From custom experiences to curated social feeds, the ability to make personalized adjustments to the things we see and do every day is a huge part of almost every aspect of our lives. We’ve come to expect it — and that expectation extends to crafting effective engagement strategies in eLearning as well.
All of the complexities involved in keeping a business running continue to rise, and learning and development plays an increasingly important role in managing them. The skills sets needed for most jobs have changed by around 25 percent since 2015, and with that number expected to double by 2027, 89 percent of L&D pros agree that proactively building employee skills for today and tomorrow will help navigate the evolving future of work.1
But a 2022 Gallup poll found that only 32 percent of employees are engaged at work.2 And if they’re already disengaged from their work, trying to get them to engage with — — important training content is going to be an upward battle.
Knowing that, it’s probably not so surprising to learn that recent research found that 93 percent of high-performing organizations have found that personalized learning improves learner engagement, supports employees in , and leads to much higher knowledge retention rates.3 That's not just good for learners. It's a game-changer for companies too.
And to deliver it properly, you need a solid learning management system (LMS) to back it up.
So, what is LMS personalization?
LMS personalization refers to the ability to tailor learning experiences to meet the unique needs, preferences, and learning styles of individual users. In contrast to more traditional, one-size-fits-all approaches, LMS personalization recognizes the diversity of learners and takes a learner-centric approach that aims to provide each of them with a customized learning journey. In today's world, personalization ensures that learners are not overwhelmed or bored by irrelevant ‘cookie-cutter’ content but are instead engaged by materials that resonate with their individual learning profiles and are relevant to their work.
Benefits of taking a learner-centric approach with your LMS
Increased learner engagement
- Personalization captivates learners by delivering content that aligns with their specific skills, interests, and goals. This tailored learner-centric approach fosters a sense of ownership over the learning process, transforming education into a more personalized and empowering experience.
Improved learning outcomes
- When learners receive content customized to their proficiency levels and learning styles, comprehension and retention rates soar. Personalization ensures that the material is presented in a manner that resonates with each learner, leading to enhanced overall learning outcomes.
Enhanced retention rates
- Personalized learning experiences create a more memorable and enjoyable journey for learners, reducing dropout rates and increasing the likelihood of long-term knowledge retention. Learners are more likely to stay committed to a course when they feel the content is specifically tailored to their needs.
- The ability to choose customized learning paths and engage with interactive content heightens learners' motivation. By providing a learning experience that aligns with their preferences, LMS personalization turns education into something.
Individualized skill development
- Customized learning paths also enable learners to focus on areas where they need improvement, fostering skill development at a personalized pace. This targeted approach allows learners to hone specific competencies crucial for their personal and professional growth.
Personalization strategies for improving the LMS user experience
1. Create customized learning paths based on learner's skills and goals
By tailoring learning paths to each employee's current skill level and career goals, an LMS provides a curriculum that addresses specific job-related competencies. This not only accelerates the learning process but also ensures that the acquired skills align with the employee's professional career path, benefiting both the individual and the organization.
2. Leverage adaptive learning techniques using AI and machine learning
Learning management systems make use of algorithms to analyze user data to dynamically adjust the learning experience in real-time. For instance, an AI-powered LMS can identify that a learner excels in visual learning but struggles with textual content. The system adapts by incorporating more visual aids, ensuring a personalized and effective learning experience that caters to individual strengths and preferences.
Using LMS data analytics for personalization
Whether you’re looking for finely tuned learning paths and tailored content or just want to see a boost in engagement, any personalized approach depends on data to guide it. By analyzing user interactions, preferences, and performance, LMS administrators can gain valuable insights to refine and optimize personalization strategies. For example, data analytics can identify patterns in learner behavior to help predict future preferences and adapt content accordingly, or analytics gain from progress tracking can be used to identify when learners show signs of struggling and signal for administrators to intervene.
Below are some examples of how different businesses might leverage data analytics in their LMS to achieve their specific goals, whether their learning is primarily for internal or external users, or a blend of both.
Boosting engagement for maximum impact
One area enterprise organizations often have challenges is around boosting the skills of their busy sales teams. To address this, they can leverage the advanced data analytics capabilities provided by an LMS platform, allowing administrators to track and analyze user behavior while they interact with it. By examining how individual sales representatives navigate through sales training modules, engage with product information, and respond to interactive assessments, the admins will be able to access valuable insights into their learning styles.
Armed with this better understanding of learner behavior, the administrators can tailor the content delivery methods and other LMS personalization strategies used, adjusting the presentation format to perfectly align with the preferences of each sales representative. With this data-driven approach the admins will be well equipped to ensure every sales rep gets a tailored and effective learning experience, ultimately enhancing engagement and maximizing the impact of the sales training program.
Supporting growth and improving retention
When organizations first implement their LMS, it’s often to meet compliance requirements or to build their employee onboarding program. But once they’ve achieved those goals, they move on to ways they can scale their LMS to cultivate opportunities for growth within their company. This is easily achieved by implementing a skills assessment within the LMS, allowing employees to showcase their strengths and aspirations. Harnessing the power of data analytics, administrators will be able to identify unique skills and potential areas for development can be quickly identified, allowing the LMS to tailor customized learning paths and tailored LMS content for each employee that align with their individual skills and career goals.
Within days of implementing this strategy, employees aspiring to leadership roles can begin receiving targeted content on strategic decision-making and leadership development, while those seeking growth in cross-collaboration skills will be able to find modules focusing on effective teamwork and communication. This learner-centric approach to learning via an LMS will allow them to not only address current competency gaps but also improve retention rates and worker satisfaction, helping employees move toward roles that match their aspirations and fostering a culture of continuous learning and professional advancement within the company.
Improving the effectiveness of partner training
Organizations don’t just leverage their LMS platform for internal learning and development, they also use it as part of their extended enterprise training strategy to . The issue is that some of those partners have decades of knowledge around their products and industry, while others are just starting out. This means that the training content will need to be adapted to a wide spectrum of skill levels to ensure that advanced learners wouldn’t be bored, and less proficient learners wouldn’t feel overwhelmed. To achieve this, they deploy data analytics within their LMS to measure individual proficiency levels across various topics or skills.
Armed with these insights, their LMS is able to dynamically adjust learning paths to cater to the needs of their partners. Those identified as being less proficient with the material can be helped along with more foundational content in the specific skill areas they required, while more advanced learners will receive more complex and specialized modules that will allow them to improve their skills further. By enabling this level of adaptive learning in their LMS, they can ensure that each partner, regardless of their starting point, will be able to gain maximum value from their training.
Challenges in implementing personalization
- Data security and privacy concerns: Collecting and using learner data for personalization must be approached with caution to ensure compliance with data protection regulations. Institutions and organizations must prioritize the security and privacy of user data to build trust among learners.
- Content standardization: Striking a balance between custom LMS content and maintaining standardized curriculum elements can be challenging. Institutions must carefully curate content to avoid the dilution of educational standards while still allowing for enough LMS personalization to keep learners engaged.
- User resistance: Some learners may resist personalization, feeling overwhelmed by choices or skeptical about the effectiveness of customized learning paths or adaptive learning in the LMS. Effective communication and support are essential to overcome such resistance, emphasizing the benefits and positive impact of LMS personalization.
- Implementation costs: Developing and implementing advanced personalization features can incur additional costs. Institutions and organizations need to weigh the benefits against the investment and explore cost-effective solutions to ensure the sustainability of improvements to the LMS user experience through personalized learning initiatives.
- Technical challenges: Integrating AI and machine learning for LMS personalization into existing infrastructure can pose technical challenges. Institutions and organizations need robust technical support to ensure a seamless implementation that enhances the user experience rather than causing disruptions.
Future of personalization in LMS
As the demand for increasingly personalized experiences continues to rise, the future of learning and development holds some exciting possibilities for exploring new engagement strategies in eLearning. Three predictions stand out, indicating the direction in which personalized learning is headed:
Integration of emerging technologies
- The interplay between personalization and emerging technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), will likely redefine the learning experience. The immersive and interactive content in LMS platforms today already play a huge role in effective personalized training programs, but as these technologies evolve they could become even more integral to personalized learning paths, offering learners a richer and more engaging educational experience.
Predictive analytics for hyper-personalization
- Advanced predictive analytics provided by rapidly developing AI and machine learning technologies will enable LMS to anticipate learner preferences, adjust content in real-time, and provide hyper-personalized adaptive learning experiences. This level of personalization will maximize engagement and effectiveness, creating a learning environment that is uniquely tailored to each individual.
Personalization that extends beyond course training
- As many businesses have come to realize, personalization that considers not only the goals they’ve set for their own organization, but also the aspirations of their workers, can deliver some significant benefits. As businesses focus on supporting their employees in reaching their own professional goals, LMS personalization will play a pivotal role in facilitating customized career development plans, mentorship programs, and continuous learning experiences tailored to individual growth. This approach to personalization will empower learners to navigate their career paths with personalized guidance and support, making for a more satisfied and engaged workforce all around.
LMS personalization: elevating both learners and organizations
Whether you look at social media feeds or training programs, the ability to provide finely-tuned and personal experiences is more than a way to get better engagement — it’s a transformative force that’s reshaping industries from the ground up. By tailoring learning experiences to individual needs, preferences, and goals, LMS personalization ensures not only elevated learner engagement and a better user experience, but also boosts learning outcomes, retention rates, customer satisfaction, and more.
Whether you're an educator shaping minds, a business investing in employee development, or an LMS administrator navigating the digital frontier, the importance of personalization and custom LMS content cannot be overstated.
So, as we look to the future, it’s time to create educational journeys that stick, boost engagement, and drive success for both learners and organizations alike. Because in the evolving landscape of online learning, LMS personalization isn't just a feature — it's the key to unlocking a world of meaningful impact.
For more information on how Absorb’s suite of LMS tools and capabilities can support your organization’s journey towards personalized learning experiences, schedule a demo today.