Why Do Personalized Learning Strategies Work
Professional education has advanced from the days when everyone sat in a conference room and listened to boring lectures they promptly forgot by the time the class was over. Technology has transformed our ability to craft more engaging and personalized learning strategies that help learners retain more knowledge. In this post, we'll discuss why the personalization aspect is so important and what some methods are for achieving it.
What is a personalized learning strategy?
People are wildly different in terms of their prior knowledge, skill sets, and learning ability, which makes it difficult to adapt your learning environment to meet the unique needs of each individual. Not only do your learners vary in terms of their skills and abilities, but their personal preferences vary, too.
A personalized learning strategy considers all these factors -- your learners’ knowledge, skills, abilities, and preferences -- and delivers a learning plan specifically designed to help each learner succeed. It can be challenging to achieve individualized training plans for each of your learners efficiently at scale. Personalized learning seeks to remove inefficiencies by leveraging modern technology in a way that allows learners to learn the way they want to.
Why personalized learning strategies are important
Personalized learning strategies are worth the time and technology investment because they work. There are concrete ways that personalized learning improves educational outcomes for learners.
- Decreases learning time — Some people come into a course knowing the basic or even intermediate knowledge that the course will be teaching. By forcing those learners to sit through information they already know, you are increasing the amount of time it takes for them to learn the information they need. On the flip side, with a personalized learning strategy, you can get those learners straight to the new material they need to master, which makes the time they spend in the course much more efficient -- and effective.
- Leaves nobody behind — Sometimes, the opposite problem happens. A learner may struggle with some concepts that are presented during a course. With traditional methods, there are few procedures in place to slow down the lessons until that person has a firm grasp of the topic. This leaves the learner permanently behind and decreases their chances of success with the course. With a personalized learning strategy, learners are free to take the time they need to master each lesson at their own pace, boosting overall success rates.
- Increased engagement — Personalized courses increase learner engagement in several ways. First, a learner who is bored because they already know the material or frustrated because they have been left behind is far less likely to be engaged in the course. This weakens the effectiveness of the course. Second, a learner who is allowed to learn at the pace they are comfortable with and using a method they enjoy will find the course far more fulfilling than one who is forced into a rigid structure that doesn't work for them. Personalized learning strategies enabled by learning technology also open the door to additional features designed to keep your learners engaged: digital flashcards, games, and discussion boards, for example.
Learning Personalization Strategies
There are several techniques you can leverage to achieve personalized learning within your program to improve learner outcomes.
- Omni-channel learning program delivery — There are countless devices people can use to access online courses, and everyone will have favorites. The first step towards personalizing your learning experience is to make sure you don’t limit your learners to a single platform or device. Some may prefer to learn on their desktop computer when they are at home, and they still want the option to get some quick learning in while they are out using their iPhone. Being able to bring the education to wherever your students want maximizes the utility that they will get from the course, and an omnichannel learning program allows your learners to pick up where they left off no matter what device they use.
- Gamification — Making learning fun has always been a goal of educators. Gamification isn't just about making education fun -- it is about taking advantage of the human desire for competition and leveraging the principles of game mechanics to make your learning program more engaging. Gamification includes user experience features like leaderboards, achievement badges, progress bars, and more. Whether your learners are trying to beat the scores of others or improve upon their own, gamification makes learning more engaging in a unique and entertaining way.
🔍Want to learn how gamification can engage your learners? Check out our blog, The 6 Best Gamification Tools to Engage Your Learners, to learn more.
- Custom learning paths — Not everyone in your organization needs to learn the same things. Custom learning paths allow for two things. For your course designers, they make it easy to set up different paths for different roles, so that everyone is presented with only the material that is relevant to them. They also make it easy for students to pick the things that they need to learn the most, spend more time on things they have a hard time grasping, and skip entirely topics they are already well versed in
- Adaptive Learning — Adaptive learning goes a step beyond expecting the student to know what they need to learn. With adaptive learning, students are presented only with information that is new to them or information they haven’t yet mastered. With self-paced online courses, it is very easy to determine where a person is at in their learning journey and tailor their education to their level and their needs. It is also easy to have them redo a particular lesson if they struggle with it, so they are not at a disadvantage in more advanced lessons.
- Reporting — Personalized learning strategies deliver reporting benefits to you and your learners. From your learners’ perspective, being able to track progress through a course and see which questions they answer correctly and incorrectly gives a better picture of their knowledge. Tracking confidence takes this one step further and allows learners to see the gaps between their grasp of the material and their confidence in the material. For learning program administrators, detailed reporting helps you understand how your content performs, how your learners’ knowledge improves over time, and where you have opportunities to develop new online courses to better meet your learners’ needs.
- Blended learning — Blended learning mixes the self-paced, adaptive style of learning with traditional instructor-led (or virtual instructor-led) education. With modern tools, this can still be a learn-from-home experience. Videoconferencing technology has eliminated the need for everyone to gather together in the same building. Blended learning allows students to benefit from the type of one-on-one instruction that a live instructor can provide while also allowing the instructor to see where the class stands and tailor their course to the specific group they'll be teaching.
🔍Curious to learn more about how Richardson created a successful learning environment using blended learning? Take a look at our case study, How Richardson Has Transformed The Game For Sales Training.
Find Success with Personalized Learning Strategies
Personalized learning will put your students on the fast track to success. If you are ready to tap into all the possibilities that personalized learning can bring to your training programs, learn more about our platform, BenchPrep Ascend.
Want to learn how an online personalized learning program can give you a competitive edge? Check out our case study, ASCM Nearly Triples Goal For eLearning Sold In First Year With BenchPrep, to discover more.