When it comes to learning styles, people are as diverse as snowflakes—everyone is unique. That’s why the personalized-learning approach is gaining steam in educational and training circles. Personalized learning is an innovative way of providing tailored learning experiences that meet each learner’s individual needs and goals. 

By getting to know each person’s strengths, likes, and dislikes, instructors can create more meaningful and engaging content. With variations based on individual preferences, each learner can progress through their education at a pace that works best for them rather than conforming to the same timeline. 

The result is greater retention, engagement, and satisfaction—all of which are essential for successful learning outcomes. Here’s how personalized learning can benefit your organization.

What is personalized learning? #

Personalized learning is a powerful tool for learners that offers many benefits over traditional classroom-style learning. But what makes it different? And how can you make sure it’s the right choice for your needs? 

At its core, personalized learning is about customizing the teaching and learning experience to match the individual learner. This means tailoring course material and instruction to meet their specific goals, abilities, interests, and needs. 

In contrast, traditional classrooms usually involve one instructor teaching a group of students with mostly uniform materials and expectations. One of the most critical differences between personalized learning and traditional classrooms is the level of individual attention each learner receives. 

With personalized learning, instructors can provide more one-on-one guidance and feedback as needed. This attention allows learners to get immediate feedback on their progress and ensure they understand the material before moving on. Traditional classrooms usually don’t have this type of flexibility or personalization, which can mean a student can fall behind if they don’t understand something immediately. 

Another key difference between personalized learning and traditional classroom methods is how technology is used. Personalized learning often takes advantage of modern teaching tools such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), and adaptive-learning platforms. 

These tools can make the learning experience more dynamic and provide a more personalized approach to instruction. Traditional classrooms don’t often have access to these types of technologies, which means learners may miss out on some of the benefits that come with them. 

Personalized learning vs. adaptive learning #

What is adaptive learning? How does it differ from personalized learning? Personalized and adaptive learning have the same goal: helping people learn effectively and efficiently. There are some differences between these approaches. 

Personalized learning focuses on individualizing the learning experience by customizing content and activities based on a learner’s goals, strengths, and interests.

On the other hand, adaptive learning takes a slightly different approach. It uses technology to measure a learner’s level of understanding and tailors the content based on their performance, stretching their comfort zone to keep them motivated but not frustrated.

For example, suppose a learner is struggling with a particular concept in math. In that case, an adaptive-learning program can provide them with additional practice activities or videos to help them better understand the concept. 

Working together, adaptive and personalized learning are powerful tools that help people learn better, faster, and with more enjoyment. 

Types of personalized-learning plans #

Personalized-learning principles can be applied using many different approaches and mediums. Let’s examine a few.

Collaborative learning #

This personalized-learning method involves working together to solve problems or complete tasks. While each person has their own role, they can also learn from one another’s skill sets, experiences, and ideas to reach common goals.

Competency-based learning #

This method allows learners to focus on mastering specific skills or competencies instead of following a pre-set curriculum. Rather than having one pace for everyone, each learner moves at their own speed and progresses to the next step only when they have shown that they understand what came before it.

Personalized learning paths #

These custom programs allow learners to decide how they want to learn the material by choosing which topics are most important to them. An added bonus is that participants get to work through those topics at their own pace without covering every single point. 

Personalized coaching #

This method provides learners with one-on-one guidance from a mentor or teacher, allowing teachers to tailor their instruction to meet the specific needs of individuals. As a result, each learner receives individualized feedback and advice on how best to succeed in their studies.

Gamified learning #

Personalized learning can incorporate game-like mechanics to make the educational experience more engaging and fun. Gaming can be used in both traditional classroom settings and online, allowing learners to progress through levels, earn points or rewards for completing tasks, and compete with their peers.

Mixed-reality learning #

Mixed-reality learning combines elements of artificial intelligence, VR, and AR technologies with traditional educational content. Designed to make the teaching experience more interactive and immersive for learners by providing them with a realistic environment in which to practice skills, this is a popular method of personalizing how employees learn.

Blended learning #

Blended learning combines teaching in the classroom with online activities tailored to each student’s level and pace. With this approach, learners can work at their own speed while still receiving guidance from a teacher. 

Project-based learning #

This method puts learners in the driver’s seat. Instructors act as facilitators, helping learners work on projects or tasks tailored to their interests and capabilities, guiding them through the activities, and offering support when needed.

The advantages of personalized learning #

It’s easy to see numerous advantages for educators and learners alike when implementing personalized-learning plans. Let’s break them down: 

1. Increased engagement #

Personalized-learning plans allow individuals to customize their own learning experience, which can lead to greater engagement in the material. This is especially important for learners less interested in traditional educational methods or topics. With personalized learning, they can choose what and how they learn, allowing them to engage better with the content and retain more information.

2. Improved performance #

As learners become more excited by the material, it stands to reason that their performance will also improve. They can focus on areas of interest and proficiency while skipping over concepts that may not be relevant. Not only does this lead to better performance on tests and assignments, but it also helps build confidence in their ability to learn and master material. 

3. Increased retention #

When learners can customize their learning experience with personalized-learning plans, they are more likely to retain the information for extended periods. This is due in part to increased engagement with the material as well as being able to focus on areas of interest or proficiency. As a result, businesses can expect increased employee retention rates when offering personalized-learning programs instead of traditional training methods. 

4. Cost savings #

Personalized-learning plans are more cost-effective than traditional methods of training and education. By allowing learners to skip over topics that may be irrelevant, businesses can save money by not having to pay for materials related to those concepts. 

Additionally, personalizing the learning experience allows trainers and educators to focus on areas where their expertise is most needed, leading to more efficient use of time and resources. 

Overall, implementing personalized-learning plans has a wide range of advantages for both educators and learners alike. 

Most common challenges of personalized-learning plans #

Personalized-learning plans don’t come without their challenges. Here, we’ll look at some of the most common issues you may face when implementing customized learning for yourself or your organization: 

  • Time management. Personalized learning requires careful planning and prioritization to get the most out of your time. 
  • Finding resources. Finding resources that are tailored specifically for individual learners can be challenging. 
  • Keeping track. Without the implementation and follow-up of a tracking system, it can be challenging to determine if you’re making progress or if adjustments need to be made along the way. 
  • Adapting content. Tailoring materials and resources according to each learner’s unique needs and background can take a lot of time and effort but is essential for creating an effective personalized-learning plan. 
  • Measuring success. Because each learner’s goals and progression will be unique, you’ll need to devise creative ways to assess progress and outcomes to determine if your efforts are paying off.

While creating and implementing personalized-learning plans in your organization may take a little extra time and effort, it will pay off in happier, more productive workers and a more robust, positive work culture for all.

Examples of personalized-learning implementations #

So, what does personalized learning look like in the real world? Here are some examples of how different organizations have implemented personalized-learning programs to drive better results. 

  • Khan Academy: Khan Academy offers a unique approach to personalized learning that allows individuals to learn at their own pace. Through its “mastery-based” system, students can progress through lessons based on their understanding of the material rather than being held back by grade-level expectations or class size. 
  • Duolingo: Duolingo is a popular language-learning platform that incorporates personalized learning by adapting its lessons to each learner’s proficiency level, providing customized exercises and tracking progress to create a tailored learning path.
  • IBM: IBM has implemented personalized learning through their internal training programs. They leverage AI-powered platforms that analyze employee skills, interests, and learning preferences to deliver personalized training modules and recommendations for professional development.

Personalized learning can make corporate training both more cost-effective and more impactful. Companies like ELM Learning provide customized, interactive training solutions tailored to the specific needs of each organization. By using personalized-learning tools, businesses can ensure their employees get the most out of their training and development programs.

Personalize your training #

Personalized learning is a great way to help companies reach their training goals. It allows them to create tailored content, engaging activities, and useful assessments that can be adapted to the needs of each learner. With personalized learning, everyone in your company can benefit from more targeted, effective training. 

At ELM Learning, we are committed to helping organizations create the perfect personalized-learning experience for their employees. We focus on creating genuine connections by zeroing in on user preferences. Let’s talk about how ELM Learning can help you implement an effective personalized-learning program for your organization.