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The Future Of E-Learning Is Here - Adaptive Learning Systems

The journey of C-suites in the corporate world is undeniably fraught with challenges. The most pressing conundrum that they face in the present-day business landscape is the management and development of the organization’s most crucial asset-- it’s people.

The success or failure in these areas shows a connection between how well and to what extent they provide their employees with proper training, skill development and leadership development opportunities.

The importance of corporate training is becoming statistically evident through budget changes as seen in the figures below. Average training expenditures for large companies rose from $17 million in 2017 to $19.7 million in 2018. Also, the expenditure by midsize companies hiked by $600,000 to $2.1 million in 2018. (Source)

Differences in today's workforce

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The “one-size fits all” learning programs worked years ago in a period where employees customarily held static positions. However, the workplace and its constituent workforce are now rapidly evolving into dynamic entities.

The drastic rate of change and the failure of organizations to adapt their training modules has created an ever-widening gap between the learning needs of employees and the ability of organizations to meet them. Here are a few factors contributing to the emergence of this gap in workplaces:

  • Highly diversified workforce poses a new set of challenges for HR professionals, due to global expansion, outsourcing, and the varying behaviors, work styles and expectations of a multi-generational workforce.
  • New recruits lacking the experiences and skills necessary to seek on-the-job training and work with today’s technologies.
  • Modern organizations need to allocate more time for its employees to comfortable learn at their own pace
  • Managers need to have exceptionally effective leadership skills to manage a group of open-minded individuals, in addition to an exceptional HR team.

Why we should embrace adaptive learning systems?

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Instructor-led training modules is a method of employee training that continues to remain a popular option for development. The primary reason for this is the adaptability of the learning materials to suit the learning needs of the employees. If an employee is unable to understand any concept, the instructor can present it in a simplified manner, based on existing knowledge level.

More users are becoming inclined to online training or e-learning programs. HR professionals are embracing technological means to deliver learning experiences that are customized to each employees needs. Let’s take the example of a sales training program to understand this better. An employee with experience has to answer a few questions that tests existing knowledge to move on to higher-level content, whereas an employee who is new receives additional content and resources to gain proficiency in sales. This is where adaptive learning systems emerge as an option for organizations.

Adaptive learning technology was number one on Gartner’s list of top 10 strategic technologies impacting higher education in 2015 and 2016. Why? Because it transforms teaching and learning to be more efficient, engaging, impactful and cost-effective.

Looking at the high success rate of adaptive learning in the academic environment, organizations are confident that this methodology proves quite promising for corporate learning and employee training too. In the corporate context, personalized adaptive learning holds the key to personnel development as it results in:

  • Efficient training – providing the necessary teachings at a reduced cost.
  • Engaging training – using motivational research for adult learning.
  • Effective training – building competencies that are objectively measurable in real-time.

The adoption of adaptive learning systems is not only increasing across organizations, but also industries. Hitachi has created courses for engineers and other technical staff on highly complex products, processes and services by integrating adaptive learning technologies in their L&D strategies. In addition, Shinola, a retail company, is currently using adaptive learning to train its sales staff in key areas such as on-boarding, product training, and customer service.

Below is statistical data to further support the use of adaptive learning in organizations:

  • The Association for Talent Development (ATD) reveals that organizations offering comprehensive training programs have 218 percent higher income per employee than those without formalized training. These organizations also enjoy a 24 percent higher profit margin than those who spend less on training. (Source)
  • 76 percent of employees seek career growth opportunities.
  • 87 percent of millennials in the workforce agree that professional development and career growth are extremely important.
  • 40 percent of employees getting poor corporate training quit their jobs within the first year.
  • Only 13 percent of employees globally are engaged. Moreover, organizations lose over $500 billion every year due to employee disengagement.

Looking at these figures, it becomes clear that providing continuous e-learning experiences through personalization is going to be a revolutionary part of the 21st century. This is why adaptive learning systems have garnered strong support from the corporate training and development fraternity.

The philosophy of adaptive learning is increasingly becoming a part of organizational paradigms; about 85 percent of organizations offering at least some personalized learning options owing to its ability to personalize the learning process-- something that boosts engagement and connects learners' past activities to their future goals.

Making corporate training fruitful for your employees with adaptive learning systems

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Given the complexities involved in managing a diverse workforce with varying learning needs, every HR leader has to shift focus from “how to offer employees learning programs” to “how to offer the RIGHT training program to the RIGHT employee in the RIGHT context.”

Adaptive learning technologies is the future of employee learning programs, but organizations are integrating the platform into their company too slow. Organizations have to take the road less traveled to dynamic and personalized corporate training. They have to incorporate adaptive learning systems in their L&D programs for boosting learning outcomes that show in the workplace.

Here are a few ways in which organizations can advance their corporate training and e-learning efforts with adaptive learning systems:

1. Bringing personal development programs in line with organizational goals

HR leaders can contribute to organizational success only through conscious leadership; they have to deliver the right tools and resources to all employees, and conduct well-defined and strategically-structured processes for fostering their real-time personalized development. Here are three factors that leaders should consider for creating a tightly aligned culture that promotes continuous learning:

  • Engaging learning programs: Leaders have to define clear-cut objectives, set the tone and direction of learning programs, and ensure continuous improvement on all performance benchmark
  • Determine learning priorities: Leaders have to ensure proper alignment by setting realistic, goal-focused priorities for learning programs. They have to integrate them with their talent strategy to increase the commitment of staff towards program objectives.
  • Data-driven e-learning programs: When aiming at developing a continuous learning culture, it’s important for HR leaders to ensure individuals are consuming learning resources over time and then actively integrating their learnings into their daily activities. It’s only when they adopt data-backed adaptive learning platforms (the one like SproutLogix) that they can enable employees to improve their personal performance and become valuable contributors to the organization.

2. Making learning programs a “people” program

Employees are nowadays desiring and demanding a workplace culture that offers smooth, interesting and highly personalized training and career advancement opportunities. When people of an organization get the type of training that suits them best, they will be much more inclined to adopt the learning program.

In the process of this mass adoption, leaders can nurture and grow a learning-focused workplace culture. Better individual employee performance and satisfaction becomes evident in such organizations as they implement continuous innovation and growth on a wholistic level. As such, acquiring top talent and being at a competitive advantage always becomes a breeze for them.

3. Creating value for each individual

HR leaders have to shift their focus to a “context relevance” approach because it determines the engaging power and benefits of their learning programs. Adaptive learning systems come as a help individualize learnings as they let HR professionals know how employees learn, what content and resources to provide to an individual and at what time.

It’s only when organizations deliver the right tools to employees at the right time that they can help each individual get better at his or her job. They have to deliver differentiated solutions to each individual to gain a competitive advantage. The time to leverage big-data science is now as it can enable organizations to re-invent their learning efforts at scale.

4. Borrowing from customer experiences

There’s absolutely no doubt that businesses are striving hard to create positive customer experiences to take their brand a notch higher. But it’ also time to apply this customer-oriented approach to raising an organization’s reputation as an employer brand. The use of adaptive learning systems to create similar experiences for individual employees deserves an equal share of their attention.

Just like consumer websites use buyers’ “purchase history” data to provide product recommendations, training programs should draw in personalized recommendations from “past behavior” data to enhance each learner’s experience. HR professionals have to leverage adaptive learning technologies that are context-aware, and that can integrate data from across departments and functions with existing human resources systems. Doing so arms them with the knowledge of appropriate content that will best aid employees’ career growth and organizational goals.

The bottom line: Adaptive learning systems are the future of an organizations’ e-learning and development efforts.

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The workforce across organizations continues moving ahead on their evolution curve, becoming more and more diverse, competitive and demanding. As such, e-learning and career development initiatives of organizations have to adopt adaptive learning systems for creating personalized, time-efficient, agile and effective learning paths.

Every organization, irrespective of size, has to bring together computer science and cognitive research to take employees on an empowering journey. The future is investing in data-driven L&D technologies and its people whose talent acts like fuel for the organization’s machinery. 

 

 

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