How adaptive pathways make digital learning more elastic

By Nicholas Murphy

Close-up elastic band to illustrate making digital learning more elasticOne of the key challenges for digital learning design is creating solutions that meet the needs of all learners. Risk often drives decision-making when it comes to content: if we don’t know how much people already know, we create content that tries to teach everybody everything, regardless of their level of expertise. This is particularly true for any training that is driven by a regulatory or compliance motivation.

Challenging this approach has become a key driver for us at Lumesse in moving, with our clients, towards a more personalised, learner-centric dynamic.

Typically, courses teach and then test: it’s the foundation of most e-learning. But that model is founded on an assumption that the audience will have a low baseline of understanding. The reality, however, is that most learner populations will already know quite a bit about a given topic (even if some of that ‘knowledge’ comes from hearsay, myth or legend!).

One sure way of making the learner switch off is to make them sit through a lot of material they know already. So reversing the teach-test structure and running an initial diagnostic has been a principle in learning for some time. Test me first, teach me what I don’t know, and then test me again.

However, both of these approaches are limited. They work for content you need to remember, but much less well for behavioural competency, where we need to feed the subconscious to drive behavioural changes.

Increasingly, we are beginning to use adaptive learning paths to increase the effectiveness of digital learning. Here’s how it works.

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