Modern Training

4 BIG business problems you can solve with adaptive learning

Posted on: February 16, 2018Updated on: February 10, 2021By: JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

Every organization is unique—even if we’re in the same industry. We’re in different communities. We’re made up of different people. We have different priorities.

That said, the realities of modern business have introduced a new set of challenges that are often shared across companies and industries. Disruption is a constant. Agility is a requirement. Our employees’ ability to make the right decisions and constantly develop is a considerable differentiator.

As companies grow and roles become more complex, how do we enable our people to be the differentiators we need without radically increasing our training budgets? The answer: adaptive learning. In fact, an adaptive learning strategy can help you overcome 4 of the biggest challenges of the modern workplace.

Scaling your training

The perfect training strategy would be to provide every employee with a mentor who can personally help them with their development. But you can’t do that in an organization with 30,000 employees and only 30 people in the learning and development department. Adaptive learning helps you maximize your limited training resources by taking advantage of the immense data resources within your company. By pulling together data on what people know, what they’re doing on the job and what they are (or are not) achieving, adaptive learning technology can trigger the right training experiences and resources for every employee. Think of it like a personal digital mentor—at the scale of a global organization.

Boosting knowledge retention

It’s time for the big product release. You’ve put every employee through training for everything they need to know. Then, 6 months later, you come to realize that a large number of employees haven’t been applying what they learned. In fact, they don’t even remember it. That’s because every employee is unique. They come to the table with different experiences and capabilities. On top of that, they will likely apply the information from your product training at different times, which you often can’t predict. Some will have the chance to apply the training immediately. Some may not deal with the new product for weeks or months. These employees then forget what they learned, as people are prone to do.

Adaptive learning can make sure every employee is ready to handle any problem, regardless of when it arises. By continuously assessing an employee’s knowledge, adaptive technology can proactively find and close gaps, before the employee needs to use this knowledge. You can also use this knowledge data to identify the experts on your team and leverage them as coaches and mentors. Adaptive learning eliminates the forgetting curve—for good.

Improving employee engagement

How much time do you spend chasing employees down to make sure they complete their training before the due date? How successful are you at getting this done? Those responsible for training are constantly emailing managers with spreadsheets of names to ensure employees complete training that they don’t want to do. If the information is so important to the business, why is it so hard to get it done? Simple—employees don’t see value in one-size-fits-all training. If it won’t help them do their job any better, why waste the time?

Adaptive learning ensures a value-add training experience—every time. Employees will quickly come to realize that, because the technology adapts in real-time to their personal needs, spending a few extra minutes on training will directly help them do their jobs. And, when you do have to provide one-size-fits-all training due to regulatory or other considerations, employees will be more understanding because it’s an exception rather than the rule. Adaptive learning helps leaders keep their teams focused on improving the organization, instead of spending countless hours chasing them to check boxes.

Clarifying priorities

Employees often find themselves in the eye of a priority tornado. Their manager told them X was important. Another business unit leader sent an email saying Y was critical. And now training wants them to focus on Z. The employee is left to guess or becomes paralyzed with inaction. In a perfect world, the entire organization’s priorities would be aligned. But modern business isn’t a perfect world.

Adaptive learning calms the priority storm by introducing individual need into the equation. Rather than worrying about what everyone needs to know, organizations can leverage adaptive technology to make sure only the right information goes to the right people. Everything can still be important to every stakeholder. But, rather than getting buried by everyone else’s priorities, employees now have help focusing on what they need to be successful.

Adaptive learning is more than a training strategy. It’s an opportunity to use data and technology to overcome what were once insurmountable business challenges. In a world where online retailers sometimes know more about us than our best friends, it’s time to take advantage of modern tools to enable our employees and make talent a true competitive advantage.


JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect's Headshot

JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

JD Dillon became an expert on frontline training and enablement over two decades working in operations and talent development with dynamic organizations, including Disney, Kaplan and AMC. A respected author and speaker in the workplace learning community, JD also continues to apply his passion for helping frontline employees around the world do their best work every day in his role as Axonify's Chief Learning Architect.

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