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10 Tips to Personalize Your Employee Training Program with mLearning

April 15, 2020 | By Asha Pandey



Personalized training enables you to offer highly relevant content to your learners that will help them accomplish their goals and career progression. In this article, I show you how mLearning can successfully help you accomplish this.


We are witnessing rapid changes in the way learners want to learn. Alongside, there are significant changes in the way online training is being delivered. These changes are triggering L&D teams to relook at their current learning strategies and adapt so that they meet this mandate.

The notable 3 aspects that must be factored in the L&D strategy today include:

 The Changing Learners’ Expectations

  • They want training to be short, focused, and available on the go as well as on demand.
  • The content should be relevant and packaged to meet their needs and interests.
  • They should be in complete control of their learning journey wherein they are able to decide what trainings they should pick up, when they should learn, and at the pace that works best.
  • Furthermore, offering learning content and related resources over a learning path is not enough. It must map to their career aspirations and essentially, the “learning pathways” must map to the “career pathways.”

Transition from Traditional LMS to Next Gen Platforms and Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs)

Building up on the list of changing learner expectations is the way training is being delivered and the flexibility it offers to the learners so that they can customize their learning journeys.

Very rapidly, the online training delivery model is moving from the traditional “push” or mandated training to self-directed, “pull” based training that the learners can define based on their role, region, proficiency, or interests.

A majority of the Next Gen platforms and Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs) feature Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make further recommendations to learners.

  • This not only enriches the learner’s experience but moves the training from discrete engagements to continuous learning.
  • This is not all – it enables learners to invest time on specific and relevant content and related resources.

Engaging the Disengaged Learners – Amidst the Distractions and Blurs of Work-Life Balance

We live in a world of distractions. Amidst this, learners must multitask.

As the lines between working hours and personal time blur and the work hours increase, L&D teams have a daunting challenge of engaging the already overwhelmed learners and ensure that they invest the required time on the training.

Highlights – What the Workplace Learning Should Have

Let’s take a step back to see some of the common aspects that emerge from these. These converge to what L&D teams must offer as they adapt to the changes and re-shape the workplace learning.

  1. Training on the go.
  2. Training on demand.
  3. Short and focused training.
  4. Training that offers relevant content – matching the needs and interests of learners.
  5. Training offered as Learning Pathways.
  6. Control with learners to customize the learning journeys.
  7. Customizable Career Pathways.
  8. Self-directed, “pull” based training.
  9. Room for further recommendations to learners.
  10. Enables learners to invest time on specific and relevant content and related resources.

The Verdict?

The combination of Personalized training delivered in an mLearning format would help you meet most of the expectations and is a crucial investment you must make.

The whole world has gone mobile – there’s no denying it.

  • With such penetration volumes of mobile devices, L&D teams have a unique opportunity to shape the next generation of their training strategies. They can do so by pivoting towards mLearning.
  • Given that many of us indulge in some form of learning on mobile devices before going to bed, and as many of us use the devices to do some learning shortly after waking up, mLearning must be a key element in any organization’s L&D strategy.

However, an important point to note is that while mLearning is a very powerful training approach, typically, the same training is made available to the entire audience. It doesn’t factor for any specific learner preference nor does it factor for a given learner’s interest or proficiency.

  • In contrast to this generic approach, Personalized training in the form of mLearning helps you offer relevant, custom, and more meaningful learning experiences.
  • Since mobile devices are extremely personal, you can leverage them to offer learning experiences that are highly relevant and Personalized for the learners.

As a result, the value that Personalized training brings in for the L&D teams is as follows:

  1. More engaged learners are more committed to invest time on the training.
  2. As the Personalized training maps closely to the learners’ proficiency, interest, or aspirations (in contrast to generic training), it will demonstrate a higher recall, retention, and application on the job. As a result, you will have a significantly better ROI on this training spend.
  3. Personalized training delivered as mLearning can help L&D teams drive employee performance.
  4. It is a great way to retain the talent and help them grow.
  5. In contrast to a generic training, it helps you align employees more effectively and in lesser time to the learning, business, and organizational goals.

What Are the Benefits for Learners as You Wrap mLearning into a Personalized Training Experience?

My personal assessment is that over next 2-3 years, “Personalized mLearning” would be the new normal and will be the dominant mode for online training delivery. Here are the top 5 gains it offers to the learners:

  1. Provides access to relevant content to learners that is customized to meet their learning and professional goals.
  2. Puts learners in control of the learning process.
  3. Offers greater learner engagement opportunities.
  4. Enables learners to access training on the go and switch across learning devices – from smartphone to tablet and then to laptop – and continue learning depending on where they are (subway, airport, cafeteria, home).
  5. Empowers learners to create their own customized learning journeys that map better to their career aspirations.

What Tips Can You Use to Personalize Your Employee Training Program with mLearning?

You can offer Personalized training in an mLearning format to meet varied employee training needs, notably:

  1. At the moment of need (just-in-time learning aids or Performance Support intervention).
  2. To practice and hone skills to manage the current job better.
  3. Developing specific skills that align to the business goals.
  4. New skills or skills to grow in the organization.
  5. Leadership skills.

Looking at the degree of customization or Personalization you want to offer, you can pick from one of the following 4 levels:

  1. You can offer basic customized features – options of various themes or backgrounds or even fonts.
  2. You can also have Avatar-based selection wherein the learner can choose a given persona and this creates a unique, customized learning experience.
  3. You can provide the same information in different formats and the learner can select the one that works best (for instance, an infographic instead of a video).
  4. You can offer a customization of the complete learning path too. This can be done on the basis of role, proficiency (pre-assessment), and interest (survey).

Here are 10 tips that you can use to offer Personalized training in an mLearning format:

  1. Create Personalized Learning plans: Build individual training goals, offer learners options to choose lessons from an online training catalogue, and use a platform that supports Personalized Learning paths.
  2. Offer variety in learning content: Some learn via text-based content, others like graphs and diagrams, and some excel at audio learning – create a variety of learning content to suit individual learning styles or preferences.
  3. Leverage Mobile Apps for learning: Use responsive design authoring tools to leverage unique features of mobile operating systems and devices. Leverage techniques like Apps for learning that help you offer a highly Personalized Learning path. The Personalized Learning path can be configured based on:
    • Role.
    • Region/Language.
    • Proficiency – through Pre-assessment.
    • Learner interests – through Surveys.
  4. Get personal: Use the learner’s name; use gender-specific voices or learning scenarios unique to the learner.
  5. Be brief: A key highlight of mLearning is that learners indulge in it when it’s convenient for them – which typically isn’t a matter of hours on end.
  6. Be light: Leverage Microlearning techniques and keep it “bite-sized.” Go easy on the heavy graphics and videos – be cognizant of download time and bandwidth requirements.
  7. Offer multiple self-assessments: Give employees the ability to assess their course readiness and progress themselves, including beginning of course, mid-course, and end of course evals.
  8. Opt for engaging formats: Pick the formats that learners love and use on mobile devices – for instance, Videos or Interactive Videos.
  9. Offer just-in-time learning aids/job aids: Provide Quick Reference Guides, Ready Reckoners, Cheat Sheets, Learning Summaries, Tips, Shortcuts, and so on in engaging visual formats (like Infographics, Interactive pdfs, and so on). These will help learners exactly at the moment of their need and they are easily available within their workflow.
  10. Use techniques that provide experiential training: Offer a combination of Microlearning trainings for learning and blend them with Case Studies, Scenario Based Learning, Interactive stores, Complex Simulations for critical thinking and decision making to facilitate practice, application, and analysis. Give the control to the learners on assets they wish to consume to supplement Formal Training.

I hope this article provides insights and tips you can use to offer Personalized training in the mLearning format in your organization to successfully meet the changing expectations of learners.

Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.


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