Save Time, Money and Increase Performance Through Adaptive Learning

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We want information at the right level to match our needs.

We have all been there.

Waiting on hold for 45 minutes, hearing how important our call is a dozen times, entering our information three times in three different ways only to finally get a live person who provides the same information you read in the company’s FAQs.

We want information at the right level to match our needs.

Corporate training is often like this common customer support nightmare. A lot of time, energy, and money is spent on content that does not address the learner’s needs. 

The Muddling-Middle problem

A lot of corporate training “aims for the middle,” focusing its instructional content on an ill-defined mysterious mid-level of competency, leaving those at either end of the learning bell curve frustrated. The content is too basic for the experienced employee and maybe too advanced for a newbie, wasting time, money, and morale.

I refer to this as the Muddling-Middle problem. 

Getting the Right Information at the Right Level

Adaptive learning techniques can overcome the Muddling-Middle problem, by adjusting the level of instruction to the competency of the learner. Adaptive learning generally involves the use of algorithms to identify and deliver content that is tailored to the individual, allowing learners to move through the material at their own pace. The level of adaptability varies depending on the technology available and the format of the training. 

Here are some examples of employing adaptive learning strategies. 

→ Learn more through our Webinar: Reinvent Compliance Training–Using Microlearning With A Risk-Specific Approach?

Simple Adaptive Example: Frontend Quiz or Game

A simple example of using an adaptive learning strategy that I’ve employed is having a jeopardy-like game at the start of an online course; I’ve programmed the course to display appropriate content based on the learners’ performance in the game.  

The advantage of this approach is that it does not require a heavy upfront investment.  It does require some programming skills, and a high level of instructional design, to program the course and to develop appropriate content based on performance.  

The disadvantage is that it is not scalable beyond the one course. For that singular learning event or object, it will improve the learner experience, but because it is stand-alone, the benefit will not enhance future learnings.   

Live-training example

Adaptive learning strategies are hard to employ in live, synchronous training events, but you can still leverage adaptive techniques to mitigate the Muddling-Middle problem, by:

  • Utilizing a question or a pre-test well prior to the event, to gauge learner competency.  
  • Pairing more experienced learners with those less experienced in group exercises. This engages both learner groups.  
  • Having the learner bring problems, or situations relevant to their job to workshop in the training. This allows the learner to apply the knowledge to an issue of the right complexity to be engaging and useful.  
  • Allow the bulk of live instructional time to focus on the application of knowledge, use a blended approach to provide the foundational training ahead of time, then in the classroom, be adaptive, and reserve time for those who have questions, while others may be engaged in another activity. 

To Fully Leverage Adaptive Learning

To fully leverage adaptive learning requires a platform that tracks learner performance and presents data based on a robust algorithm. For a company, this upfront investment can be compensated by the reduction in learning time, and increased motivation and performance of its employees. The benefits of adaptive learning in corporate training include improved engagement, increased efficiency, and personalized instruction. Adaptive learning allows companies to provide individualized instruction to their employees, which can help employees understand the material more quickly and efficiently. Additionally, adaptive learning can increase engagement by providing content that is tailored to each individual’s interests and needs.  

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