This is What You Missed During Yesterday’s Personalized Learning #BBBChat

Yesterday afternoon, BlueBottleBiz held its second #BBBChat on Twitter. The topic? Personalized learning at work. We invited learning and development (L&D) pros and other professionals to the hour-long chat, and we weren’t disappointed. During that hour, attendees served up some interesting perspectives on the definition of personalized learning, how workplaces support this type of learning and more.

The complete list of yesterday’s discussion topics…

Q1: How do you define personalized learning in business?
Q2: How does your organization support personalized learning?
Q3: What topics are you/your employees most interested in learning about?
Q4: How do you/your employees prefer to learn? (Ex: video, audio, mobile devices, collaboratively, etc.)
Q5: Pivoting to mobile learning, how crucial is mobile learning support in the delivery of personalized learning?
Q6: Does your organization consider self-directed learning as personalized learning?

Yesterday’s Tweet Chat Promo

A synopsis of what you may have missed

The tweet chat kicked off with a topic we’ve been discussing at length this month: the definition of personalized learning. Of all the previously explored definitions, common themes emerged, including “learning what I need to learn, or what I want to learn, when I want.” This concept of learning at any time was mirrored by a few participants. Other key definitions included tailored learning, experiential learning and value-added, competency-based learning.

Shifting focus to how organizations support personalized learning, one Seattle-based business owner mentioned that a combination of competencies, goals, a plan and a coach is what she’s seen work in the past. An Arizona-based entrepreneur mentioned that his team is not restricted to specific learning mediums, modes or formats (i.e., open learning). Other organizations said they support personalization by providing resources (from many sources, publishers or authors) that deliver exactly what learners need. Personalized learning is also supported by providing both solo and collaborative learning environments, and by providing access to a “mentor” portal for one-on-one support.

When it comes to what employees are interested in learning about, not all concepts were business focused. One respondent mentioned she liked to learn about history — a broad concept. But it helps drive home the point that content libraries within an LMS or within modern learning platforms should provide a wide array of content that can help learners find the information that will not just help in business, but what will feed their curiosity. And, many history lessons can certainly be tied back to business best practices. Other topics of interest included learning about industry trends and forecasts, and exploring content that will help employees stay relevant as their specific fields evolve.

In terms of learning preferences, answers were across the board. Video learning (having the ability to stop and start) was a key preference, as well as mobile learning, podcasts/audio learning, experiential learning and collaborative learning. Quick access to resources was also noted as being important. No surprise there!

Pivoting to mobile learning and how crucial mobile is to providing personalized learning experiences, an interesting question was posed: “Is mobile learning a thing or an access tool with a smaller screen?” What do you think? Share in the comments below.

Others talked about mobile learning as a primary mode for the delivery of personalized learning, and that mobile is important because it meets employees where they are. Another interesting point: The focus should be on the outcome of mobile learning, not the mode for delivery.

In response to our final question about the relationship between self-directed learning and personalized learning, there was a bit of a debate. However, both respondents were viewing the question through different lenses. One learning designer talked about how self-directed learning is more about anytime learning; whereas personalized learning is more about the user and content preferences. In response, a full stack L&D professional mentioned that she isn’t sure there is “any purer form of #personalizedlearning than self-directed learning”. The first perspective is in the context of online coursework and the second, of corporate learning in general. What’s your take on self-directed learning and personalized learning? Are they synonymous?

Key takeaways

Following the conclusion of #BBBChat, it‘s clear that the definition of personalized learning really is unique to each individual. Some prefer learning in groups, some prefer learning by experience and others prefer learning via different content formats, like video or audio. The ways organizations deliver personalized learning are still developing, but the learning industry appears to be on the right path to making learning more about the experience and less of an item on the to do list (this conclusion isn’t just derived from yesterday’s chat, but based on articles and research).

From our perspective, it’s crucial that organizations analyze their content libraries to ensure they include content in multiple formats, including video (also available on mobile to meet learners where they are), that it’s published by experts (especially as the skeptical generation, Gen Z, enters the workforce), and that employees are able to collaborate with one another after consuming the content.

If you have additional commentary you’d like to add to yesterday’s discussion on personalized learning, let’s carry it over to Medium. Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear your perspectives.

Lastly, if you’re interested in participating in our next #BBBChat, head over to Twitter and follow @BlueBottleBiz for updates. All are welcome!