Have you ever given someone directions by telling them to turn left at the blue building and right at the large barn. Or maybe you give directions in terms of .5 miles to the north and 3 miles due west. The bottom line is everyone’s brain functions differently and processes information in various ways. This is the same when it comes to employee learning. The format that works best for one employee won’t work for another. That’s why you need personalized learning for your organization. That way everyone can learn new skills in a way that works best for their personality.
You may wonder how this is possible if you run a large company with many employees or if you run a small company and have limited budget constraints. The process is relatively simple if you follow a learning and development strategy that caters to personalized learning. But before we discuss the plan, here are some benefits to customizing your training program.
5 benefits to personalized learning
1. Drive engagement
If you think back to school there were always subjects you did better than others in. A lot of this has to do with how you learn and also how engaged you are with the material. By offering personalized learning, you can play to an employee’s learning strengths. And when an employee is interested in the training, the more vested they will become.
2. Helps design thinking
Design thinking is a strategic problem solving method. It creates a linear approach to learning new skills. It has been shown to increase engagement and help employees retain information longer all while gaining a deeper understanding of the material. Design thinking is easy to add to a customized learning plan to help all types of employees learn the same subject matter.
3. Builds further skills
Although you may need an entire team to learn a new software program, it will take some employees longer to learn than others. And some employees will truly excel at the new software skills being taught and want additional training modules. Personalized learning can help those lagging behind focus on learning while offering additional training to those excelling. In the end, everyone gets what they need and you create more experienced employees in the process.
4. Better time allocation
There are many ways people learn from visual to audio to text-based training. By creating personalized learning, employees learn in the best capacity possible. This makes training quicker and offers increased flexibility. As a result, more training can be taken in shorter amounts of time. In the end, training becomes more efficient and allows more time for workplace productivity.
5. Faster results
When employees are trying to learn in a format that is hard to understand, they either gloss over the information or have to keep rereading what is being taught. This wasted time makes employees frustrated that training is taking away from their valuable work hours. Plus, the lack of understanding means they don’t learn what they are supposed to. But by using personalized learning, you can focus on what works for each individual. You’ll get employees up to speed faster and the learning process will be one they look forward to taking.
How to implement personalized learning
Now that you know some of the benefits, let’s discuss how to start customizing learning within your organization. If you say you don’t have the budget or the resources to revamp your program, don’t be deterred. It’s simple enough to build personalized learning into your existing program. Here are the steps to take.
1. Gather employee feedback
The first step is to get feedback from the employees. This is easy enough to do during the review process. Managers should create an employee development plan with each of their team members. Department goals should be outlined and what each team member needs to do to help meet those objectives. Then asking the employees what skills are most needed to learn in order to be the most productive. This is an important step in personalized learning because it gives every employee a say in what they feel they need to learn.
2. Consider different formats
Next look at how you train. If it’s all classroom based, consider taking a more blended learning approach by adding in some virtual options. The more varied the learning is, the more personalized you can make it for your employees. For example, some employees travel heavily and will benefit more from an mLearning platform where human resources soft skills training may work best in a group setting. Changing from one format to another can be easy if you use a learning management system. A resource like this can offer templates and help you transfer data to various platforms.
3. Build in assessments
Instead of offering assessments at the end of a training session, offer these at the beginning middle as well as the end. That way, an employee can easily see what they know before the course, what they are learning while training and what the new takeaways have received post training. Assessments are a great way to personalize learning since everyone learns at various speeds. Based on the scores, you can offer additional resources during and after the training to really drive key points to memory.
4. Take into account different learning styles
As we said before, everyone learns in a different way. Although you can’t account for everyone’s unique style, you can use several formats to make it more personal. For example, one learning module may contain quizzes, videos, a PowerPoint slide and a link to a webinar at the end. The more varied your learning, the more customized you can make the training process.