By Joy Church Millard, Sr. Editor, Expertus
Personalization. Some people think of it as a hot trend in Millennial marketing. But who doesn’t want to feel unique? Personalized service is really just smart business. Companies that cater to individual needs are rewarded with customer loyalty. And more loyalty means more revenues.
This is especially true in digital environments, as research shows:
- 74% of online shoppers get frustrated when content and promotions don’t seem relevant
- 75% like personalization because it helps them find what they want
- 56% say they’re more likely to buy from sites with good personalization
- 40% actually buy more from sites with intelligent personalization
Case In Point
Recently, I felt the charm of personalization in my own life. I’m physically active, and I’m a fan of workout clothing from Lululemon and Athleta. But I signed-up for Fablectics — a new women’s fitness apparel company co-founded by Kate Hudson — without even seeing their designs up close. Why? Because they offered me a simple and highly personalized shopping experience.
To get started, I completed a brief profile of my preferences and interests. Over time, they’ll combine that information with data about my behavior when I visit their site. Each month they send me a link to a selection of outfits customized by style, color and size. And in just minutes, I can find and buy an outfit that is perfect for me. It’s smart, quick, easy and effective.
Learning Technology Gets Personal
No wonder innovative LMS companies are moving in this direction! Training organizations are beginning to realize how much more engaging learning experiences are when they’re designed and delivered with the same kind of individualized appeal we expect from popular e-commerce sites.
However, L&D faces a steep uphill climb. When Todd Tauber, VP of Learning Research at Bersin by Deloitte, recently asked learning leaders to identify obstacles to workplace learning “pull” the answers revealed serious personalization challenges:
- 64% say workers aren’t aware of what is available
- 58% say workers can’t find what they want when they need it
- 29% say learning isn’t engaging enough
- 29% say learning isn’t relevant enough.
But just as Fabletics hooked me with its “virtual concierge” sportswear shopping service, your organization can engage target audiences with a compelling, learning experience. How can LMS innovation help?
5 Keys to a Personalized Learning Experience
Some LMS platforms offer endless UI customization options, while others are based on a one-size-fits-all environment. We’ve found that most organizations prefer a hybrid approach — balancing the need for a personalized, adaptable user experience with the need for core LMS functionality that is very stable, robust and painless to upgrade. Here are five ways intelligent LMS personalization fosters user adoption and supports learning objectives:
1) Configurable Branding: First impressions are lasting — it’s imperative for any digital destination to help people feel comfortable from the moment they arrive. Visuals play a vital role in supporting this goal. The more familiar your learning environment looks, the more readily people will “connect” with its content. Therefore, you should be able to customize visual design elements, so they’re consistent with your organization’s brand standards. For example, consider how easy it is to:
– Adjust the color palette and fonts,
– Create and edit sitewide style standards through CSS,
– Insert custom icons,
– Turn visual widgets on/off, and
– Replace logos system-wide.
2) Localization: In today’s global, on-the-go business environment, an LMS that respects geographic distinctions is essential to help users feel comfortable. Yet, too often, this capability is overlooked. Ideally, systems should let users choose/change their preferred language (so catalogs, content and notifications are automatically adjusted) and location (so time, date and regional contacts are also instantly adjusted).
3) Permissions: Filtered access can be a powerful way to focus user attention on relevant learning information and activities. An LMS should make it easy to create multiple learner “roles.” For each role, the LMS administrator assigns permission to interact with appropriate combinations of content and functionality (such as discussion groups and social tools). This ensures faster time-to-learning, while minimizing user confusion and frustration.
4) Profile-Based Content: This is the learning equivalent of my customer experience with Fablectics. An LMS draws intelligence from user profiles to push learning content and promotional communications that are highly relevant to each individual’s training needs and development goals. You can even take this capability a step further by creating and managing learning groups based on common traits, such as job role and/or organizational unit. This kind of customization is driving a whole new level of creativity in corporate learning initiatives.
5) Multi-Portal Configuration: Recent innovation in LMS design makes it possible to create multiple URLs and learning portals from a single LMS instance — each displaying a unique, branded interface. This means you can dynamically deliver a custom learning experience for each of your lines of business, or various external customer organizations, or multiple partners — whatever combination you wish. The benefits are two-fold:
– You leverage your learning content investment more fully
– You simultaneously improve learning “pull.”
What Does Learning Personalization Look Like To You?
LMS innovation has opened the door for L&D leaders who want to embrace a marketing mindset and deliver more timely, relevant, useful learning. Of course, a customized interface is only one aspect of a compelling learning experience. But it has the power to make or break your development initiatives.
So, tell us, if these tools were in your hands today, how would you apply them to make learning more effective for your organization?
Editor’s Note: For a first-hand tour of personalization in action — or to discuss how next-gen LMS platforms help organizations transform learning, visit ExpertusONE online. Or contact us anytime to request a demo.