Personalisation is the key wish for L&D in 2019
It is that time of the (new) year again. Lists. Lists as summaries of the previous year but also lists of what we hope to get in the year ahead of us. Because that is what a lot of the trend lists are: wishful thinking. A trend is defined as “a general direction in which something is developing or changing.” Trend lists are often more an expression of things we wish to see than actual trends.
If you compare the HR and L&D trends for 2018 with the ones for 2019, you will find there is actually not that much difference. Which, in our view, is a good thing. HR and L&D need a longer term approach than just one year so it would be counterproductive to have different trends each year.
Personalisation of L&D
In our field, Learning & Development, it is all about the employee experience. A strong focus on personalisation and on the individual is a prerequisite for a successful Learning & Development programme. However, we do not see an improvement of the employee experience. On the contrary, the employee experience is eroding, according to a recent article by the HR Trend Institute.
The key elements of this erosion of the employee experience are:
- The employee experience is too much of a top-down approach
- All employees are expected to travel the same, one-way road
- Overdesign of the employee experience, leading to the mollycoddling of employees
We do not witness much of an individual employee experience when it comes to learning and development. Smaller organisations find it complex and complicated. They tend to manage it, if at all, in a reactive way. Larger organisations invest in L&D/LMS systems that are “intelligent”. This intelligence focuses on the learning path: “others who have studied A, have also studied B”, or “you have studied A, we now recommend you to study B.”
This could be classified as “intelligent” indeed but the key question is: do you need it to provide the employee with a meaningful experience? Does it enhance the competences and capabilities of an employee so (s)he is more productive? Isn’t this the responsibility of the employee together with her/his coach, mentor or manager? To decide where the blanks are in an employee’s skill set and determine the learning journey?
The issues with training
We are all different but somehow we end up getting the same trainings. The first half of the training is a feast of recognition and a confirmation of what you already knew. It could be interesting to hear it once more and receive this confirmation, but will it improve your skills? It is often only in the later parts of the one-size-fits-all trainings that you start learning something new. Not the best way to spend your limited time.
A second problem with training is that we forget quickly. We forget 30% of what we have just learned in the first 10 minutes. After one week, 90% will be gone. If you do not repeat the learning. As a result, repetition, or the so-called “spacing effect”, should be an integral part of your L&D programme if you want your employees to have a meaningful learning experience.
To provide employees with a meaningful and effective learning & development programme, their individual experience, existing knowledge and functional viewpoint should become part of their training. This is the intelligence that should be built into each training. Only then will a person start learning almost instantly. In addition, the spacing effect should be an integral part of any training. Last but not least, the employee should be able to choose when to do which training, in which blocks of time, in what learning style and on which device.
When this is combined with a regular evaluation of the employee’s learning journey together with her/his mentor, coach or manager, an engaging and compelling learning experience is guaranteed.