Emerging technologies and methods are reshaping traditional corporate learning. Most of these methods revolve around e-learning technologies, personalized education, and cloud-based learning. In particular, adaptive learning focuses on providing each learner with a personalized course that is tailored to their strengths and weaknesses and adapts in real-time to their performance and interest. Since the industrial revolution, learning has been structured around a lecture-based model where learners follow a curriculum prepared by one to three instructors. These models are meant to suit every learner and if one is unable to adapt to the course then they are often deemed unfit. Today, developing firms are shifting to adaptive learning models that adapt to the learner instead of the learner adapting to the course. In my brief, I will highlight the benefits of adaptive learning technologies and present cases of firms having success using these technologies. I will leverage the concepts that I have learned thus far to provide feedback on why adopting adaptive learning technologies may be beneficial to our firm.
Now that you have an idea of how adaptive learning works to provide every learner with a personalized learning experience, I will focus on adaptive learning in a corporate context and highlight what implications work best in this setting. Traditional corporate learning environments are structured around Learning Management Systems (LMS) that tend to focus on compliance and formal training only. Firms are not seeing the results that they once had through these traditional systems and they find that they are struggling to create an effective digital learning experience for the company. As a result, a marketplace of new tools has emerged that aim to “deliver adaptive, micro-learning content, and intelligent tools to help recommend content, assess learning, and practice and identify skill gaps” (Bersin, 2017). Employees are rather busy at work and any time taken away from the main scope of the company must be used effectively. That is why leaders like IBM and AWS are providing corporations with training materials that incorporate Artificial Intelligence into learning. These technologies recommend training based on your “job, experience, and prior learning” (Bersin, 2017). Based on your purpose to the company, technologies use “space learning” to prescribe small amounts of training whether your job be sales, safety, or even management. Incorporating these learning materials into everyday tasks on-demand will significantly boost learning effectiveness and cut the time that old methods would have taken using 2-3 hour courses that most employees find boring and ineffective. According to (Bersin, 2017), the corporate training market is over “$130 Billion” in size and is currently being disrupted by the developing adaptive learning technologies. Many leaders of industry like IBM and Sears have already converted their old learning methods into new infrastructure that looks more like “network and less like a single integrated platform” (Bersin 2017). Today, companies prioritize corporate learning. According to Deloitte Human Capital Trend’ research, reinventing new careers and learning has been prioritized to number two followed only by recognizing the company as a digital business. As automation continues to repurpose and change the pace of jobs, employees must be able to learn on-demand and on the fly. Equipped with the right resources from the right vendors, corporations have the ability to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with and ever-changing industry.
The best way to illustrate how adaptive learning technologies are redefining corporate learning is to provide an example. While these learning technologies are still developing, it is challenging to find specific examples of how integrating adaptive learning into business models has brought about success, however, with the help of Chaithanya Y. L., I will provide a hypothetical example of how adopting adaptive learning technologies can increase effectiveness of a business.
Amit, Elliot, and Gina are a part of the same team at a large software company. The team has been assigned a new data analytics project. The team has never worked on a project of this sort and everything is very new to them. The team manager gives them four weeks to learn as much as they can about Data Analytics. The team looks to their current LMS to see if they can find anything on the matter or if another team has worked on a similar project in the past. The team finds that the information is scattered into different platforms which they have limited to no access. They obtain some information from another team within the firm. They then look online for publicly available information and courses; however, they are overwhelmed by their search results, they chose one course that they feel might be the most useful. Lastly, they explore offline learning, and purchase a few books on data analytics that they will search for information. Their manager is unaware of the team’s progress and understanding of their learning. Initially, he encouraged the team to focus on one platform of learning, however, he is unaware of who is best in certain areas of the technology and who is learning the most. He quickly gives up on their approach and randomly assigns the members to different areas of the project. The team carries out the project ineffectively and after months of trial and error, the team finished the project very poorly.
Now, factor one adaptive learning solution into the situation and the process takes a different direction. The software giant has adopted one adaptive learning management solution that integrates information across all platforms and publicly available information. Amit, Elliot, and Gina probe the solution for relevant information regarding their data analytics project. Amit finds recommended learning from other teams and starts his learning without being in the dark about what he is looking for. Elliot searches and finds recommended publicly available resources and choses a course which is tailored to the project that they are working on. Lastly, Gina searches peer recommended books on the subject and is pointed to just one book on the matter at hand. As for the team manager, he is updated with the progress and understanding of the team’s learning. He can see who learns best from which platform and who doesn’t. He fully understands the team’s strengths and weaknesses both as a whole and on an individual level and can even recommend further learning to the team based on their strengths and weaknesses. The team executes the project flawlessly in a fraction of the time it took using the traditional LMS. As the team continues to work on projects using the newly integrated solution, their learning becomes increasable tailored to fit their learning need. The technology learns from their strengths and weaknesses and recommends learning material where needed.
Companies want their employees to work effectively. However, as we have learned in chapter 13, “there are a whole host of costs that are associated with creating and supporting an organization’s information systems” (Gallaugher, 2016). Just because a technology is implemented into a company doesn’t mean you can continue to operate hands-off. Learning management systems require time and attention by trained professionals who know the software inside-and-out as well as a solid understanding of the people using it. On the other hand, employees must take time out of their busy schedules to learn new topics to further boost effectiveness. Adaptive learning systems work as a whole. Just because it is considered a “smart technology doesn’t mean that it is going to hand-feed you the information it thinks you need. You must allow the solution to understand how and what you learn best. We are still in the early stages in the development of both the technology and pedagogy surrounding adaptive learning. The potential gains seem endless and the impact that adaptive learning solutions could have on the society are positively promising. Although adaptive learning does have naysayers, the access and availability of information today is a privilege that people have never had before. Harnessing and sharing that information is critical in bettering ourselves not just as people but as sustainable, successful businesses.