For too long, learning has been rolled out at the convenience of L&D! Learning and development decide to offer training at the times and through the methods that suit them best, and that’s it.
Whether it’s dragging people out of the workflow for one-to-many sessions or getting the whole company on a call to explain a new process, this often means people sit through training that’s just not relevant.
Worst of all, when it is relevant, it’s delivered at moments so far detached from where it needs to be applied that it’ll all be forgotten by the time it can be used.
But if we shift our mindset away from L&D convenience to the behaviours we want to influence, we can start delivering tailored learning that’s focused on impact and outcomes.
Part of this reverting-to-convenience mindset is caused by a perception that personalising learning is a mountain of work. In reality, it’s a molehill! Something quite easily conquered by using the people, data and tools at your fingertips.
This post gives you five simple ways to start delivering personalised learning today…
1. Harness all your existing data
There are two sayings that always seem to ring true: you can’t argue with data, and you can’t argue with an idiot. We’ll we’d argue that you’re an idiot if you’re not tapping into all your current data.
One of the most effective ways to personalise learning is to audit an employee’s analytics.
Behavioural data, past work history and their skills or qualifications are common examples you’ll have access to: Where are they spending most of their time at work – physically and digitally? Which roles have they held in the past, and to which levels?
If you understand the tools they typically use, you can deliver learning in the context of where it’s been applied! And if you know which roles, training and qualifications make up their work past, you can ensure the present builds upon that foundation.
This is one of the quickest wins when it comes to personalising learning that drives performance.
2: Build a skills profile and understand what’s lacking
Your people don’t have time to learn things that don’t matter! And if learning’s not giving them the knowledge and skills to perform their role better, it’s essentially irrelevant.
So there’s an irony that most L&D teams fail to measure skills, given that this is the ultimate needle they’re trying to move.
That all starts with building a skills profile for employees, a picture of the talents they possess and their proficiency in them. The difference between where they are and where they need to be is where personalised learning enters the fold.
Tailor their activities, courses and resources to bridge that gap, and you’ll help them become more effective at what they do.
3. Understand how they already learn
This isn’t meant to damage any L&D egos, but people are learning with or without you! Whether they’re watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts or turning to Google in their moments of need, your people are learning independently all the time.
Fighting against that is futile, so you’re betting off using it to your advantage! Speak to your people to understand where they’re already learning and incorporate that into their pathways.
L&D doesn’t need to create every piece of content, especially when people are telling us that they choose to learn from these other sources. Which is why curation is such a useful weapon in the arsenal of anyone building learning ecosystems. Find and fill your learning space with more of the content people consume organically.
4. Connect them to relevant internal experts
If someone’s career goal is to step into role X or they’re keen to learn skill Y, who better to guide them than those who’ve been there and done it – your internal experts.
It doesn’t get more personal and specific than learning from someone in your company who’s literally done the things you want to do and need to learn. They’ve built those skills in the relevant context and understand how it will be applied in your day-to-day role.
This also breaks useful knowledge out of silos! In too many companies, that wisdom lives solely in the head of one expert, so when they leave, they take it all with them! Creating a knowledge-sharing culture is the best way to protect yourself against it, and we’ve written the guide on how to do it.
5. Give employees control of their learning budgets
Think about how many job descriptions you’ve seen that offer a dedicated learning budget as a perk, it’s a pretty common feature. However, how often are employees given control or input over how it’s spent?
There are two scenarios that play out too often. L&D spends the full development budget on a course or content library, believing that it’ll offer a return on investment given the sheer volume of resources. However, when employees struggle to find relevant learning in there, that perceived value suddenly becomes a very real lack of return and engagement.
The second is that the performance review approaches, with managers needing to tick the development box. Now, that typically means that an employee has to pick a course or event to attend in a short window to fulfil that growth requirement.
When we think about personalising learning, this is hardly a helpful approach! Instead, imagine employees having a development pot and the freedom to make requests for how it’s spent. That’s our Learning Budget feature in a nutshell!
Employees have more control over their development, meaning they can choose how the budget is spent in the moments where learning inspiration strikes. At the same time, the process of managing those requests is made easier for managers. They come into a central place, managers are notified when they arrive, and they can be approved or rejected in a frictionless manner.