E-learning: This time it's personal

E-learning October 12 2016

e-learning

As learning and development technologies develop, companies, organisations and educational establishments are increasingly recognising the value in personalised online and e-learning programmes. Although a relatively recent development, it is believed that organisations implementing personalised learning structures will bring many benefits. By harnessing technology, e-learning can become more integrated, more specific, target led, and personal. Learning and Development providers recognise that advancement in e-learning technologies and adaptive teaching methods enable organisations to support learners on their individual learning pathways.

Personalised learning recognises the fact that we all operate differently, we learn differently, at differing pace, and therefore, we have different learning needs. By personalising the training, we can maximise its impact on the business or organisation. This is, after all, personal development. It's about the person, and this time, it's personal.

Several techniques come into play when personalising learning plans, starting at the beginning of the pathway with assessments of the student/learner's prior learning and achievements, going right through the process with integrated planning and access to real time data analysis for feedback and advice purposes. By aligning these processes, and allowing the student to select the right technologies, the right tools, the learning becomes more personalised and reactive.

Personalised learning makes the path to knowledge shorter, and speeds up the learning process. For business, this means improved cost effectiveness, and for the employee, enhanced engagement and motivation. This in turn improves the impact on any future learning the employee may need to engage with further down the line.

In order to prepare the path, and to personalise the learning, we must first establish what prior learning the student/employee has engaged in. By assessing prior learning, the first pieces are then able to be put into place for personalising subsequent training, and by stripping out what's already learned, the focus shifts onto fresh, new information. While the amount of information removed by this process varies depending on both the course and the student/employee, it can shorten the course by as much as 20%. This in turn frees up valuable time which the student/employee can then put to more productive use.

Obviously online and e-learning solutions, by their nature, have some elements of personalisation inbuilt in terms of their design, allowing bite size learning to be carried out at the ideal time and place for the student/employee. This is one of the many benefits of platforms such as Wranx. The proprietary algorithm which forms the base of the Wranx platform assesses the recall and ability of each user, before automatically producing a unique learning programme for each individual learner, tailoring the training in the process. It should be remembered, however, that the training which follows after this process will need to be consistent and able to be presented as a whole course, coherent, fluid and better focussed. Also key is that students/employees in training are able to make solid judgements of the type of training they require, and are encouraged to engage in the process throughout.   

In many ways, the discussion of how best to maximise the impact of personalised learning is actually a discussion on how best to apply algorithmic techniques appropriately, and so the need for a strong foundation, derived from access to real user data, is clear. If an employee is to remain engaged in the training, and encouraged to learn more, then the correct decisions need to be made for that specific person, and the correct training modules selected. An individual's commitment to training is for them a leap of faith into the unknown, and by personalising training, that commitment is reciprocated and the employee supported and encouraged. Those who are engaged in learning have a strong idea of what they already know, what they need to know, and how they need to learn it. Any selection an algorithm can add to help personalise that training must enhance (rather than replace) the individual’s prior learning.

Assess, learn and monitor

Platforms for learning, such as Wranx, give the opportunity to assess the prior learning to establish the needs of each individual, and personalise the subsequent training. E-learning solutions are accessible 24/7, as and when the student/employee determines the need, giving them autonomy over their learning. L&D providers are able, via access to data, to monitor each individuals'  further learning needs 'on-the-go', as those needs change, and are therefore able to provide more effective feedback and support. Through this, evaluation becomes an ongoing process, rather than a part of the process delivered after the fact. Again, this better evaluation specifically targets the ongoing learning needs of individuals, and provides personal targets. Learners are able to develop their own prioritised plans, based on targets already met, and areas that need more attention.

By recognising the inherent strengths of personalised learning, businesses and organisations are able to better support their Learning and Development needs by enhancing the learning process for individuals, and are better placed to meet long term strategic objectives.

E-Learning