How To Use Learning Path Strategies
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Learning Paths For Effective Training Programs

Using a Learning Management System (LMS) just to train your personnel (either isolated courses or random courses) doesn’t help you make the most out of it—the LMS you have turns out to be a white elephant. However, by using your organization’s objectives and Learning and Development (L&D) strategies, you can train or upskill your employees through structured programs.

In this write-up, we talk about what a learning path is, how to create different types of them, and what benefits you draw from them by creating structured learning programs for the folks at your organization.

Learning Paths

Think of the route that you travel between your departure and arrival. Apart from the start and the end points, you come across a number of stages along that path. Each stage you pass takes you closer to your destination, doesn’t it?

Use this analogy and apply it to your L&D. This means making your learning happen as a series of milestone marks in order to achieve the intended goals of your organization. This makes learners feel like they are going along a learning path with a series of goals set before them, and each learning goal is mapped out within a course.

So, the learners and their firm go from strength to strength, achieving one goal at a time, both as an employee and as an organization as a whole. Such is the mesmerizing beauty of the learning path strategy!

Types Of Learning Paths

The learning path can be classified into 3 types. Depending upon your need, you can create one of them as your own learning path. Remember that a learning path aims to achieve one objective at a time, but it is designed to target a group of objectives by the time you complete it. Now let’s see the 3 types of learning paths.

1. Successive

The successive learning path is one where you create a series of courses. All of the courses structured in this path are mandatory, and the employee has to finish one course at a time. As the learner completes one, they will be given access to another. Until, and unless, your employee finishes a course, he/she cannot get permission to see the contents of the next course. Thus, this type of learning experience aims to achieve optimal outcomes. In a successive learning path, the level of difficulty in learning will increase as the employees go from one course to the next.

For example, a software employee trainee at your organization has to go through a series of courses before he/she contributes code to your Moodle (or LMS) application. The employee has to first finish HTML, CSS, then JScript, and finally PHP.

2. Alternative

The alternative learning path is akin to a short-cut route which you use to skip traveling on the expressway for some distance, but you come back to it later on in the journey and continue traveling on the expressway.

In the same manner, you can create a learning path where your employees can skip one or two courses (optional) along the way, but they need to complete the rest of the courses (mandatory) in order to complete the learning path. Here, you provide a learning choice to your folks without compromising on meeting the goals.

The alternative learning path emphasizes the outcome and flexibility of learning rather than the order of learning. As a supervisor, you can set the order of the courses by mixing up both mandatory and optional courses.

3. Level

You can create levels in learning paths. Each level consists of a series of courses that can either be all mandatory or flexible, such as choice-based learning. When your learner finishes a level, he/she achieves the mastery corresponding to that level.

In other words, the level learning path combines both the successive learning path and the alternative learning path. You can decide on the number of levels you want to have them aligned with and the objectives achievable through this path. You can carry out all these types of learning paths within or without a timeframe. It’s all contextual.

Benefits Of Learning Paths

All that is fine. At the end of the day, before you decide on whether or not to employ this L&D strategy for your folks, you must decide how the learning path benefits your organization and employees. I would like to give you a list of the advantages you get by using a learning path.

  • Create purpose-driven learning
    Do the folks at your organization have or know the purpose of why they have to go through a "so-and-so" L&D strategy? If they do not know but are going through the training anyways, this means your L&D spending is going down the drain. So, create a purpose-driven training through a learning path with viable goals, which ensures that your employees do not swerve from the set learning path. It’s all in your hands!
  • Achieve your L&D goals one at a time
    When you create a learning path with a set of goals, not only do you make your employee achieve his goal, but you also make your organization reach some of those targets as well. It is like how the earth rotates on its own axis as it orbits the sun. In other words, align individual goals with the goals of the organization. Train them to get two birds with one shot!
  • Redeem admins' time
    Time is a valuable resource. You cannot get more than 24 hours when you have a large number of goals. Hence, those goals are mapped to the courses along a learning path when you create it. And, you streamline courses and the objectives automatically. Subsequently, you save time in order for you to focus on something else.
  • Measure the effectiveness of their learning path with feedback
    Your folks winding up on a learning path is just one side of the coin. Your role as their supervisor doesn't end when they complete it—it goes way beyond that. Watching over them for a period, like a good shepherd, and gathering feedback helps you figure out the effectiveness of their learning path. The effectiveness of their learning strategy ultimately translates into the ROI.

Learning Path Use Cases

The scope of the learning path goes beyond the L&D strategy for a particular field. You can implement this learning strategy in any training setting across the spectrum of businesses.

Below is a list of areas where you can effectively use learning paths to create structured learning programs:

  • Customer support or tech support
  • Sales enablement training
  • Employee skill development
  • Franchise/Dealership training
  • Academic learning
  • Association L&D

A beautiful thing about learning paths is that you can customize them to fit into whatever L&D requirement you may have.

In conclusion, pairing off a group of courses and organizational objectives through a learning path strategy augurs well for your organization.

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