Adaptive learning techniques help personalisation of training
21st November 2017
Imagine you had to buy uniforms for yourself and your colleagues; would you buy 'one size' for all? Of course not. Some would be too tight, too loose, and some may even impact how effective people are at their job. Why then do so many companies take this one size fits all approach to training?
Like a person’s body, each person’s brain composition is unique (like DNA) as is their learning style. We have designed our modules to take into consideration each trainee’s skills, capabilities and knowledge to create a personalised training plan which is as unique as each learner.
Adaptive Learning as a Methodology
It all starts with the methodology, our technologies could not exist if we did not have a basic understanding of the principles behind Adaptive Learning. We don't believe in using an approach which presumes that everyone requires the same amount learning material; while there will be learners who do need as much information and knowledge that they can get, the truth is many trainee's will already have some of the skills, knowledge and understanding that you are attempting to educate your trainee's on. Rather than all of your learner's swimming in one large knowledge pool, our adaptive learning techniques allow your learner's to dip in and out of the knowledge most relevant and applicable to themselves.
Using Adaptive Learning Technologies
To design training that is personalised and targeted you first of all need data that tells a story about your learners. Data can be used to help provide a better understanding of which topics learners may find more difficult than others, it can also assist managers with feedback on where they should intervene and assist further. Data will highlight skill and knowledge gaps so that trainers can then serve up personalised content which is relevant to each individual learner. By creating 'branches' trainee's can access the relevant training that they require and ignore the training that they don't require. This in turn creates unique pathways where two people undergoing the same training can have a completely different experience than their colleague. Based on how the user has been travelling through their training, challenges are pre-empted and therefore focus will go towards areas whereby the user struggles to understand the material, ensuring that they receive the most attention in these areas.
We can also adapt content based on a diagnostic quiz at the start of each module. The quiz serves to help the LMS understand the trainee's pre-exisiting knowledge and where there are knowledge gaps; guiding the user towards the sections on the module that they require further training on. So say for example, if you and I had been assigned to complete the same module, upon completing the initial diagnostics quiz our clever learning management system, Spark, will then identify which areas we are already clued up on and which areas we need further learning on. I could be told to complete sections A, D & E whereas you could be told to complete sections B, C & F. As well as saving time, this will help keep the trainee engaged as they will not have to suffer through information that they are already familiar with.
Spark, our Next Generation Learning Platform (LMS) can adjust training to match job roles as well as other important criteria to build a truly unique learning experience. It does this by tracking and identifying how each learner answers each individual question; which questions are answered correctly, time spent on each question and identifying whether a trainee is a fast or slow learner. The analysis of this data can help you to identify which areas of the learning your trainees are not understanding and which areas they are retaining. In essence, allowing you to focus on those learner's who may need a little more guidance.
Instead of everyone receiving the same experience, the adaptive technology is adjusting to each user’s needs.
You’ll also need an LMS (Learning Management System) that has the capability to be flexible. This is why Spark has been built with flexibility in mind. We’ve built in profiling which allows you to configure the trainee record system to have exactly the fields you want; whether that be job titles, addresses, start dates, job roles or anything else that you feel is relevant. This allows not only for each trainee’s learning to be personalised but it also means that you can then continue to build learning paths that match your learner’s progression through the business.
We also understand that language can be a barrier in how much value a learner can obtain from training. For someone whose first language is not English, training may be more difficult for them to digest and understand; that’s why we’ve built our LMS to provide learning that can be accessed in multiple languages. Our admin interface will allow you to request translations for newly added content, allowing you to publish your training materials without the tiresome process of arranging translation first.
Furthermore, we also understand that more and more people are accessing the internet via mobile devices. As such, we've built our LMS to be scalable and flexible enough to work on mobile devices. Allowing your learner's to access the training at a time and location that suits them. Whether that be on the go or lying in bed - no restrictions on accessibility allows training to be adaptive to each trainee's lifestyle.
It’s all well and good being told how it is that Adaptive Learning works but does it actually work? Does this method yield more information retention and has it been proven to do so?
According to a study conducted by Kennesaw State University in 2015 there are many benefits to a more personalized approach to learning. They found that adapting learning to an individual’s learning style results in better learning outcomes; by looking at individual learning rates and modalities, students could achieve at a higher level when compared to traditional learning methods. Furthermore, they found that personalized learning systems positively impacted other aspects beyond knowledge retention; student persistence and engagement was seen to increase under Adaptive Learning methods. Whilst proving to be highly beneficial from a learning and educational point of view the study also found that by applying this method via online learning that money could be saved and access to learning materials could be increased at the same time. In short it was a method which was proven to yield higher quality results whilst being able to reach a larger audience at a fraction of the cost.
“There is also evidence that adaptive systems positively impact other aspects of quality such as student persistence and engagement (Jarrett, 2013; Zimmer, 2014). More compelling still are the intuitively appealing cases for adaptive learning systems as engines with which institutions can increase access and reduce costs.”