One Size Fits One: What Managers Need VS What Users Want

05 July 2018 by Libby Cross

In this day and age, it seems as though all user or customer experiences are leading towards a more personalised experience, particularly within the retail, entertainment and now, eLearning industries.

With the use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, an array of online products and services now hold the ability to personalise a users experience, specifically designed for their individual interests and needs.

Online entertainment services, such as Netflix and Spotify, are prime examples of this, using a set of algorithms to produce recommendations of suggested content which is based upon what a user previously watched or listened to.

What is Personalised Learning?

Personalised Learning refers to a variety of educational programmes, learning experiences and, instructional approaches that are intended to address the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations or, cultural backgrounds of the individual learner.

In L&D, Personalised Learning offers a more concise experience for learners, enabling users to access readily available recommended content without first having to sift through a load of wholly irrelevant content.

Thus, learners need only to complete the online courses and tests directed towards their own role within an organisation, their individual interests and, their desired outcome, or learning goal.

Our Personalised Learning Survey

Making learning more personal is a hot topic in the L&D industry right now. However, depending on who we are speaking with, the term ‘Personalised Learning’ is perceived very differently by different audiences.

To help us gauge what we are talking about when we discuss ‘personalisaton’, we launched our Personalised Learning Survey back in January which was created with the aim of analysing current self-directed learning practices and, to understand how people learn in a personalised way.

We asked a range of employees/learners, managers and, trainers/teachers their views on Personalised Learning, including:

  • What they believe it to mean
  • What they would like it to include
  • What they hope learners will gain from a personalised learning experience

Survey Insights: What Managers Need VS What Learners Want

In a bid to narrow down what learners, managers and trainers want, and most importantly, need from a personalised learning experience, participants of our survey were encouraged to consider what they would desire for a users learning experience, including:

  • What content should be available to learners
  • How recommended content should be established/delivered
  • What features [for example, peer review and notified content] should be included

It goes without saying, the views of the learners and the managers certainly differed but, then again, we didn’t imagine that a learners desired experience would match exactly what a manager believes their learners should be embarking upon.

Instead, we hoped to find some kind of middle ground, to develop a personalised learning journey that suited the learners wants but, also met the purpose of what managers needed their learners to be achieving in order to make the whole process worthwhile for everyone involved.

Some common interests among participants included:

  1. The ability to integrate tools/data outside of L&D
  2. The ability for learners to choose their own paths
  3. To use time more efficiently

The biggest differences among the views expressed by learners and managers concerned the topic of peer comparison for the acquisition of recommended content.

As we can see from Figure 1, 64% of managers thought it to be valuable for learners to receive suggested content based upon other learners profiles [i.e. users in a similar role], recognising that learners could be learning from other people within their industry if this was to be the case.

Learners, on the other hand, want recommended content to be much more personalised than that, with a focus on the individual’s experience and learning goals, rather than being pigeonholed and subjected to a stereotype.

Figure 1

Demystifying Personalised Learning

For those that were still curious about Personalised Learning, in January, we took what was discussed by our learners, managers and trainers in our Personalised Learning Survey and produced the Demystifying Personalised Learning OLX.

The OLX explores the most common questions our customers have about personalised, self-directed learning and, how to begin facilitating more personalised experiences within your organisation.

It’s never too late at Learning Pool (formerly HT2 Labs) to join in the fun. Enroll on our Demystifying Personalised Learning OLX to learn more about what you can gain from a Personalised Learning experience.

Libby Cross
Senior Marketing Executive

Libby graduated from the University of Winchester in May 2018 with a degree in Media and Communication and soon after joined HT2 Labs as a Digital Communications Officer.

Following their acquisition in June 2019, Libby is now a Senior Marketing Executive at Learning Pool and with a keen interest in content marketing, Libby’s day-to-day involves blog writing, press releases, case studies and more!

Outside of work, Libby enjoys all things health and fitness related, including long walks and morning swims. Having spent 9-weeks travelling Central and South America before University, Libby is a keen traveller and you’ll often find her planning her next trip with her partner.

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