Why Customized Learning Programs are the Future of eLearning
Chicago International Charter School (CICS) Irving Park students needed help. One teacher reported that 25 to 30% of her students were struggling academically. Another teacher said she spent hours each night trying to plan lessons that would appeal to all of her seventh grade students, attempting to split the middle between students who had adequate knowledge to pass the course and others who would be left behind.
CICS Irving Park needed to increase pass rates and engage with students on every learning level. That’s when the school decided to take a more creative approach to teaching by adopting a personalized learning solution. With such a wide range of learning levels, a more individualized approach to learning could address the issues each student faced.
Students now benefited from an adaptive, blended learning approach, splitting class time between active, self-paced learning using a online learning solution, and in-class discussions about the topics they were covering.
After a single semester of personalized learning, students experienced higher growth in math than the previous year. The teacher who said her students were struggling now reports a decrease in those numbers from nearly 30% to less than 15%.
Personalized learning can help a variety of learners reach their goals, from elementary school learners to lifelong learners seeking ongoing education. One of the key benefits of personalized learning is an increase in engagement. At BenchPrep, we’ve found that a personalized learning pathway improves learner engagement by nearly 100%. Learners that are more engaged with the materials are sure to experience better results.
In fact, personalization is exactly what learners want. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace. Learners don’t want to be forced into the same mold as their peers anymore. They want a learning path that caters to their precise needs, challenges, and learning style.
Custom learning programs hold a number of advantages, both for learners and organizations. These reasons are why we believe it’s the future of eLearning.
Improved Time Management
Ongoing learning is essential in today's world, but the thought of pulling key performers away from other priorities for days at a time to learn is probably undesirable. Many businesses can’t afford to lose those hours of productive work. However, with a personalized learning approach, you can count on your users to learn faster with better results.
A custom learning program can cut the time it takes to master topics by 50% so your users are learning faster at higher engagement rates.
Plus, everyone absorbs information at different speeds. When instructors are striving to maintain engagement for all learners in traditional classroom settings, the pacing could be too fast for some, yet too slow for others. Personalized learning empowers learners to self-pace, moving as quickly or slowly as needed, with no time wasted for any learner.
Increased Accountability and Motivation
Personalized learning means each learner is shown that their individual learning needs matter. You’re not one person in a classroom with dozens of other learners. You’re on your own eLearning path. When learners are forced into the same learning program as everyone else, it’s difficult to cultivate individual strengths – strengths that can make them an asset to your organization.
This individualistic approach is sure to lead to increased accountability for every user, particularly with the emphasis learners place on their own success. Learning a new skill ranks as the #1 career goal this year and a personalized path encourages learners to strive for ownership of their individual success. And with today’s advanced eLearning platforms, you can see your achievements each day, with progress trackers and checklists, eliminating the changes of discouragement or loss of interest in their learning goals.
Availability of Extra Assistance for Learners
One of the advantages of custom learning is the ability to cater learning material to each user’s needs. While offering one-on-one, extensive personalized training for every learner is ideal, the costs associated with that approach are high, especially for larger organizations. With custom learning programs, you're able to offer additional assistance to learners, based on their individual learning requirements.
Having access to extra assistance personalized to their needs helps learners address their areas of weakness. But, how can you understand users’ needs well enough to provide extra assistance?
With a solution like BenchPrep, data is the key to determining what materials to provide to which learners. Using data, every interaction users have with the solution is tracked to identify exactly where they’re excelling and where they need additional help. Once these areas are identified, materials can be provided on topics that require additional attention.
In a traditional classroom setting, this extra assistance for learners usually comes in the form of supporting materials for learners to read outside of class. With a personalized eLearning path, your learners can focus directly on the topics where they need help, instead of spending more time and effort where they’re already proficient.
Reduction in Dropout Rates
At Essex County College in Newark, N.J., 85% of students began studies in the remedial math course, yet the pass rate for this course was only 50%. Half of these students were either failing or dropping out.
What could these low pass rates be attributed to? A wide range of student competency levels. Some students had adequate preparation to pass the course, while others had an elementary school-level understanding of math. Professors inevitably cast a wide net when teaching, leaving some students behind, while boring others, causing many to drop out. To remedy this problem, the community college sought personalized learning solutions to improve pass rates.
Custom learning helps reduce dropout rates in a few ways. We’ve already talked about the increase in engagement with learning material when learners are on adaptive learning paths. When you’re more engaged in the learning process, you’re less likely to drop out. They’re not covering the material they already know, which can be boring. They’re filling in knowledge gaps they need to succeed.
The time savings associated with personalized learning helps to reduce dropout rates, too. Learners can get more studying in, while minimizing the impact to their current work schedule. Many people drop out before a big exam simply because they couldn’t invest enough time into preparing for it. With personalized learning, learning times are reduced by half, allowing the learner get more done, faster.
Because learners want to engage with material at their own pace, a personalized learning path reduces the frustration that comes with a one-size-fits-all learning solution. Learners are motivated to continue with the process instead of dropping out, when they can learn faster, easier, and at their own pace.
Ultimately, when your learners are on custom learning paths, they’ll experience better outcomes. In 2009, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invested $300 million into personalized learning research and implementation in K-12 education systems. A resulting study showed that students who engaged in custom learning programs saw greater gains in math and reading than students who were taught through traditional learning methods.
Though this personalization happened in elementary and high school settings, the principles hold true for professional and higher level settings, as well. With personalization, you can improve the outcomes your organization and your learners experience. For example, a better trained sales team means more revenue for your company.
Personalization is an eLearning trend that’s sure to become more and more common in learning environments. Are you ready to leverage personalization for improved learning outcomes in your company? With BenchPrep, the process is simple. We use algorithms to identify the learning needs of each student and put them on an adaptive learning path that’s constantly updated based on every click they make. And, you reap all the benefits of personalized learning, without overcoming time or financial burdens. Put each learner on their own path, thanks to custom learning though BenchPrep.
Want tips for creating a personalized experience for your learners? In our on-demand webinar, we unpack 3 core pillars of an effective learning program to ensure your learning program is positioned for long-term success.