Unlocking Potential: The Power of Personalized Training

Today’s businesses are constantly seeking ways to enhance employee skills, boost productivity, and stay ahead of the competition. Combined with generative artificial intelligence (AI) personalized eLearning is a game-changer, offering tailored learning experiences that cater to the unique needs, preferences, and goals of employees. But what exactly is personalized eLearning? What are its advantages and disadvantages? Let’s explore these questions to gain an understanding of personalized training and its implications.

Smiling office worker looking at tablet in office with wood bookshelf and large windows. Text under image reads: "“In a world where everything from e-commerce platforms to movie streaming apps is personalized, providing the same "just for me" experience is pivotal to grabbing employees' attention. - Subbu Viswanathan, CEO, Disprz "

What is Personalized eLearning?

Personalized eLearning is a dynamic approach to employee development using digital technologies to deliver customized learning experiences within a corporate setting. Unlike traditional one-size-fits-all training programs, it adapts content, pacing, and instructional methods to match the individual learning styles, skill levels, and job roles of employees. Customized eLearning offers employees the flexibility to access training materials anytime, anywhere, using various devices such as computers, tablets, or smartphones. Content is often delivered through interactive modules, videos, simulations, and gamified activities to enhance engagement and retention. Adaptive algorithms track employee progress, assess learning gaps, and provide personalized recommendations for further learning, ensuring that each employee receives targeted support to achieve their professional development goals.

Personalizing learning paths for each learner on a large scale is difficult, if not impossible, for humans to successfully create, but modern digital tools make the process more efficient. AI-powered tools help leadership and development (L&D) teams quickly develop personalized learning experiences customized to the needs of a team or individual. With the correct input, detailed personal learning journeys are outlined in seconds. AI can also address the challenge of varied learner needs by delivering personalized learning experiences that adapt in real-time to learners’ interactions and progress.

Research shows that implementing personalized learning is vital to motivating and retaining top employees:

Smiling people sitting around a table in an office. Text under image reads: ""We can’t afford to rely on superficial and outmoded approaches to learning that treat employees like numbers and fail to drive sustainable behavioral change...it’s time to invest in and develop personalized learning plans that focus on employees’ specific strengths and weaknesses, generate individual performance metrics and accommodate unique learning styles." Shaun McAlmont CEO, NINJIO"

Benefits of Personalized eLearning

Organizations implementing personalized learning see improved performance, increased productivity, and better overall job satisfaction in their employees.

Identify Knowledge Gaps

Most training programs are based on traditional education methods, where all learners use the same materials. This is often not the best approach, as it treats all learners the same despite different experiences, viewpoints, and skills. AI quickly and accurately identifies strengths and weaknesses in team members’ skills and behavior, extracting insights from data through predictive analysis and machine learning (ML). It then creates learner profiles in minutes, a task that takes humans several days. 

Customization

AI’s learning algorithms predict outcomes and personalized content based on the goals and experiences of the individual learner. Employees with skills gaps get tailored recommendations that address them during the learning experience. On the other hand, learners can skip modules if they show competency on assessments that prove they don’t need those trainings. Often, users who lack even basic skills are given a more linear learning path. By tailoring courses to match learner’s abilities, interests, and goals, personalized training helps them improve at their own pace while maintaining their attention. Such customized training results in more effective training, more engaged and productive employees, and higher information retention. 

Real-Time Feedback

Don’t forget the impact of real-time feedback: 80 percent of employees who say they have received meaningful feedback in the past week report being fully engaged with their work — regardless of their status as a remote, hybrid, or full-time office employee. By providing an immediate acknowledgement of correct answers or offering explanations for incorrect responses, AI reinforces learning and helps users track their progress. AI-enabled content delivery platforms also enhance the effectiveness of online learning experiences by providing real-time recommendations to learners. AI algorithms can analyze learners’ interactions with digital content to identify areas for improvement and tailor future trainings accordingly. Chatbots can help learners at any time, wherever they are, answering questions and pointing them to relevant resources. 

Engagement and Motivation

Interactive and gamified elements in personalized eLearning modules enhance employee engagement and motivation, leading to higher participation rates and improved knowledge retention. Tailoring training to individuals ensures they are more motivated to participate and learn, while increasing their likelihood of retaining and applying the information.

Data-Driven Insights

Personalized eLearning platforms generate valuable data on employee performance, progress, and areas for improvement. Employers can use AI to analyze tremendous amounts of data, such as engagement and performance metrics. The system then forecasts areas where learners may face challenges and even preemptively provide solutions and resources. 

Employee Retention

According to a 2022 LinkedIn report, companies that excel at internal mobility retain workers for an average of 5.4 years. Companies where employees find promotions or changing roles difficult average an employee retention rate of 2.9 years. The key element of talent mobility is giving individuals the resources necessary to explore new career paths, learn new responsibilities, and build skills.

Laptop keyboard with a small red and white cone on top with "Caution" written on it. Text under image reads: “There’s no question we are in an AI and data revolution… But it’s not as simple as taking all of your data and training a model with it. There’s data security, there’s access permissions, there’s sharing models that we have to honor. These are important concepts, new risks, new challenges, and new concerns that we have to figure out together.” Clara Shih, AI CEO, Salesforce "

Challenges of Personalized eLearning

Implementing new systems always presents challenges, and personalized learning is no exception.

Promoting Bias

The possibility of accidental bias in AI-based learning can be a problem. Organizations must ensure that these systems are fair and unbiased to avoid promoting inequalities. Otherwise, learning systems may discriminate against some people by suggesting a career path based on gender or race.

Technology Dependence

Personalized training relies on technology infrastructure, including internet connectivity and digital devices. Employees without access to reliable technology may face barriers to participation, limiting inclusivity and equity. Also, AI systems may need specialized integration into a company’s current human resources and learning software. There can be compatibility issues. Integrating personalized training solutions with existing corporate systems and processes can be technically challenging and may require substantial changes.

Resistance to Change

Some employees may be resistant to transitioning from traditional training methods to personalized eLearning, with concerns about technical challenges, lack of personal interaction, or discomfort with self-directed learning. They may find it invasive or intrusive. Leaders must ensure any adopted system respects privacy and autonomy and communicate with their teams about the importance of using these training programs.

Content Quality and Relevance

Ensuring the quality and relevance of training content in personalized learning programs requires careful curation, ongoing updates, and alignment with organizational goals and industry standards. Poorly designed or outdated content may undermine the effectiveness of training initiatives.

Balancing Individual Needs with Organizational Goals

Striking the right balance between individual needs and organizational goals can be challenging. While catering to unique learning needs is important, leaders must also align training with the overall goals and objectives of the business. Finding the best compromise requires careful consideration and collaboration.

Data Privacy and Security

Using AI requires collecting and analyzing copious amounts of learner data. Employees must trust that their organization securely collects and stores this information. Personalized learning platforms collect and store sensitive employee data, raising privacy and security concerns. Employers must implement strong data protection measures and comply with regulations to safeguard employee privacy and prevent unauthorized access or breaches. Companies are also wary about employees entering potentially confidential information into public tools like ChatGPT. As AI tools begin to be monetized, we can expect them to offer enterprise license agreements that allow employees to privately access tools in an organization’s existing IT infrastructure, minimizing the risk of data leaks.

Lack of Human Interaction

Personalized training may lack the human interaction and social dynamics of traditional classroom settings, leading to feelings of isolation or disconnection among employees. Incorporating opportunities for virtual collaboration, peer feedback, and mentorship can mitigate this drawback.

Four smiling people looking at laptop in an office. Text under image reads: “Personalized learning must be treated as much more than a popular training method that attracts new talent to your organization. It's a method proven to improve performance and support learners in achieving their maximum potential as organically as possible.” Christopher Pappas Founder, eLearning Industry Inc."

How Can We Overcome These Challenges?

There will always be challenges when implementing new systems into the workplace, but there are ways to overcome those associated with personalized learning that will help companies reap the benefits.

  • Define what “personalized learning” is to your company. This might be the biggest challenge, but keep in mind that it is supposed to be variable; it’s not designed to fit neatly into a box. Your employees’ needs determine what it will look like. 
  • Getting buy-in. Your leadership team’s support is crucial to the success of any program, but how can you convince them to change? This takes time and effort. Make the case by giving them your vision for the future, the benefits of allowing trainees to take charge of their own learning paths, and a detailed implementation plan. Help them understand how much this can help the company.
  • Making the transition. Instructors who are used to maintaining full control of the learning experience will find that learners are creating their own plans for progress and success, using personalized learning paths and AI. This requires a shift in everyone’s thinking, and the first stages can be challenging. However, instructors will soon find that learners have taken a massive load off them by taking control of their own learning journeys. Once instructors transition to facilitators, they’ll find they have more time to improve their resources library and further enhance the learning experience.
  • Measuring results. How do you know if your new system is working if you don’t measure results? For example, if one of your goals is decreasing turnover, you need to measure that to see the impact of the new approach. Decide on specific metrics using organizational goals. To measure how personalized learning is impacting turnover rates, try using surveys before and after the training and compare turnover rates. Know why you are changing your training methods and how to prove return on investment (ROI).

Smiling person wearing a hijab and carrying a file folder. Text under image reads: “Each employee has their own aspirations, experiences, and strengths. AI will enable more and more learners to tailor their learning and shape their careers.” Shruti Bharadwaj Head, Talent, Learning & Culture Airtel"

Final Thoughts

Personalized eLearning, augmented by generative AI, is revolutionizing employee training and development in today’s fast-paced business environment. This approach offers learning experiences that align with individual preferences and career goals, significantly enhancing engagement, retention, and overall job satisfaction. Despite challenges such as potential bias, technological dependence, and resistance to change, the benefits of tailored training — like improved performance, real-time feedback, and valuable data insights — underscore its importance. By addressing these challenges through clear definitions, leadership buy-in, smooth transitions, and robust metrics, organizations can harness the full potential of personalized eLearning to foster a skilled, motivated, and productive workforce, ensuring they remain competitive in a changing market.

Related Blogs

The Transformative Role of User-Generated Content in eLearning

Smart Training, Smarter Workforce: Embracing AI in L&D  

The Role of AI in Instructional Design: Collaborator, Not Competitor

Resources

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“From Concept To Completion: Microlearning Design Best Practices.” MATC Group. Accessed 6/12/24. https://www.matcgroup.com/instructional-design/from-concept-to-completion-microlearning-design-best-practices/ 

Harter, Jim. “A Great Manager’s Most Important Habit.” Gallup. 5/30/23. Accessed 6/10/24. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/505370/great-manager-important-habit.aspx 

McAlmont, Shaun. “How personalized learning plans are transforming L&D.” Chief Learning Officer. 2/10/23. Accessed 6/12/24. https://www.chieflearningofficer.com/2023/02/10/how-personalized-learning-plans-are-transforming-ld/ 

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Pappas, Christopher. “Identifying And Overcoming 6 Personalized Learning Challenges.” eLearning Industry. 3/5/23. Accessed 6/12/24. https://elearningindustry.com/identifying-and-overcoming-personalized-learning-challenges 

“PWC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2023.” PWC. 6/19/23. Accessed 6/10/24. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/issues/upskilling/hopes-and-fears.html

“The Role Of AI In Instructional Design: Collaborator, Not Competitor.” MATC Group. Accessed 6/10/24. https://www.matcgroup.com/instructional-design/the-role-of-ai-in-instructional-design-collaborator-not-competitor/ 

Shih, Clara. “AI and Data Keynote: Invest in Your AI Future.” Salesforce. Accessed 6/10/24. https://www.salesforce.com/plus/experience/Dreamforce_2023/series/the_future_of_ai_at_dreamforce_2023/episode/episode-s1e6 

“Smart Training, Smarter Workforce: Embracing AI in L&D.” MATC Group. Accessed 6/10/24. https://www.matcgroup.com/instructional-design/smart-training-smarter-workforce-embracing-ai-in-ld/ 

“The Transformation of L&D.” LinkedIn. 2022. Accessed 6/10/24. https://learning.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/learning/en-us/pdfs/workplace-learning-report/LinkedIn-Learning_Workplace-Learning-Report-2022-EN.pdf

Viswanathan, Subbu. “How To Develop A Personalized Learning Strategy For Your Workforce.” Forbes. 2/8/23. Accessed 6/10/24. https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2023/02/08/how-to-develop-a-personalized-learning-strategy-for-your-workforce/   

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