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It’s Time for Adaptive Learning Technology in Workplace Training

by Byrne Anderson
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Mention workplace training in the office and watch what happens. Your coworkers will roll their eyes and sigh. Perhaps a few jokes will be passed back and forth. Why? Because we all know that, in many cases, workplace training doesn’t tend to produce actionable results. Its main purpose is optics, especially with compliance training.

What is the point of offering workplace training if its only benefit is being able to issue certificates and claim ISO compliance? There is no point, and yet that does not stop companies from implementing one training program after another. It’s time to stop the merry-go-round. It is time for adaptive learning technology in the workplace training environment.

A Different Way to Learn

Also known as adaptive training, adaptive learning is a different way to learn. It is different in the sense that workers are not expected to merely memorize and regurgitate information. It is different in the way lessons are taught and proficiency is evaluated. Workers who complete a legitimate adaptive learning course come away with knowledge and skills that can be put to use.

Adaptive learning is centered around the basic premise that people learn better when they have autonomy and a level-appropriate pathway. If you put 50 people in a classroom and ‘teach’ them with three hours of slide decks, chances are that very few will come away having learned anything of any value. Maybe a small handful will, but most will not. Why? Because not everybody is capable of retaining information presented in slide decks or in the same time frame.

Give those same 50 people multiple pathways for learning and watch what happens. Give them the opportunity to be trained with a combination of videos, text, and practice tools, and you will see different results. Allow each one to design his own pathway and work at his own pace, and you’ll see the magic happen.

A Different Way to Evaluate

Adaptive learning technology doesn’t stop with the training component. It also includes different ways to evaluate students based on advanced analytics. We use analytics for just about everything; why not apply it to workplace training?

Fulcrum Labs is a Salt Lake City company with an innovative adaptive learning platform for businesses and educational institutions. Their platform includes advanced analytics powered by artificially intelligent algorithms. Platform tools allow instructors to track students, predict how they will do back in the workplace, and intervene before small problems become major issues.

In terms of evaluating individual mastery, the platform goes way beyond simple multiple-choice questions and a box to check on completion. Evaluations are presented in a wide variety of formats that force students to demonstrate proficiency in a topic. There is no memorization and regurgitation here.

Everyone Gets There

The final piece of the adaptive learning technology puzzle is encapsulated in a single word: results. Whether you call it adaptive learning or adaptive training, it is a method built on the goal of making sure everyone succeeds. Everyone who starts and completes a course will get there despite students progressing at their own pace and along different pathways.

The most important thing to remember is that how a worker learns and retains new information is less important than him actually doing it. So why waste time, effort, and resources on training programs that only achieve low competency rates, especially when adaptive learning is more likely to ensure that everyone gets there?

Workplace training has proved itself to be less than impressive over the years. It is not because workplace training is bad, but because we are using a format that has never worked well. It is time to change that. It is time for adaptive learning technology to make its way to workplace training.

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