April 16, 2018

Exploring the approaches of personalised learning

Amid the changes in our world and the rapid evolution of technology, learning has also evolved rapidly. And as learning has evolved, so too have the work settings in our organisations.

Learning within our organisations and the way we work has changed, and will continue to do so. Decades ago, learning was accessible only in training or classroom settings. Today, we do not even need to step outside our homes because we can access learning content online.

In the world of business and particularly in human resources, one of the elements that people look for when job hunting is the opportunity to learn in the organisation. As business leaders, we understand that offering our people opportunities to learn is essential to retaining talent.

However, it is getting more difficult for business leaders to expand education and skills training for people in their organisations fast enough to keep up with our changing world.

The workplace environment is becoming more open in terms of physical space. This results in more collaboration, engagement and interaction among people. Naturally, when you put people together in the same area, they will learn from each other.

The environment of learning in our organisations has clearly changed. But the biggest change of all is taking place in learners themselves.

When learners today want to explore more on a topic of interest, they Google it, look up informational videos on YouTube or even buy e-books online to read. Modern learners have a wide variety of choices, giving them the ability to personalise their learning.

Personalisation is everywhere. Some of the best-known examples are the leveraging of customer data, such as past movies watched on Netflix or purchase history on Amazon, to provide automated suggestions of what movies to watch or other products you’d be interested in.

The goal of personalisation is to increase and improve the user experience and engagement. That can also apply to organisational learning.

Personalised learning refers to the tailoring of the content, pace of learning and the approach to how people want to learn, with their goals and preferences in mind.

So, as business leaders, why should we integrate personalised learning in our organisations?

First, personalisation gives your people a new attitude and experience, and the result is an increased willingness to participate. They can skip through content they think is irrelevant and get straight to what is important to them. This optimises working hours, effectively allowing them to learn and also work on their tasks.

Second, personalising learning is especially critical for HR in the recruitment process as well for retaining the talents they recruit. Having the opportunity to learn about professional development is important for your current talents, and especially for new and young talents. Additionally, personalisation gives your people a sense of value as they are able to learn new things and discover new talents.

Third, learning is not a one-size-fits-all approach. One approach may work for certain people, but not for others. Personalised learning tailors everything from the content to the times when the person wants to access it.

Last, trying to set the time, place and content for learning sessions for people in the organisation –especially large ones — can be a major challenge. If learning is personalised, your people will be able to access learning content on their own time.

Personalised learning is important, especially when we, as business leaders, want to improve the skills of our people but have little time to do so, while considering that different people have different ways of learning. However, some organisations have not even begun to implement any form of personalised learning for fear that it would be time-consuming or won’t just work at all for their organisations.

But this is simply not the case. As time is an important element in any organisation, personalised learning can actually be more time-effective and cost-effective by allowing for freedom of time and course customisation. It is effective in developing future leaders and executives of your organisation.

In sum, personalised learning delivers the right lessons to the right people at the right time using the right approach. The goals are dictated by the learners — your people — themselves. As a result, your people are able to grow not just personally, but collectively they will contribute to the growth of your organisation.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s leading executive, leadership and innovation capability development centre.

She can be reached by email at arinya_t@new.seasiacenter.com or www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa

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