We live in a world where we receive personalised and targeted interactions on a constant basis.

From Facebook personalising adverts and your activity feed based on the information you provide (sometimes with not overly positive outcomes), to Amazon also recommending your next purchase based on your buying history, also resulting in some interesting and surprising suggestions (I’ll leave it to your imagination what we were suggested when we bought “male and female” signs for our new office toilets..!)

But when it works, it’s bloody marvelous and useful. Take my personal favourites, Netflix and Spotify.

Both have vast amount of content available, and I can use search to whittle down to what I’m looking for, but that assumes I know what I’m looking for.

Netflix Recommendations

But both are also able to make personalised suggestions for content – which makes it much easier for me to quickly find something I want to watch or listen to.

And this isn’t all just based on technology, Spotify hire human curators to make their Playlists.

Spotify search

But what I’m really interested in is how this personalisation is moving into L&D, and specifically how technology, sometimes complemented by human curation, can be utilised to make learning more personalised.

Using Personalisation in L&D

To date, Learning and Development has predominantly had a focus on content; many roles within L&D focus on curating content, creating and sourcing relevant content for the purpose of a piece of learning or training.

This works well when you have a focus on more formal, directed learning. However, as budgets tighten and we look towards embracing more informal, self-directed learning, accepting that learning is achieved through practice and our day to day jobs, how do you find the appropriate content for your needs?

In an age where we have a mountain of information freely available on the internet (or sometimes for a fee), it can be a bit bewildering to understand what is the ‘right piece’ of content for what you need.  

From a more general internet search perspective, the likes of Google (and other search engines) continually work on improving their algorithms to improve the ‘fit’ of the content they return to users when they enter a search query; rather than attempting to return the pages that best match the input query (what you say), they instead try to answer the underlying question (what you mean).

Personalised Learning Platforms

In Learning, we’re hearing the term personalised learning increasingly becoming referenced as a trend of 2018, and a lot of platforms focus this in on presenting you with the exact content you need.

But is this all personalised learning can achieve? And are there any downsides to only being shown what an algorithm has decided is what you need?

Perhaps, as we’ve seen with some of the negative press about Facebook echo chambers etc, only being shown things you are aware of can make your bubble particularly small in a global age. Instead, maybe we should utilise personalisation to suggest things you could be looking at that might be useful.

Within various L&D events over the past 6 months, we’ve seen personalised learning being used to reference various uses, from a “platform greeting you by name”, to being “constructed a course just for you”.

It made us think that it’s not overly clear, the definition we’re being sold on when a learning experience is being described as “personalised”, with people bringing their own preconceptions to this term.

Demystifying Personalised Learning

And so, we’ve decided to explore this topic in our very own free MOOC: Demystifying Personalised Learning, starting on 19th February.

Following on from the Personalised Learning survey we put out at the end of last year, we’re going to explore what personalised learning means to you, the different categories often pulled under Personalised Learning, and where you can utilise it for more effective learning experiences.

Our survey has highlighted some interesting themes that we’ll be looking to explore further, and by the end of the course, you should have a better understanding of what really defines Personalised Learning, and how you can effectively take advantage and inspiration from existing tools to apply to your learning context.

Interested in understanding more about what Personalised Learning really means and how you can use it to enhance your learning experiences? Join our free Demystifying Personalised Learning course.