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One Size Does Not Fit All

As a former teacher, creating personalized learning for my students was the norm. It included everything from presenting lessons orally, followed up with a hand-out, a reading, or even a video recording of the lesson to creating a learning environment where students could work independently, in partners, or small groups to offering students choice about how they would demonstrate acquisition or mastery of knowledge, skills, and understanding. Personalized learning as a methodology is certainly not new, however, the methodology has become more complex as the demand to not only personalize learning for skill level and pace, but also to address interest, motivation, and academic/professional goals, all while navigating the ever-changing advances in technology.

The students who have become accustomed to this level of personalization are now part of the workforce, therefore, workplace training needs to recognize that the ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of training actually does not fit. But how do employers possibly have the time to create individual learning paths for all their employees? A suggestion would be to start with instructional design and your LMS.

Good instructional design addresses the key elements of creating a successful learning experience. A well-designed program has identified the learning need, knows the audience, has clear objectives, includes relevant and engaging activities, and incorporates appropriate performance tasks that can be measured. A good instructional designer who is considering these elements is building in a level of personalization that can accommodate differences in the learner’s skill level, pace, choice of activity, and method of assessment.

Coupled with good instructional design, is fully understanding and utilizing your LMS. Learning Management Systems offer many opportunities to personalize learning. They offer more choice for designers in method of delivery, evaluation techniques, and data collection which translates to:

  • Accessing learning on multiple devices

  • Accessing learning whenever and wherever

  • Reliable record keeping to inform further personal learning goals or needs

  • Monitoring performance to allow timely reinforcement of skills or knowledge

  • Allows “push” learning events to promote retention and sustainment

  • Allows “pull” learning events to offer choice and address motivation and interest

While not always perfect, our education system has been striving to personalize learning for students for decades. High quality instructional design and the technological capabilities of today’s LMSs make it possible for everyone to expect personalized learning in their workplace, because one size does not fit all.

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