Recent developments such as Virtual and Augmented Reality as well as the introduction of gamification in corporate learning are changing the face of training. The challenge still remains to engage and entertain as well as teach in an environment that is harder to control by L&D professionals.
Also read: 4 Benefits of using VR in training
Continue with: Why all the hype surrounding augmented learning? and Will augmented reality revolutionize training?
And then with: Top 3 gamification techniques for your business training and even Why companies should consider the gamification of work
With corporate education becoming almost entirely learner-centric, the solution I was advocating in one of my previous articles is personalized adaptive learning. It makes sense in the context of things and studies already support its benefits. However, there is some effort to be put in development and implementation so companies may not jump at the idea.
It’s sort of like with broccoli. You’ve heard it’s good for you, but it still is not the first thing you pick in the supermarket. That pre-cooked lasagna looks so much better – just pop it in the oven and you have a finger-licking meal. True, you’ll have to go to the gym and watch your cholesterol but you’ll think about that on a full stomach. If you do, however, pick the broccoli, take it home and cook it so it’s delicious, you have all the perks of a healthy dinner and no downside.
Top 3 benefits of adaptive learning in corporate training
While I am not going to enumerate the many benefits of the green vegetable, nor write down a good recipe for broccoli casserole, here are the positive points of adaptive learning and why it’s worth the while to make it happen in your organization.
Adaptive learning saves time
Time is money so if less of it is spent learning and more of it working efficiently, the organization will definitely stand to win.
In most companies, for a certain role there is a certain learning path. Whether that position is filled by a new hire, a person who has been with the organization for some time or somebody who comes from a similar job in another company, they have to go through the exact same modules.
Also read: Why each employee needs a learning path
It seems the main purpose is that in a certain time frame all the courses get checked as ‘completed’ and that alone means that the employee is completely prepared to get good results in the workplace. But some of the modules might be a colossal waste of time for some while for others they might prove a bit too advanced or specialized.
Personalized adaptive learning is designed to work specifically around the learner. There is no need to incorporate the basics in every module, nor to start with the assumption that everyone on that particular learning path has a good grasp of the essentials. It focuses on the areas that need improvement and on the competences that need to be enhanced.
For employees working in fields such as call centers, retail, or healthcare, where time away from the job is critical, making sure no amount of time is squandered is crucial.
Adaptive learning generates more transparent learner data
Apart from simply teaching, adaptive learning asks questions and by analyzing the answers it learns itself. This constant inquiry results in rather large volumes of very granular data. This makes it possible to analyze not only individual results but also groups’ performance as a whole, in clearly delimited areas, or even on specific issues.
As it is always integrated in an LMS, adaptive learning also keeps track of everything each individual has learned (it can even account for informal learning sequences), so when training needs to be updated, the modules can be modified and made available to those concerned without running the risk of any learning material being redundant.
Also read: The truth about informal learning: it happens all the time, anywhere
Read even more: How xAPI makes personalized learning possible, Building a learning ecosystem that works with xAPI and Top 3 benefits of xAPI in a training environment
Equally important, employing a question-based approach when it comes to corporate learning leads to greater engagement as the learners are made aware of what their competency gaps are and how these can be filled. This way they feel they are taking a course because it is actually of use to them personally (in their professional lives) and not because there is a certain number of training hours they have to be engaged in in order to meet some random key performance indicator of the Learning & Development department.
Basically, with this approach, learning specialists and employees can both have a clear image of where training is and where it is going.
Adaptive learning makes immediate updates possible
One of the main complaints of the modern employee is that information changes very quickly – whether we are talking of marketing offers, internal procedures or international rules and regulations. Traditional modes of training are not tailored to incorporate information that changes rapidly.
In facilitator-driven sessions, the instructor can deliver the most up-to-date material and weed out what has become obsolete. However, that works only for that particular training, and all those who have attended previously are left with the old data. It’s the same with e-learning – it can easily be updated but that holds value only from that moment on.
Without accurately keeping track of what people have already learned, these methods are difficult to update without making learners go through everything again (not only wasting a lot of time but also frustrating them for having to repeat stuff they already know). Adding the updated material at the end of the course will help those who have already completed it go straight to the novelty part but that will be confusing to employees who take it for the first time.
The optimal solution, once again, is adaptive learning. When something is added or modified in a course, the system can differentiate between materials a learner has already seen and new areas to be covered. It works so well that two employees in the same role, taking the same course will see only content that is relevant to each of them.
Of course doing things that are familiar and somewhat cozy (like popping lasagna in the oven) is easier but at times it can prove counterproductive. Implementing adaptive learning in the organization (or cooking that broccoli) takes but a small amount of effort compared to what it brings to the table.
FREE Resource: How to make training more flexible using automation
Raluca Cristescu is a Faculty of Letters graduate with over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.