

The recent Fosway Symposium in London brought together heads of learning and HR from leading European companies to discuss workplace trends and the challenges they face developing talent in their organisations.

A wide range of highly topical trends was debated and knowledge and individual experiences were shared. Here, we take a look at three of the learning-based topics that stood out for us:

AI and Adaptive Learning

Workplace learning is undergoing a shift change. Corporate training used to be all about the large scale, highly structured program that delivered set content on defined topics. Everyone worked through the same content, for the same length of time, until they’d completed the course.

This is no longer the case. There is much more understanding today about the benefits of – and need for – personalised learning. Adaptive learning takes its lead from the learner, assessing their needs at the start of the program and delivering content appropriate to their learning goals.

Let’s take an example. A long-standing employee in an IT department is going to have different needs when it comes to undertaking training on information security compared to a new graduate who has just joined the company. Next Generation Learning platforms now embrace AI, adapting content delivery throughout the course. This flexibility results in better learning outcomes, not only for the individual but for the company as well.

Learning Personalisation

This follows on strongly from the first topic. Providers of learning platforms today have access to vast amounts of data that provide a deeper understanding of human behaviour and learner motivation. As a result, we see learning experiences that are better targeted, more relevant, more enjoyable and more effective for learners. This is because the technology is able to recognise learning styles and adapt content delivery accordingly; learners are motivated through reward initiatives and gamification techniques that stimulate interest, while course prompts and reminders are carefully timed and appropriately delivered to elicit a learner response.

The conversations around the tables indicated that it’s not just the quality of the learning content that is important in today’s world where there is a huge range of options to choose from. The consumerisation of learning means that people are used to content that adapts – the same experience they get through social media and online services such as music streaming. A similar approach in training saves learners from wading through irrelevant training material and makes for a better overall experience.

Personalised learning is an eminently achievable end-state but for many organisations, their existing learning platforms, training processes, and the learning culture is geared towards taking longer SCORM based eLearning courses, not bite-sized chunks that can be adapted to create personalised learning pathways. As a result, companies will need to not only think about the platforms they use for learning, they also have to think about the types of content that they buy and how they author courses (if indeed courses are still the answer).

Access 

This concerns the need to reach every learner. On the face of it, a simple enough concept but, in reality, this covers a range of accessibility considerations. There were some interesting examples discussed in organisations where access to learning is anything but simple – think remote locations, limited bandwidth, and no email addresses. So first off, it’s about getting the basics in place – systems access and log-ins to the learning platform, the right level of technical support and the means to resolve access issues quickly.

Then, within the courses themselves, content has to be fully accessible to reach every learner. This means screen reader compatibility as well as other considerations that impact course design decisions such as colour, imagery and text types.

For more information on Fosway’s roundtable and research visit www.fosway.com

 

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