Professional Partner Content

More Than Netflix—Your Learners Need a GPS for Learning

A lot has been written about the pros and cons of the Netflix-style interface that learning experience platforms (LXPs) are deploying and learning management systems (LMSs) are attempting to emulate.

Netflix is great for binge watching. The streaming service can recommend new shows based on your history. When this approach is applied to training, it helps learners find their next module, which speeds up access to new skill building with little effort.

The Netflix-approach many LXPs have adopted is enjoyable, and it’s possible that learners may binge new skill-building courses when the suggested topics interest them. This method can encourage learners to start something new. However, these suggestions are not enough to develop and master measurable skills that businesses need for success.

Learning is more like a journey than a task list, and that requires navigation. When you are on a journey where your goal is to learn a new set of complex skills efficiently and effectively, a suggested list of places to see and things to try won’t optimize your experience.

A Great Learning Journey Is in the Details

Think back to your favorite trips. Most of your fond memories are probably unplanned side trips where you explored the surrounding area in more detail. But not guiding your learners on their education journeys leaves too much to chance.

LMS and LXP technologies in isolation cannot properly develop the skills demanded by the business. Guide the learner to new skills while still allowing each person to keep control of their own steering wheel—in other words, provide a learning GPS.

The Value of the GPS

In order to provide deeper personalization, the Netflixes of learning need a GPS to guide the learner. With a GPS, your trip becomes more efficient, effective, relevant, and agile. With the assistance of a guidance system, you:

  • Know exactly where you are.
  • Navigate one neighborhood and even one turn at a time.
  • See the detailed path to your precise end point.
  • Know when you should slow down and when it is safe to speed up.
  • Identify useful places to visit, as well as prior stops to revisit, based on goals, previous decisions, likes, and detailed stopping points you have set.

Without a GPS, the playlist of content that LMSs and LXPs serve up misses these important aspects of guidance by focusing on a barebones list of cities you need to pass through on the way to your destination. It is like navigating a trip with no details regarding the actual roads between cities. The turns are not there, the options are not clear, the landmarks of interest are sparse or non-existent, and there are certainly no live traffic updates. Your ability to communicate where you are when you need help will be limited to the names of cities you are in or trying to find. The model is incomplete. The planning may be easy and fun, but the execution needs a more detailed map to make meaningful progress.

Deep Personalization Powered by an Adaptive Learning GPS

A GPS takes the journey deeper. It leverages another level of AI and machine learning to get to know you and how you like to travel. It knows if you prefer the highway or side streets, and it knows what types of sites you are interested in. It has access to real-time data to allow you to navigate safely and effectively, reaching the destination in the shortest amount of time. A GPS can truly guide you, and this is where the Netflix model of learning breaks down.

In a sense, a training GPS personalizes the learning journey with real-time intelligence, engaging learners to develop skills and apply them effectively. The depth of personalization that a next-generation, GPS-oriented learning solution can deliver at scale is only possible with adaptive learning technology. Personalized learning powered by adaptive technology optimizes both the journey and the learning content.

Adapting the Journey

An adaptive system becomes a GPS for learning by understanding each competency area and the corresponding skills at a much more granular level. This deeper understanding allows a detailed knowledge map to be drawn that provides the learner a much more engaging view of their path. It shows dependencies with alternate routes that can be taken. More than a playlist of e-learning modules, it integrates all learning approaches—self-led, instructor-led, and micro-learning—in the flow of work on a single map. Just like a GPS, the adaptive layer guides but does not restrict learners, allowing for the most direct route as well as more “scenic” pathways to meet varied needs of the individual.

The details of the journey are not only helpful to the learner. When an employee needs help navigating their way to new skills, their training coach or instructor can observe the learner’s path using the details found in the GPS. That data shows where they have been, how the trip is going, what is next, and what alternate routes are possible, all of which guide the training assistance.

Adapting the Content

As the learner follows the GPS’s guidance and achieves new milestones, each stop on the map addresses learning needs in a more personalized way, because a GPS adapts what it shows and offers at each step depending on the situation. Is traffic heavy or light? Do I like visual or audio cues? Do I travel this road often, or is it new? Each variable alters the user’s experience without changing the actual map. Likewise in learning, adaptive content helps each employee get the most from their experience based on attributes such as:

  • The learner’s profile, including their language, their job role, and their stated preferences for how they like to learn
  • The learning context, including how the training pertains to each part of the organization, the learner’s specific goals, and preferred technologies
  • The learner’s previous knowledge or proficiency in the subject matter, including a method for constant re-evaluation of the learner’s mastery of the subject
  • The learner’s own engagement, including observations of the learner’s efforts, motivation, and behaviors exhibited during the learning process to ensure learning is delivered in ways that are most successful

Crossing the Bridge to Personalized Learning

The ability to provide deep personalization of both the learning journey and the content at scale is the missing puzzle piece for today’s LMS- and LXP-focused training organizations. Adaptive learning systems provide the bridge from one-size-fits-all content and superficial playlists to a personalized learning environment with detailed guidance. And once the bridge to personalized learning is in place, the uses for the learning GPS multiply. Building that bridge from the traditional static approaches to personalized learning may sound like a future workforce training goal, but next-generation adaptive learning solutions are here today.

If you would like to hear practical stories on how adaptive learning technology can solve current challenges and improve employee experience, engagement, and performance, check out this webinar by Realizeit CEO, Manoj Kulkarni, “Adaptive Learning for Today's Workforce—Understand and Chart Your Journey.”

To learn more about how you can provide a learning GPS to maximize performance, reach out to our Realizeit team to discuss training and learning personalization needs at your organization.

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