Personalized Learning Can Make the Best Use of Your eLearning Content
First off, know that the concept of Personalized Learning is nothing new. In fact, it has been around a long time under different names. Back as far as the early 1990’s, organizations talked about prescriptive training. The idea being able to provide a learner with only the training they needed. The advent of computer-based training and then eLearning made that more and more possible.
What is Personalized Learning
In its most basic form, personalized learning is a process or system of changing the focus of how training is delivered. If you invested in a an instructor-led training course or an eLearning program, you typically wanted everyone to take the entire course. After all, you PAID for the entire course and you want your value. It’s that same type of thought process that makes you and I try to eat our money’s worth at an All You Can Eat buffet.
With personalized learning we instead place the focus on competency. We determine success in a course from mastery, not curriculum completion. Proponents maintain that we spend too much time making learners review or re-learn what they already know. It increases the likelihood of the learner disengaging from the entire training initiative.
So if someone has already demonstrated mastery of either part or all of a subject we don’t make them take the training. Instead we allow them to invest their time learning what they need to know.
Benefits of Personalized Learning
Instead of having intro, intermediate, and advanced level training you supply subject matter based on desired skills.
- Avoid information overload
A Bersin study we have mentioned before shows that we only have about 24 minutes of a 40 hour week available for training. Providing more targeted training optimizes the use of that time and avoids giving them too much information.
- Reduce noise
Related to above, there is a lot of information we need to process daily. Redundant information therefore starts to become noise. It distracts instead of informs.
The learner gets information they can apply and use. It’s what they need, not what they are spoon-fed.
The Unrealized Dream of Personalized Learning
Actually, inroads to making personalized learning began many years ago. First of all, there is SCORM. One hope for SCORM was that it would be able to provide the ability to control lesson and topic access and navigation. It was not a feature available in SCORM 1.2. Eventually, a form of that was provided in SCORM 2004, but was still never fully realized.
Implementing in Education
However, many K-12 educational institutions are implementing systems for personalized learning. With eLearning and learner data tracking becoming more prominent, the opportunity is there. Student progression through a course and through grade levels depends on demonstrating mastery and not on a population distribution model or traditional age grouping.
What’s different now?
What do we have that we didn’t have just a few years ago?
The availability of having both content and learner information stored and accessible off the Internet is key. Without that type of central repository it would be difficult to have enough information on hand.
The new standard for learning data allows us to record and track a lot more information that just completing a course or passing a quiz. In addition, it means that competency records are possible, so we get information about performance.
A big part of making it work is the collection of data. It is only through the information we have about a learner that we are able to truly provide for personalized learning. The more we know about learner preferences, abilities, skills, and knowledge set the more we can customize the experience.
The value of capturing data and customizing individual experience is demonstrated today by Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, and hundreds of other online services and organizations. Have you ever noticed how you search for something on Google and suddenly advertisements appear related to that? Or how Amazon and Netflix suggest products and movies based on what you have viewed before? They are using your data to attempt to create a better experience for you; showing you just what they think you want to see.
Starting Up with Personalized eLearning
Keep in Simple
One of the quickest ways to get started is to look at using quizzes. If you put together a pre-training quiz, you can assess what the learner knows – and doesn’t know – about the content. From that, you can then define which lessons and topics they should take as well as ones they can skip.
Align objectives with lessons and topics
In order for that to work, all of your quiz questions need to align with lessons and topics in the course. And all of your lessons and topics need to align perfectly with course objectives. If you are using SCORM 2004 to track eLearning and learner progress, this will allow you to leverage some of the features. In particular, you may be able to control navigation based on mastery.
Become a curator
Look at resources for supplemental and extended training. It’s not enough to have just introductory courses, for mastery you need to also provide intermediate and advanced level courses. It would also be helpful to have content that focuses on very specific topics, giving the learner a deep dive into the subject.
Provide learner control
Consider ways you can provide the learner with more say and more input into what they need. You can’t personalize it unless you involve them personally. This will have the added benefit of creating better engagement with the training.
Think about it, we value more and engage more when we believe we have at least some level of control. The more you are able to let the learner, with guidance, determine direction, content, and depth the more likely you are to have a fully engaged learner.
Ready to take the next step? Or still trying to figure out this whole eLearning world? Let the experts at JCA Solutions help! Contact us today!