Adaptive Learning vs. Personalized Learning

Adaptive Learning vs. Personalized Learning

Adaptive Learning vs. Personalized Learning

The primary challenge that L&D Managers face is how to assign the right course to each employee that makes the employee’s time spent on the course fruitful. Gone are the days of common courses for all employees at a specific work-level. Today, efficient business solutions run on clearly defined goals and learning objectives that are tied to each employee’s roles and growth in an organization and courses are designed to meet the requirements of all categories of learners. Sounds contradictory? Well let us look at the new redesigned adaptive Scholastic Adaptive Test or SAT as an example.

The SAT is an online test taken by students looking to enroll in an undergraduate programme in the USA. The SAT is designed in the adaptive learning mode and it tests students, question-by-question from a library of questions. If the student answers an initial batch of questions correctly, then the next set of questions is moderately tougher. If the student answers the initial set of questions incorrectly, then the next set of questions are significantly easier. In this manner, the test adapts to the student’s skills and helps in creating an accurate academic score of the student.

Personalized Learning at the workplace considers the following factors:

  • Job role and department
  • Prior learning
  • Specific skills needed to achieve learning outcomes
  • Best possible learning delivery method

The course content is designed to meet the points listed above and provide the employee a complete goal-driven learning experience. Employees usually take a basic test for the L&D team to measure the skill-set and then assign a relevant course to the employee.

Adaptive Learning at the workplace incorporates all the points mentioned in personalized learning and continuously evaluates the learning acquired from previous tests and then evaluates the employee’s skills with average industry benchmarks. Once this is done, the course is then structured to suit the employee’s learning speed and the course is configured to run assessments and offer learning at the level of intelligence of the employee.

What works best?

The modern workplace is evolving at a tremendous speed, as we see fresh graduates coming into the system, the courses of yore will not be the right fit for them. A good blend of personalized and adaptive learning based courses would be the right fit for the current generation of young professionals. Learning delivery is another important factor. People do not have the attention-span or the patience to sit through long-winded presentations and monotonous seminars. Learning is steadily shifting to smart phones and tablet devices and micro learning modules of small interesting videos.

Additionally, social learning that creates closed learning networks within a specific group of employees allowing them to challenge each other to complete modules and also help each other in answering queries is gaining prominence and we will explore ‘Social learning at the workplace’ in a separate blog post.

The future of modern workplace learning is well and truly going to shift to the mobile phone and it is imperative that organizations invest in creating state-of-the-art and effective courses for their employees to retain them within the organization.

So what do you think will work best? Adaptive or Personalized Learning!!



Minimalist, bibliophile and weaver of tales!


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