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Skills repository: a must for setting up your own adaptive learning

Adaptive learning makes it possible to personalize training courses to adapt them to the needs and profiles of learners. How does this learning method work concretely and what possibilities does it offer to employees and companies? Focus on adaptive learning and the key role played by the skills repository in its implementation.



What is adaptive learning?


When and in what context did adaptive learning first appear? Zoom in on this approach, its foundations, and its efficiency.


Adaptive learning: definition


Adaptive learning was born in the late 2000s. It consists of adapting training courses according to the learners. This approach is based on the analysis of learning data such as training content and information related to the learner’s profile, using artificial intelligence algorithms. The analysis of this data allows to propose personalized training courses, and in this way, to improve their efficiency.


Today, most e-learning solutions offer customizable offerings. Learners can thus benefit from a tailor-made approach to meet their needs as closely as possible.


Adaptive learning: an effective method


Before it appeared in the corporate world, adaptive learning first emerged in the academic world. In its 2016 report “Learning To Adapt 2.0: The Evolution Of Adaptive Learning In Higher Education” Tyton Partners delivers some very interesting figures that highlight the effectiveness of adaptive learning.


The report notes that Arizona State University was a pioneer in the application of adaptive learning. The results recorded at this university were significant: 18% more students passed a training module thanks to this learning method, compared to traditional training. Another telling figure is that the university recorded a 47% dropout rate.


In addition, adaptive learning offers significant time savings for learners. Indeed, another study, conducted at six universities, showed that students who took statistics courses using adaptive learning achieved the same results as students who took the same course in a classroom with a teacher, but in 25% less time.


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Two approaches: macro VS. micro


In macro adaptive learning, all learners follow a course based on a common knowledge base. The modules are the same, but everyone can learn at their own pace, according to their needs. This approach is particularly well suited to long courses, extending over several weeks or even months.


On the other hand, micro learning is more suited to short courses, lasting one or two days, and offering particularly individualized exercises.


In short, macro adaptive learning focuses on personalizing the training course, and micro adaptive learning on personalizing the training content.



The appropriation of adaptive learning in companies


Enriching training and personalizing employee training paths on a large scale: how does adaptive learning benefit companies?


Adaptive learning and its challenges for the company


Adaptive learning is a method that has many advantages for companies. It allows:


  • Automation of some aspects of training management


  • More relevant and effective trainings compared to traditional training plans that are generally defined generically, according to global business needs, or manually customized by managers.



The automation of adaptive learning


Adaptive learning appeared on the corporate training market several years ago now. Today, artificial intelligence (AI) makes it possible to offer personalized training in an automated way, thanks to the analysis of data present in:


  • Jobs and skills repositories. They allow companies to identify the skills that employees have and those they need or are looking to acquire.


  • Training catalogs. Digitized and structured, they provide better visibility on the training content provided and the skills associated with it.


  • Evaluation data. They allow organizations to know the level of mastery of each employee (self-evaluation, evaluation by the manager, etc.).



How does the skills repository enable the implementation of an adaptive learning approach within a company?


The personalized approach to training optimizes employees’ skills development. On a personal level, it allows employees to achieve their professional development objectives more effectively. From the company’s point of view, it enables a more accurate response to skills needs.


To implement an adaptive learning approach within an organization, it is necessary to adopt a skill-based approach. This consists of using skills as the key to reading the various HR processes. To this end, the skills repository is an essential tool.


→ Gaining global visibility and relevance


The skills repository allows companies to gain visibility on the skills available and those that might be lacking within the organization. Combined with the appropriate learning tools, this skill-based approach allows to offer only the relevant training content that is adapted to the needs and profiles of the employees. Companies thus optimize both their training costs and the time spent in training, thanks to truly appropriate content.


Filling skill gaps


The skill gap corresponds to the gap between companies’ skill needs and the skills their employees have at a given moment. Closing the skill gap of an employee thus consists of closing the gap between his or her current level and the level of skills expected in his or her position.


To diagnose this gap, two processes exist:


  • Peer evaluation. The level is evaluated from data possessed by the companies and collected by the managers through annual interviews, for example.


  • Self-assessment. The diagnosis is made by the employee himself


Adaptive learning enables the skill gap to be reduced thanks to a personalized training system. This tailor-made content offers the possibility of quickly bringing an employee up to speed on a specific position, with previously targeted skills. In this way, adaptive learning encourages internal transfers.



Customizing large-scale training paths


To personalize training paths on a large scale, an additional repository must be built: the training repository. Based on the skills repository, it allows to map which training allows to acquire which skills, and with which level of mastery.


The creation of such a tool allows companies to easily identify which training course trains for which skills. The training repository thus allows to match the training needs of employees, previously identified thanks to the organization’s skills repository, with this repository, and thus to optimize their skills development.


→ Boosting engagement during training


Thanks to its individualized approach, adaptive learning promotes employee engagement in their training project. Indeed, by offering each person a personalized training that takes into account his or her level, learning pace and personal objectives, the chances of motivating employees are greatly increased. Personalized training thus contributes to the development of employees and, as a result, generally helps to limit turnover.


Motivation and commitment are the keys to the success of a training project. Adaptive learning therefore seems to be a solution to accelerate and reinforce the commitment of employees in this respect.


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Illustration credits: istockphoto.com/fr/portfolio/nadia_bormotova