Personalizing Training Leads to Better Results


My favorite topics for these blog posts are the ones that stem from conversations with organizations on the front lines of training adults. Recently, I was speaking with Todd Macey from Vital Learning, a company with a long history of training leaders and management of Fortune 500 companies. As we were talking, I realized his insights into the personalization of learning could be helpful for all organizations that provide training.

Personalizing Training

Todd pointed out that companies are moving away from offering a large online-only library of courses. This self-study approach has been a popular way for companies to facilitate cost-effective training over the past few years, but not necessarily meeting their learning objectives: “Companies are rethinking that approach of giving access to a bunch of courses and letting participants go their own route. That type of solution is not providing the results they are looking for and it’s not robust enough.”

Instead, Todd sees a shift towards a hybrid learning style approach that combines online course content with an element of instructor-led training, either online or in-person: “More and more companies are emphasizing that blended approach. They get the efficiency and ‘just in time benefits’ of an online experience, but couple that with a robust learning plan, one-on-one coaching, skill practice with others on their team and follow up exercises.”

Adding a Local Element to Training

Companies are also adding an additional layer of personalization to their training by finding ways to use local resources when possible. Organizations are turning to local facilitators, local universities and community colleges to enhance the learning process. The extra level of local control allows content to be tailored to the area, rather than taking a national, one-size-fits-all approach. Todd added, “A big reason people are starting to prefer local is that people like to have a more personalized experience. I think part of it too is that companies want to be personalized to their company and the individual learner.”

To Todd and the team at Vital Learning, it all comes down to results. “Online courses can be good if you are looking to improve a specific task. This approach does not work as well with soft skills or more complicated skills where you need more interactivity and practice.” Todd thinks adding elements that personalize the learning creates an environment that helps the skills, “become second nature and really sink in to become part of your process and use them on the job.”

Thank you, Todd, for sharing your perspective!

The Importance of Blended Learning

Employee or membership retention is critical to the mission of most organizations and associations. Equally important is to have those tenured people actively participating in the organization and/or communities to support the overall mission.

How can organizations keep employees or members focused on their mission?

Many associations rely on their continuing education programs to support their mission by creating value, relevancy and engagement. At a time when organizations are uncertain about the world economy and their own futures, it is essential that their continuing education programs are effective.

How is Training Best Delivered: Online or On-Site?

Many studies suggest that the most effective learning technique is one that involves a variety of learning methods. Particularly effective are those which blend face-to-face classroom training with a digital or interactive format. Learning has proven to be the least effective when only a single learning method is presented. For example, content presented only in an eLearning format is not as effective on its own as it would be if it was used in conjunction with traditional classroom training.

3 Options for an Effective Blended Learning Program

If you want learners to get the most value and engagement from your continuing education programs, it’s time to create a blended learning solution.

To create an effective learning program, consider using a component of each of the following:

  1. Classroom Training. Use a face-to-face classroom setting to train on subjects that require instructor-led assignments, peer collaboration and activities. Networking is the real advantage of this training method. Social networks are great, but nothing compares to face-to-face meetings for true bonds and rapport.
  2. eLearning. Computer-Based Training (CBT) and Web-Based Training (WBT) are great ways to cater to different learning styles and capture learned results for continuing education credits. In addition, not everyone learns well in a classroom setting, so including an eLearning format ensures everyone is getting the most out of your training.
  3. Mobile. This can be an aspect of eLearning, but mobile is important enough to consider separately. It’s important to develop content that allows people to learn on their own time. Consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets are making it easy to consume content anywhere, anytime. Help learners make the conversion from one-time training to lifelong learners by having them access content and learn on their own time.

What do you think makes up the best blended learning program?

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