Report: Use adaptive, personalized learning to cultivate successful workforce

Case Study
Personalized learning assets that adapt to student answers can make employee training easier. (RADsan/iStock)

As organizations struggle to provide training to multigenerational workforces with diverse backgrounds, advanced artificial technology helps by personalizing instructional content, according to a new whitepaper.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to talent development cannot provide the engaging, relevant, and fast-paced training employees routinely access in their personal lives (think YouTube or TED Talks) and need at work to drive success in an agile, competitive organization,” the Association for Talent Development’s “Personalized and Adaptive Learning” whitepaper stated. “In that supercharged atmosphere, organizations—especially market leaders—are evolving the use of personalized and adaptive learning.”

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The report defines adaptive learning as technology-enabled, personalized learning that uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to adapt content to learners’ responses in real time. Personalized learning is instruction tailored to someone based on their interests, job role or experience. Nineteen percent of respondents said most of their learning is personalized, and 55% said they use adaptive learning.

Although 83% of respondents to the report’s associated survey of 271 talent development professionals said their organization uses at least some personalized learning, only 35% said they were highly effective at it. Of those, 48% said such learning was highly successful, while 21% of respondents from low-performance organizations said the same, indicating that high-performance organizations are more effective at personalized and adaptive learning.

Use of both forms of learning will expand in coming years, the report found. About a third of respondents said they expect that most of their development content will feature personalized learning within two years, and 20 percent said most of their learning assets will use adaptive learning, according to the paper. For comparison, two years ago, 16 percent of respondents said that most of their learning solutions had personalization, and 56 percent said none of theirs were adaptive.

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Implementing these learning techniques comes with challenges. For one, some organizations don’t have the technologies they need to create personalized learning. At others, the organizational infrastructure isn’t conducive to consistently delivering learning to the workforce.

“Despite challenges, the benefits and possibilities offered by personalized and adaptive learning have talent development professionals eager to be a part of the continuing evolution,” the paper concludes. “Many employees are excited, too, that the technologies they rely on in their personal lives are bringing the convenience of tailored learning and find-it-now capabilities to the workplace.”