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Eng-sing Soon of Acewood on adaptive learning

How to empower employees to learn at their own pace

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Learning that allows employees to learn at their own pace, and in their own learning style, is likely to be the next game-changer in this area, points out Eng-Sing Soon, COO and co-founder of Acewood Solutions.

In today’s highly competitive and evolving business climate, what you learned yesterday may become obsolete with the dawn of the next day.

Companies are finding that traditional one-size-fits-all training programmes are yielding minimum returns from their investments. The traditional, boring, less-tailored ways of learning are losing their appeal rapidly to a distracted workforce.

Adaptive learning offers a different approach to traditional training methods. Companies are realising that in this evolving digital era, adaptive learning will be a game-changer.

How adaptive learning works

Adaptive learning allows employees the opportunities to learn at their own pace, and in their own learning style. It is as if each employee has a private tutor in acquiring mission-critical knowledge and skills at work.

Adaptive learning has gained considerable traction over the past few years, with its origins deeply rooted in cognitive psychology, starting with the research of behaviorist B.F. Skinner in the 50s, followed by the next wave of artificial intelligence movement of late 70s.

Currently, technology previously limited to research laboratories are now being widely adopted by a variety of forward-thinking industries via online services that promote consumer sites like Amazon and Netflix to anticipate preferences, as well as progressive entities.

Adaptive learning is as if each employee has a private tutor in acquiring mission-critical knowledge and skills at work.

As a proven learning modality with a solid track record, it’s now being utilised in many different environments to teach, train and mentor more efficiently and effectively.

For instance, adaptive learning technology is being used by NASA for simulation training, safety models, and has been used in various branches of the U.S. military, including the Army Learning Concept 2015, that trains and educates soldiers for asymmetric warfare.

Adaptive learning is now becoming a true game-changer in the business world.

The most influential companies around the world, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo have all developed adaptive learning labs for enhanced and focused deep-learning strategies that will deliver an undeniable competitive edge in their respective industries.

Examples in practice

Companies like Google and Facebook have truly raised the levels of project learning through adaptive learning structures.

These companies have developed frameworks that allow employees to learn new skills and new industries at their own pace using effective learning strategies catered to their particular skill sets.

The most important point to consider is project-based performance and monitoring to ensure skills are in alignment with performance and results, not just based on illusions of an academic document.

After, all the most influential business folks of the past thirty years, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs did not graduate from college, but they did extremely well for college dropouts.

Technology previously limited to research laboratories are now being adopted by forward-thinking industries via online services, to anticipate consumer preferences.

Through the algorithms in most adaptive learning systems, employees are constantly learning and putting into application what is being learned in real-time.

Learning programmes can highlight areas of emphasis and improvement, which boosts employee morale. Some companies also adopt this as a strategy to increase employee engagement, such as embedding and integrating games in their learning systems.

Adaptive learning programmes that emulate games help employees see learning as something that is fun, not tedious.

Many firms and their learning specialists continue to struggle in achieving a higher level in Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Learning Evaluation model – reaction, learning, behaviour and results.

In a digital age when so many employees are used to using technology in every aspect of their lives, companies that leverage adaptive learning and gaming are seeing handsome payoffs in their quests for breakthroughs in corporate learning.

Achieving behavioural change and business results is now a step closer with adaptive learning.



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