Personalized Training With mLearning
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Learn How To Personalize Employee Training By Using Mobile Learning

We are witnessing rapid changes in the way learners want to learn. Alongside this, there are significant changes in the way online training is being delivered. These changes are triggering L&D teams to look at their current learning strategies and adapt it so that they meet this mandate.

What To Factor Into An L&D Strategy Today

The notable 3 aspects that must be factored in an L&D strategy today include:

1. Changing Learners’ Expectations

  • They want training to be short, focused, and available on the go as well as on demand.
  • The content should be relevant and packaged to meet their needs and interests.
  • They should be in complete control of their learning journey wherein they are able to decide what trainings they should pick up, when they should learn, and the pace that works best for them.
  • Furthermore, offering learning content and related resources over a learning path is not enough. It must map to their career aspirations and essentially, the “learning pathways” must map to the “career pathways.”

2. Transitioning From A Traditional LMS To NextGen Platforms And Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs)

Building upon the list of changing learner expectations is the way training is being delivered and the flexibility it offers to the learners so that they can customize their learning journeys. Very rapidly, the online training delivery model is moving from the traditional “push” or mandated training to self-directed, pull-based training.  A majority of NextGen platforms and Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs) feature Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make further recommendations to learners. This not only enriches the learner’s experience but moves the training from discrete engagements to continuous learning. This is not all, it also enables learners to spend time on specific and relevant content and related resources.

3. Engaging The Disengaged Learners Amidst The Distractions Of Worklife

We live in a world of distractions. Amidst this, learners must multitask. As the lines between working hours and personal time blur and work hours increase, L&D teams have a daunting challenge of engaging the already overwhelmed learners and ensuring that they invest the required time on training.

What Workplace Learning Should Have

Let’s take a step back to see some of the common aspects that emerge from these. These converge to what L&D teams must offer as they adapt to the changes and reshape workplace learning.

  • Training on the go
  • Training on demand
  • Short-and-focused training
  • Training that offers relevant content—matching the needs and interests of learners
  • Training offered as learning pathways
  • Learners have the control to customize their own learning journeys
  • Customizable career pathways
  • Self-directed, pull-based training
  • Offers room to provide further recommendations to learners
  • Enables learners to invest time in specific and relevant content and related resources

Personalized training delivered in a mLearning format will help you meet most of the expectations, and this is a crucial investment you must make.

Why Does Offering Personalized Training As mLearning Make Sense?

The whole world has gone mobile—there’s no denying it. With such penetration volumes of mobile devices, L&D teams have a unique opportunity to shape the next generation of their training strategies. They can do so by pivoting toward mLearning. Given that many of us indulge in some form of learning on mobile devices before going to bed, and as many of us use the devices to do some learning shortly after waking up, mLearning must be a key element in any organization’s L&D strategy.

However, an important point to note is that while mLearning is a very powerful training approach, typically, the same training is made available to the entire audience. It doesn’t factor for any specific learner preference nor does it factor a given learner’s interest or proficiency. In contrast to this generic approach, personalized training in the form of mLearning helps you offer relevant, custom, and more meaningful learning experiences. Since mobile devices are extremely personal, you can leverage them to offer learning experiences that are highly relevant and personalized to the learners.

As a result, the value that personalized training brings to L&D teams is as follows:

  • More engaged learners are more committed to investing time in training.
  • As the personalized training maps closely learners’ proficiencies, interests, or aspirations (in contrast to generic training), it will demonstrate a higher recall, retention, and application on the job. As a result, you will have a significantly better ROI on this training spend.
  • Personalized training delivered as mLearning can help L&D teams drive employee performance.
  • It is a great way to retain talent and help them grow.
  • In contrast to generic training, it helps you align employees more effectively and in less time to the learning, business, and organizational goals.

What Are the Benefits For Learners As You Wrap mLearning Into A Personalized Training Experience?

My personal assessment is that over the next 2-3 years, personalized mLearning will be the new normal and will be the dominant mode for online training delivery. Here are the top 5 gains it offers to the learners:

  1. Provides access to relevant content that is customized to meet their learning and professional goals
  2. Puts learners in control of the learning process
  3. Offers greater learner engagement opportunities
  4. Enables learners to access training on the go and switch across learning devices—from a smartphone to a tablet to a laptop—and continue learning depending on where they are (subway, airport, cafeteria, home)
  5. Empowers learners to create their own customized learning journeys that map better onto their career aspirations

What Tips Can You Use To Personalize Your Employee Training Program With mLearning?

You can offer personalized training in an mLearning format to meet varied employee training needs, notably:

  • At the moment of need (Just-In-Time learning aids or performance support intervention)
  • Practicing and honing skills to manage the current job better
  • Developing specific skills that align with business goals
  • Developing new skills or skills that help the organization grow
  • Leadership skills

Looking at the degree of customization or personalization you want to offer, you can pick from one of the following 4 levels:

  1. You can offer basic customized features—options of various themes, backgrounds, or even fonts.
  2. You can also have an avatar-based selection wherein the learner can choose a given persona—this creates a unique, customized learning experience.
  3. You can provide the same information in different formats and the learner can select the one that works best (for instance, an infographic instead of a video).
  4. You can offer customization of the complete learning path too. This can be done on the basis of role, proficiency (pre-assessment), and interest (survey).

10 Tips For Offering Personalized Training In An mLearning Format

  1. Create personalized learning plans
    Build individual training goals, offer learners options to choose lessons from an online training catalog, and use a platform that supports personalized learning paths.
  2. Offer variety in learning content
    Some learn via text-based content, others like graphs and diagrams, and some excel in audio learning. Create a variety of learning content to suit individual learning styles or preferences.
  3. Leverage mobile apps for learning
    Use responsive design authoring tools to leverage unique features of mobile operating systems and devices. Leverage techniques like apps for learning to help you offer a highly personalized learning path. The personalized learning path can be configured based on:

    • Role
    • Region/language
    • Proficiency—through pre-assessment
    • Learner interests—through surveys
  4. Get personal
    Use the learner’s name; use gender-specific voices or learning scenarios unique to the learner.
  5. Be brief
    A key highlight of mLearning is that learners indulge in it when it’s convenient for them, which typically isn’t a matter of hours on end.
  6. Be light
    Leverage microlearning techniques and keep it “bite-sized.” Go easy on the heavy graphics and videos and be cognizant of download time and bandwidth requirements.
  7. Offer multiple self-assessments
    Give employees the ability to assess their course readiness and progress themselves—at the beginning, middle, and end of the course.
  8. Opt for engaging formats
    Pick formats that learners love and use on mobile devices (e.g., videos or interactive videos).
  9. Offer Just-In-Time learning aids/job aids
    Provide quick reference guides, ready reckoners, cheat sheets, learning summaries, tips, shortcuts, and so on in engaging visual formats (infographics, interactive PDFs, and so on). These will help learners exactly at the moment of their need and they are easily available within their workflow.
  10. Use techniques that provide experiential training
    Offer a combination of microlearning trainings for learning and blend them with case studies, scenario-based learning, interactive stores, complex simulations for critical thinking and decision making to facilitate practice, application, and analysis. Give the control to the learners on assets they wish to consume to supplement formal training.

I hope this article provides insights and tips you can use to offer personalized training in the mLearning format in your organization to successfully meet the changing expectations of learners. Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.

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