Developing a Learning Culture

Data and Personalized Digital Learning- They Can Work Together

Forgive us for quoting Spiderman, but the (admittedly gimmicky) saying goes that with great power comes great responsibility and that’s never more true than when it comes to technology. With the entirety of human knowledge just a few clicks away, it’s easy to fall into a trap where you let the tech do the talking. Big data, online resources, and social media often take the place of solid analytics and a personal touch.

But the power of data shouldn’t let you rest on your laurels and put your training on autopilot; it should push you to create better learning. You can use that information as a way to strategize for more personalized training and not just another tech gimmick. Your responsibility? Make sure learners keep their individuality while embracing the tech that helps to get you there.

1. Suggested Products

Don’t get us wrong: we love data. But when data is used in a gimmicky way, it can make learners feel alienated rather than embraced as individuals. Consider the last time you bought a book on Amazon. The next time you logged in, you probably saw similar books that might interest you, creating a personalized shopping experience. Amazon tracks purchases, but then uses algorithms as a way to increase the chances of a subsequent sale. The data alone might pull titles that are exactly the same, but the strategy is to show similar books in similar genres. As a result, you feel more catered to and are probably more likely to become a repeat customer.

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Now, apply that strategy to training: the data might show that a learner has completed a course, but there’s more to the story than that. Analytics can indicate a learner’s subject mastery or link previous learning to similar topics to keep the training path going. The tech on its own is impressive, but it’s the application of that tech that enhances personalized learning.

2. Personal Development 

Anyone who’s developed learning and training materials can tell you that sometimes, it’s too much of a good thing. Years of materials and content can create bloated modules that feel generic and sluggish, which frustrates even the most enthusiastic learners. So, beware the minefield of TMD–too much data. Information about your learners, their paths, their results, and everything else can muddy your vision when creating true personalization. Instead, cut through all the noise to weed out the data that really makes a difference.

You want your learners to feel as though the material benefits them inside and outside their career. Extract the data that helps you create more robust learner profiles and then get rid of the rest of the noise. That way, the information delivered to learners is streamlined and hyper-relevant to their behavior, careers, and goals.

3. Promote and Advertise

The data you collect from learners puts you in prime position to zero in on the messaging and advertising that will really capture their hearts and minds. Creating the content is one thing, but getting learners to buy into the idea of training is something else entirely. Luckily, armed with user profiles and analytics, you can better personalize promotion so the messaging speaks to the individual. Whether it’s professional development, personal life, or just making a job easier, consider learners’ motivations via the data and create messaging that speaks to it.

Tech is not a strategy in and of itself. With the awesome power of data and information comes the responsibility to use that information wisely. Instead of relying on tech to spit out numbers and figures, create a strategy that frames data in a way that personalizes and promotes learning in a more meaningful way.