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Why Personalised Learning in the Flow of Work is Critical for Success in  Business

Roberta Gogos
Oct 25 2021

If there is one thing every business leader is likely to agree on, it’s this: how fast you can enter a new market or roll out a new product or service is surely what separates the winners from the losers in any vertical. 

We’re not advocating speed without substance of course - quality is paramount, especially when it comes to L&D. For far too long, enterprises have been dedicated to a learning and development model that doesn’t end in quality results. It’s usually an 80% formal learning model that pushes courses above all else. The end result is all too often a downer on several fronts. Courses take too long, and people forget most of what it’s in them because the generic content is often far too removed for their jobs and because, with the speed of change in business, the content is often redundant by the time it’s covered off. 

Personalisation in learning is often what’s sorely lacking in this situation, and it’s hindering speed and profitability in many ways. Our new report, Personalised learning at scale: building the corporate brain produced off the back of Brandon Hall Group’s 2021 Upskilling and Reskilling Study discusses these challenges in a really concise, consumable way, while also delivering some key strategies to drive personalised learning at scale. 

It’s a great read that we suggest you download and share, but in the meantime, we wanted to pull out a few things from the report which have already been resonating with our readers.

Why Personalisation So Important for L&D Driven Success?

Personalisation gets touted a lot these days: everyone wants personalised customer service, an individual user experience, and a unique consumer journey. You’ve got to wonder if it’s all just marketing spiel and what people actually want is for companies to just serve them better. 

But for L&D, the idea of personalisation carries a lot of weight, not in the least when it is combined with scale, speed and sustainability. Basically, if you personalise learning and have people learn more often in the flow of work, they’ll learn and apply their knowledge faster. And that knowledge has the power to help get that product or service out the door faster. 

Maybe you’re thinking, “surely that all happens already, right?” The problem is, it doesn’t, and the Brandon Hall and Fuse research demonstrated this. One of the opening statements in the report that really resonated with me was this: 

“Only 45% of companies rate themselves highly on how integral learning is to the organisation’s culture.This is driven by learning’s apparent disconnect with the business. Learning strategies are not aligned with business outcomes and the actual process of learning for many employees seems completely divorced from their jobs. Making learning more personal, relatable and easier to access within the flow of work transforms it into something more impactful and sustainable.”

Pretty impactful stuff, right?

We’re Not Done Yet

There’s more, and unfortunately, it shows that there is still a real gap in companies’ understanding of what learning should actually be doing for business. When the research study asked respondents - “on a scale of 1 to 5, how important is personalised learning for helping achieve the following outcomes?” - and presented 10 different outcomes, it was a bit disappointing to see ‘improve organisation’s competitive advantages,’ come in at number 7 in importance. 

Sure, we agree that ‘improve individual performance’ and ‘improve organisational performance’ (ranked 1 and 2) are important, but learning should absolutely be improving an organisation’s competitive advantage. It should fast-tracking your time to market by supercharging your people with the knowledge they need to do their jobs in the flow of work, without interruption.

The Complexities and Challenges Around Personalised Learning at Scale

No one likes it a know-it-all, so we’ll quit on the shortcomings of the state of enterprise learning today and acknowledge something: it’s not easy. Companies, large ones in particular, have a lot of people to mobilise and often many levels of bureaucracy to navigate when it comes to implementing change. 

As the report also indicated, many companies don’t feel they have the technology to support personalised learning at scale, which makes it (understandably) an overwhelming journey to start. In fact, nearly half of all respondents said that it would be too difficult to administer and maintain personalised learning, with another 47% indicating their organisation was not properly trained to design and deliver it.

Luckily, the report delivers some great key strategies to drive personalised learning at scale. I wouldn’t blame you for downloading it now and skipping to page 9 to read about what the companies that are winning with their approach to meet future-of-work requirements are doing well.

Key Strategies to Drive Personalised Learning at Scale

If you’d like a sneak peek at what the winners are doing to win, here you go: 

  • They have the technology ecosystem in place to develop and deliver personalised learning at scale
  • They have methods for collecting and distributing subject matter expertise at scale
  • They promote peer-to-peer, collaborative learning

There are lots more, but you’re going to have to download the report to read them so that you understand why these companies are so well-positioned and have a much better handle on personalised learning and the technology required to deliver it at scale. 

On a final and really positive note, we thought we’d share this: 82% of companies surveyed say they are working on improving their approach to personalised learning. There may be a  way to go for some companies in terms of understanding its full impact, but it’s great to see that making learning more personal, relatable and easier to access within the flow of work is a priority for L&D. 

Grab a copy of our new report with Brandon Hall Group today.

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