We are all unique, especially adult learners who come from a range of backgrounds, work histories, life experiences, beliefs and so on. We all carry this conscious and unconscious soupy resume around in our neural networks, drawing from it when needed. It helps us survive and prosper. Adaptive learning or adaptive sequencing knows this. It knows we are all different.

Learning & Development Professionals are starting to understand the benefits of adaptive learning and how it enhances employee engagement and reduces internal training burden (that is – the bottom line!).

But what is Adaptive Learning?

Simply, adaptive learning is a methodology that shapes the learning path and the resources to an individual learner’s needs. Traditional learning involves plying all learners with the same information and content then carrying out an assessment to confirm understanding. It generally does not take into account individual learning styles or the knowledge they may already have from their respective histories. That is, a person may have picked up relevant `know-how’ from previous work experience, from their parents, previous study or from watching YouTube videos. It doesn’t matter where it came from.

Adaptive learning aims to tailor the individual learning journey by analysing the learner’s performance and inputs in real time triggering required content, delivery methodology and remedial actions. A simplified adaptive learning process is presented below.

Adaptive Learning Infographic
The adaptive learning process saves considerable time for the learner and as an employee, it shows that the company values and respects the individual. As a response, employee engagement will increase. In addition, the learning outcomes are achieved quicker therefore reducing downtime for the business. This will win favour with the `Bean-Counters’ and Front-Line Managers. Who are not always easy to please!

But what if we don’t have a supercomputer? You don’t need one.
Yes, it does sound like we are dipping our toes into machine learning and AI, however adaptive learning can be achieved with simple online learning tools. It comes down to clever but not necessarily complex instructional design.