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  • Aruna K

Personalisation vs. Standardisation: Here's How To Have Both, For Better Learning Outcomes

Very often, when we think of training, we're thinking about custom training processes. Training, especially one involving eLearning content, at the organisational level often involves

-planning the annual calendar

-a training needs analysis process (TNA) for every training requirement

- Custom content build

-Corrections and adjustments made to content

-All of this effort, with often missing metrics on how many people actually consumed the module, or found it useful.

Sometimes, because of the sheer effort involved, we are invested in the process, and believe that custom content is good. Because it is designed and developed for our specific need. Because it is unique to us.

And as an extension, any standard offering, one that's purchased off-the-shelf, is bad.

However, I'm here to debunk that idea today. I've spend the past 13 years in the business of eLearning content, and if there's one thing I've learnt and experienced myself, it is this:

Personalised content is not the opposite of standard content.

Why is that? Let's delve into the details.

Many of us have the misconception that standardized content can only deliver the basics.

Indeed, the impact of training with context drives your team, and therefore your organization, to great heights. It reflects in their productivity, enhanced skillset, motivation, overall engagement and even your employee attrition rates.

A standardised offering, we know now, can also provide most of the benefits of personalisation, without the effort involved in building custom content.

This is particularly effective when the core topic being trained on is universal- it could be an ERP solution that the whole world uses, or it could be a more generic module meant to develop a core skill.

For example, as we build Espresso by Dexler Education, we're operating with the knowledge that most businesses have similar challenges and opportunities in implementing SAP, and therefore the content used to train and empower them can be standardised to a great extent.

The Fusion of Personalised Learning with Standardisation

Every organisation craves outcomes. The role of the L&D team is complicated; on the one hand they must ensure the training is within a set budget and on the other, they must ensure the content is easily consumed by the teams (because the reality is that team members are always occupied with project deliverables)

In other words, clocking in extra hours to complete a training module should be worth their time and energy.

How can you do it?

Should you go with standards learning program or personalised or customised ones?

Let us look at two question:

  • Does your learning content get updated frequently (quarterly/half yearly/yearly)?

  • How many learning programs does the organisation/business unit conduct on average?

Most of the organisations have learning content that is updated frequently. There is a very small portion of the training that is unique and must be customised. The ratio would look something like this:

  • >70% - frequently updated

  • <30% - customised

For the training content that gets updated frequently, you can use standardised content with personalisation in terms of the context set and examples provided. The benefit here is that in choosing standard content, the onus is on your learning partner to keep their content up to date- and you don't have to worry about this, or spend more money on it.

Adding a Touch of Personalisation

Personalisation does not mean building a unique training program- this is what we often get wrong about the process.

Personalisation is not a process to be undertaken, but an outcome to be expected. In other words, when content is effective and it meets the team member where they are at, that is true personalisation.

A simple analogy would be the cakes we buy. One does not always buy a custom cake for every occasion. Instead, we buy a known flavour, and give it a new touch (the messaging on top, the colour of the frosting, and so on).

Likewise, one does not always need to build the cake that is a an eLearning module from scratch, only to have it become obsolete soon. Instead, a standard eLearning offering can be purchased, and extensions such as industry-specific examples, business process knowledge, and even your branding colours, can be added to it.

If you add too much of the flavour, the essence/context gets diluted; if the flavour is too less, you will not see the powerful impact of personalisation. Therefore, the right flavour and right amount of it is very important.

Standardised eLearning content delivered with personalisation, and the required touch of customisation, can turn the module into one that is extremely learner-friendly, while also letting you enjoy the benefits of less day-to-day involvement in content building, and shorter timelines in getting the eLearning content you need immediately.

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