For any organization to thrive, it must create a robust learning culture at work. While there are always new and exciting learning programs for employees to develop their skillsets and grow professionally, what is even more important is for employers to know where they are headed with their learning.
This is where learning paths come into the picture.
Learning paths are a structured and step-by-step plan which serves as a detailed map of employees’ professional development. Apart from giving your employees a clear vision of how to develop the skills they need for their professional and personal growth, learning paths offer several other advantages too.
In this blog, we learn more about learning paths, including what they are, what their benefits are, and how to use these learning paths to create effective learning programs.
Importance of Engaging Learning Programs
Engaging learning programs created using learning paths are relevant today primarily because of their flexibility, accessibility, and effectiveness.
With the availability of a wide range of online learning courses these days, setting up engaging learning programs with learning paths provides organizations with an affordable and simple solution to effectively navigate the ever-evolving economic and technological landscape.
Some of the other ways engaging learning programs can make a difference in organizational set-ups include:
- Allow for a wider range of learning activities, especially for virtual teams
- Ideal for virtual or remote workers seeking to enhance their skills and knowledge
- Applicable to a wide range of different skills and are accessible to everyone with a working device
What are Learning Paths?
A learning path is essentially a collection of different courses that are put together to help learners master a particular course, topic, or program. Simply put, a learning path is a selection of different modules or courses linked in a defined structure for learners to progress and master a particular topic.
The main aim of designing a learning path is to give learners a clear and well-defined route through a training program. It breaks the overall course content into manageable small chunks, thus allowing learners to easily absorb information and smoothly navigate through each course.
Benefits of Learning Paths
Some of the key benefits of learning paths include:
Bite-sized learning or microlearning is a popular course structure as it focuses on imparting a lot of information in small, chunk-sized pieces. Building learning paths with small, bite-sized courses helps maintain learners’ attention for a long time while still allowing them to learn a topic or subject in-depth.
Unlike an individual or single course, a learning path fully engages the learner with different types of multimedia and allows them to immerse themselves in the topic completely. This, in turn, helps them tackle a subject from various angles with the help of multiple courses. For instance, if the objective is to make your employee learn conflict resolution, having a learning path in the form of several video examples, followed by a discussion, and then a quiz would be much more effective compared to a single course.
Enhanced long-term productivity
Learning paths equip your employees with a range of essential tools and information to help them make their work more streamlined and productive. It also allows you to understand and work out which skills will be important in the long run and provide the necessary training, thus saving a great deal of time, energy, and money for your business.
Puts employees in charge of their learning
Having to do the same work and being left in the same job position with no clear path and no prospects can make employees feel demotivated. Well-defined learning pathways are a great way to place your employees in control of their personal and professional learning goals.
How to Use Learning Paths to Create Learning Programs
In this section, we discuss how you can use learning paths to create engaging learning programs.
Define a clear learning goal
Achieving a learning goal becomes much easier once it has been firmly established. This is why learning paths need to include one clear objective along with a bundle of small, concise steps of how to reach it. Establishing a clear learning goal is an important part of developing successful learning programs using learning paths.
However, the objective here should be relevant to your specific business industry. The ideal way is to conduct thorough research on in-demand skills within your specific field to understand what your learning goal could be.
Allocate clear deliverables and milestones
One of the crucial elements of a successful learning path is designating the right deliverables and setting exact milestones to make them more effective. They should be used in a way that allows learners to know exactly what they are aiming for and how many steps it will require for them to get there.
Having clear deliverables, steps, and goals not only helps learners move forward but it also helps them find satisfaction during the process.
Identify different ways to motivate your employees
In an organizational setup, every individual has a different notion of what motivates them. For some, it could be status, whereas for others, it could very well be prizes and recognition.
Therefore, to create an effective learning program using learning paths, it makes sense to find out the ways in which your team is best motivated to help you set up a training system that best appeals to their personalities.
Use varied learning styles
When it comes to employee learning styles, they can vastly differ from person to person, which is why having one single approach to learning may either discourage some employees from being part of the training or exclude those with different learning styles.
Therefore, for a learning program to be effective, it is important to design a learning path that is flexible in its learning approach as it will involve a higher number of interested participants and will also create a much higher chance of success.
The best way to use a learning path here is to design one that is flexible in its approach, thus allowing participants to complete it either on their own or as a team so they can utilize the learning style that works best for them.
All in all, learning paths are simple yet effective tools for both educating and empowering your employees/learners for future success. Based on upskilling and reskilling—two of the most crucial elements businesses need to succeed in today’s competitive environment—learning paths are one of the best ways to secure this success.
The ultimate aim of using learning paths is to enhance engagement, take the confusion out of the education program, and make it easier for learners to acquire new knowledge.