Personalized Learning – the Future of Talent Development | Maher & Maher
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Personalized Learning – the Future of Talent Development

We’ve known it for years; we’ve experienced it personally. “One size fits all” is dead. In his essay Death to the Mass, Jeff Jarvis develops an argument he has been making for years. Treating the public as “a mass” is no longer appropriate or effective. Google allows us to organize the entire web to answer a specific question or find a product. We choose what news we want to see, what programs, movies, or sports we watch when, and who appears first and frequently in our Facebook timeline.

Put simply – if the “mass media” is moving to “me media”– we wonder why corporate training too often seems to be clinging to a “one size fits all” learning model?

What if we could transform corporate training the way Jeff Jarvis reimagines media: “Imagine instead if news were a service whose aim is to help people improve their lives and communities by connecting them not only to information, but also to each other, with a commercial model built on value over volume?”

Maher worked with our client (a leading communications firm) to develop a personalized learning model that effectively allows workers to train at their own pace, learning just the skills they needed, and sample a variety of learning resource formats they select for themselves.

Our client had a situation many companies face: as the company grew and realigned, it saw the need to change and merge several jobs into new positions. The workers who were being moved into these new positions came from various parts of the company, each bringing a unique set of skills and experience that overlapped to varying degrees with the new position descriptions.

Obviously, one size fits all training would be ineffective for this new team. Every worker needed a specialized development plan in order to get up to speed in his or her new role. Traditional training didn’t offer the flexibility to make this work, and the company had limited funding to develop new training.

So, Maher leveraged a solution driven by something we call a Quick Start Learning Planner. The online tool starts with an assessment developed in partnership with the client SMEs to define the skills needed for success in the given role(s). In our client’s case, they were merging three different job descriptions into a new hybrid role to support the organization’s new Center of Excellence operations model. Business stakeholders, Operations leadership and Talent Development managers carefully worked with Maher on the self-assessment tool to allow each worker to rate the areas he/she felt were strengths and those that needed improvement.

Workers receive an online individualized learning plan report, which is also emailed directly to the supervisor. The employee self-assessment builds awareness of skill gaps, and introduces accountability for their own professional development. Supervisor engagement allows for the review and approval of assessment results and development plan, and has the supervisor engaged to confirm results.

Learning content is carefully curated to allow workers to access a library of development resources including e-learning modules, books, online courses, videos, on-the-job training experiences and more. Workers meet frequently with managers, mentors, or peers to gauge progress, reinforce and practice concepts.

We believe that this method of personalized learning is the future of training. Workers hired from other industries may have some core competencies, but need very individualized training to get up to speed in the specifics of their new role. Existing workers can cross train to prepare for new jobs, promotions, or hybrid roles. And Top Performers can continue to advance their skills at their own pace in their own way, and adding value by providing peer-development by sharing their expertise.

Our clients who have invested in this kind of system see greater engagement during the learning process, and greater ownership of professional development by the workers. Because workers feel more in control of the process, they invest more in mastering and practicing the skills. They’re pleased to get just what they need when they need it. If you’re interested in learning more about how a Quick Start Learning Planner can revolutionize your professional development culture, contact Catherine Baker, Director Private Sector Practice and Chief Learning Officer at Maher & Maher at cbaker@mahernet.com or 732-918-8000.

Maher & Maher is a specialized change management and talent development consulting firm based in Neptune, NJ and in Washington, D.C. The Firm’s Private Sector Practice specializes in customized learning design and delivery for the Deathcare, Financial Services, Life Sciences, and Media & Communications industries, For more information about our services, visit us at www.mahernet.com or call us at 1-888-90-MAHER.

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