Personalized eLearning: A Win-Win for Everyone
“A person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”
– Dale Carnegie
In today’s push-button-get-banana instant gratification world, eLearners have specific needs – and even more specific expectations and demands. As such, personalized eLearning meets learners where they are, with the exact prescriptive information they need and want in order to deliver a far more immersive and meaningful learning experience.
The concept of personalized eLearning is the tailoring of instruction, curriculum and learning environments to meet the needs and learning styles of individuals, affording them choices about what is learned, when it is learned and how it is learned.
The psychology is similar to that of incorporating someone’s name into conversation. When we say a person’s name, we are – in essence – announcing their importance. They are worth remembering; they are worthy of personalized, individualized recognition.
Think of someone you’d describe as charismatic. Often, what makes them charismatic is their ability to captivate others by making them feel like the most important person in the room – and they typically leverage the power of someone’s name: It will be the first thing they ask for when meeting you, it will be peppered throughout your conversation, and will be the last thing you hear as they leave.
Because those people recognize the importance of making someone feel seen. It creates an immediate – and intimate – sense of connection, belonging and importance.
And the same is true for personalized eLearning.
Elements of Personalized eLearning
Think about every digital technology you use. From your browser, to your email, to your social media, to your streaming devices, everything is personalized – some even using your name – and boasting distinct customization options.
In eLearning, personalization can influence the learning environment, such as its font sizes, colors, backgrounds, and themes, its audio, video, text, and graphics, and its interactions between the facilitator, student and learning content with gamification, quizzes, online discussions, adaptive learning approaches, tutorials, and more.
Additionally, the pace of learning, the instructional approach, and lessons and activities catered to the learner’s experience and interests can be personalized to give each user the ability to learn what they want, when they want it, and even how they want it, improving learning results and retention.
Mechanics of Personalized eLearning
Now, let’s delve a little deeper into the mechanics of personalized eLearning, specifically what can be personalized.
- The Learner. To our original point, personalized eLearning can capture the learner’s name during registration to be used throughout the course.
- The Environment. Learners can personalize their online eLearning environments by choosing avatars to represent either themselves or their facilitators, down to the voices for audio content.
- The Content. Incorporate content from the learners’ personal environment, browsing habits and preferences, such as blogs, social media sites, and more.
- The Roles. Use a photo of the instructor or instruct the learner to add their own photo to make the content more personal and intimate.
- The Learning Objectives. Learners can select the learning objectives relevant to why they are taking the course so the content and modules reinforce that specific goal.
- The Learning Sequences. Learners can chart their own nonlinear learning path, without being relegated to learning in the order and sequence dictated by a course.
- The Media. Some learners are tactile while others are visual so personalized eLearning provides various delivery methods for content, such as short videos, printed PDFs, gamification, or audio files.
Benefits of Personalized eLearning
As we’ve discussed previously, an engaged learner is a happy learner so personalized eLearning empowers learners to ‘have it their way.’ Thanks, Burger King.
Because what was once considered ‘revolutionary’ is now just how things are done.
Think about it: How much more likely are you to eat – and enjoy – a burger if you get to decide exactly what’s on it and how much? These days, you wouldn’t conceive of eating something not made to your exact specifications.
The same is true with personalized eLearning. Learners can set their own goals with manageable milestones for a greater sense of accomplishment, forge their own learning path, select the device of their choice, including desktop, mobile, and tablets, set their own pace, choose the courses relevant to them and their specific goals, and receive personalized feedback to assess their progress.
Zero waste; all win.