Is a learning experience one size fits all? Explore the power of analytics to create a completely customized learning experience for each learner, as adapting to their skill level and paces with their learning leads to a more rewarding learning experience
- Have you ever created a great learning experience, perhaps a module for managers or an awesome course for employees and you get mixed reviews? Perhaps some of the participants rave about how great it was while others complain that it was too simple or boring. It can be really difficult to create learning that meets all the needs of all the people who will attend it. They each have different levels of skill, professional experience and attitudes toward learning. Well, adaptive learning solves this challenge. Adaptive learning solutions are tech based, and use the power of analytics to create a completely customized learning experience for each learner.
Adapting to their skill level and keeping pace with their learning. This means that if Kiana has more experience or learns quicker than her colleague Noah, the course will move faster and provide her with more advanced concepts sooner than it does for him. Adaptive learning can be used for all kinds of learning. And it's internal assessments can be set for different levels of achievement. What I love about it is that adaptive learning aligns with the neuroscience of how we learn and change behavior. Organizations like Hitachi Data Systems, Time Warner Cable and the National Safety Council are using adaptive learning.
As are school districts like, Palo Alto, California that partnered with Khan Academy to flip the classroom in powerful ways. There are several vendors that create adaptive learning solutions for organizations and industries, so explore your options. Adaptive learning is great because it meets individual learners at their starting skill level and then progresses on pace with each individual. They include features to practice in safe but life-like settings. For example, health-care workers can practice in realistic hospital room scenarios, analyzing data from machines and charts in the room, observing or interacting with the patient, and then offering the correct diagnosis.
What's even better is that these providers can not only track accuracy, but also confidence because one of the biggest dangers is people who are confident in their knowledge but actually wrong. And they push retrievals of information at the correct timing to not only reinforce learning but actually move it into long-term memory. Adaptive learning hits on some elements of gamification, which is another strategy you can use to enhance your positive culture of learning. Gamification is basically taking something that people should be doing and finding a fun way to accomplish the same thing.
Technology, and particularly smartphones and apps have made it easy to gamify just about anything, like buying coffee, losing weight, doing math and even walking. How many steps have you done today? Gamification works because our brains are wired for rewards. Our brain releases serotonin and dopamine which are feel good chemicals. When we achieve something, whether they're digital gold stars or physical stickers the brain responds better to rewards than punishments. It turns out that the carrot really is better than the stick.
In addition, rewards play an important role in creating habits, which is the role of basal ganglia in the brain. Gamification is not just fun and games, although there's nothing wrong with that. It can also be used to harness the collective genius of groups of people. Gabe Zichermann, a thought leader in gamification shares a story about how games solved a medical puzzle. Scientists have been trying for decades to figure out a complicated protein structure. When it was turned into a game called FoldIt, it took only 10 days to solve because nearly 50,000 people played.
Their collective and focused efforts blew right through that long standing obstacle. Games naturally tap into our desire to improve, so we persist in a gaming environment in ways we don't when we hit real life obstacles. Many organizations are even building new relationships with customers through gaming so it can pay off in a multitude of ways. Karl Kapp is a thought leader on gamifying learning. He's written several books on the topic. I viewed a sales training he built that features zombies. Not only does it make the learning about typical sales strategies fun and funny, it also helps people think quickly on their feet.
Kapp makes important distinctions between games, simulations and gamification. Each which are best suited to solve certain learning challenges. I recommend watching his course on this platform and reading his books to learn how and when to best apply these solutions. I believe adaptive learning and gamification are powerful ways to develop all kinds of skills and abilities in your organization. So be sure to explore them as part of your learning strategy and culture.
- Establishing a growth mindset
- Integrating learning into your organization
- Empowering through knowledge sharing
- Overcoming obstacles
- Addressing opportunities
- Measuring success