Your Employees are Desperate for Differentiated Learning

• 4 min read
Differentiated Learning: Top priority for your Learning and Development Programs

Give employees engaging opportunities to grow.

As industries become more innovative, technology-driven, and personalized, enterprise learning strategies must adapt in ways that enable talent and their unique skill sets to contribute as much to the organization as possible.

Learning that is not tailored to different roles, generations and learning styles will guarantee learning environments rife with disengaged learners who don’t feel like they’re being developed effectively. Indeed, 76% of employees want more growth opportunities, according to eLearning Learning, noting that employee satisfaction grows relative to the level they connect with the training they receive. Drive talent towards training, and not away from it, with differentiated learning experiences that empower learners to feel that training is built specifically for them. Here’s why:

1. One Size Does Not Fit All

Let me ask you this: How often do you have someone say to you, “I just watched this new show on Netflix, and I think you’d really love it!”

They give you their pitch for why it’s a dream come true, all while you’re smiling, nodding, and feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude that you’ll never have to sit through what they’re describing. They’ve completely missed the mark for you and when you’re back home, you scroll right past that awful suggestion.

Successful industries monetize differentiated learning choices for this reason: the more enjoyable an experience is for each individual, the more likely they will come back for more.

Learning Management Systems (LMS), if treated as an experience, should treat learners as active consumers. People should be able to choose how they learn. If you want learners to continuously come back, they should be enticed and engaged by content that caters to their needs, interests, and skills – in the same ways advertisements, TV shows, and friend suggestions do elsewhere.

eLearning Learning concludes that only 12% of learners apply what they learn on the job, a major indicator that the majority of training programs drive low engagement and low retention, deterring learners and stagnating their professional development. Plain and simple: bored learners are not happy learners. Unhappy learners don’t want to continue learning.

2. Keep Them Off Crutches

The old saying goes, “give the person a fish, feed them for a day – teach the person to fish, feed them for a lifetime.” Every time one of your employees turns to their right and asks a quick question for clarification, it might alleviate immediate uncertainty. Over time though, it’s easy for an organization to house a handful of individuals who silo a large portion of knowledge based on their experience and skills. The majority usually then lean on those leaders for the answers to questions to feel comfortable in their roles.

The way to ensure that talent never stops growing is to first make them comfortable taking control of their own learning. By offering differentiated learning opportunities, you acknowledge that you have different learners. Similar to any other muscle, learning necessitates practice, routine, and self-sufficiency. Every person requires different workouts to build the part of themselves that needs the most attention and focus. You cannot develop your talent internally if they do not see opportunities to grow, so it’s necessary to give each individual the workouts they need to become the best professional version of themselves.

3. Your Learning Strategy Has a Shelf Life

The truth about learning in any industry is that it is cyclical. Return on Investment is reflective of the effort put into it. Organizations that are pioneers haven’t developed their programs by throwing content, quizzes, and PDF’s at a wall to see what sticks. They are as intentional and strategic about learning as they are in every other facet of their business, and in fact, understand the many ways learning’s value transfers to other areas of the organization, including the bottom line.

Driving a culture of new ideas, leaders, and skills is born from enabling learners with different vehicles to grow. As people continuously develop their abilities, your organization will slowly but surely build an arsenal of individuals ready to arm your organization’s leadership. According to eLearning Learning, 70% of employees say learning and development affects their willingness to stay or leave their current organization.

When you encourage and provide the tools for people to challenge how they’ve previously learned, they take ownership and autonomy over their own development and scale internally. No organization thrives off of talent that produces the exact same strategy and result for ten years. Proactively developing an organization requires learners to develop their own knowledge banks so they not only feel confident in their role, but also sustain an appetite to share that knowledge with their peers, which deepens learning’s benefit to the business further.

Do any of these implications of an outdated learning program feel familiar?

It might be time to start thinking about how you should be enabling your workforce to play a larger role in building the foundation for the future of your business. Check out our Quickstart Guide on Establishing a Culture of Continuous Learning.