Before joining the team at HT2 Labs, Product Manager Emma Sephton managed the delivery of global education projects, with a key focus on continuing professional development.

Emma is passionate about offering experiences to learners that don’t confine them to one specific goal or interest; instead offering them the right resources and spaces to grow their potential.

We caught with Emma to hear her views on the importance and benefits of personalised learning, as well as how she’s helped implement it as a core approach here at HT2 Labs.

emma

What’s all the buzz about “personalised” learning?

“There’s a lot of noise currently about personalised learning, with lots of learning tools leaning towards the personalisation of content.

 

I think it’s important to not just think about personalised learning as a process for identifying and delivering appropriate content for the learner [this has been done for years] but, as a benefit to individuals wanting to grow in their roles and have the ability to choose from learning activities that are more suited to their individual goals and interests.

 

Most of the time, I think it’s things we’re probably doing already but, we just haven’t realised it yet. For example, every local Product Tank or UX Oxford meetup I attend is a learning experience – it’s just that, most of the learning implemented into the workplace focuses more on delivering content or courses, rather than experiences and activities.

 

This is embedded in compliance-based training but, for learning and development generally, specifically continued professional development, it’s important to harness these other areas.”

 

Why is it something people should care about?

“How you deliver learning is important and can affect how your employees engage with workplace learning and the effects this learning has.

 

With many platforms and thought leaders in our space talking about personalisation, it’s important to understand what it is and how it can be used to benefit your learning within your organisation.

 

This is something we explored in our recent MOOC. While personalisation has some huge advantages, you mustn’t forget other approaches to learning, such as social learning, and find a balance.

 

I recently read a very interesting education article that questioned the isolationist results of personalised learning, losing all the benefits of learning as groups and convergence.

 

When following new trends, it’s important we don’t lose sight of the learning outcomes we’re striving to achieve and taking the best approach, not just what’s in vogue.”

 

What is HT2 doing about personalisation?

“Following our pilot Personal Learning Hub, Red Panda, last year, we have carried out a lot of research, including user research to identify how best to implement personalisation into our offering.

 

We found that a blend of our social learning platform, Curatr, with a more personalised, self-directed learning approach, incorporating all types of learning activities [not only content but, meetings, conferences, projects etc] allowed a more holistic and powerful learning experience.

 

This means Curatr will be able to adapt to the needs of the platform, offering specific content needs alongside general staff engagement with learning, encouraging each individual’s development within the organisation.”

 

What impact does this have on learners and, eventually, their organisation?

“Following more of a learner-centred approach, this is likely to see more engagement with learners for example, by being able to set their overarching career aims [such as, achieving a promotion or changing roles], the learner connects what the organisations is offering in terms of learning and, how it identifies with their own professional aims.

 

This will allow organisations to show their staff that their individual learning and growth is important to them, hence why they have offered a space for them to do so and, more importantly, that they want them to grow within their organisation.”

Do you have any tips for organisations wanting to implement this?

“First, you need to consider your current learning environment. Does it include a lot of top-down courses? Do staff have the opportunity to openly learn and share? If your organisation offers mainly directed learning, you may need to consider more of a transition towards self-directed learning and how you might introduce this via, for example, a blended learning programme.

 

However, if you are lucky enough to have a lot of intrinsically motivated learners, you could dive right into offering self-directed options for learning for your staff, allow them to self-identify, plan and record their learning activities.

 

Consider also how you can bring learning into the flow of work rather than it being a separate thing with not enough time in the working day to complete it.

 

By recognising learning that is done as part of the day-to-day, you allow your staff to grow within your organisation, no matter the time restrictions.”

 

For more tips on how to implement a self-directed learning approach in your organisation, our Is Your Organisation Ready to Support Self-Directed Learning is what you need. If you’d like more information on self-directed learning and its varying learning techniques you can find more information on our blog.