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What is a Learning Path?

What is a Learning Path?  Where does this fit with micro-learning & experience design?

There are a lot of assumptions in training & instructional design about what a Learning Path is. The most common one is as a generic alternative term for blended learning related to a job role. The other is to use it to describe a list of courses for people in particular job roles. Others are using the term to describe competency based training. Some platforms are using the term Learning Paths to describe a learning analytics feedback tool.

Most learning paths are developed without a clear methodology. This is ironic because the Learning Paths methodology is designed to remove variations in learning and performance.

The official definition of a Learning Path as per Steve Rosenbaum’s foundational text book, Learning Paths: Increase Profits by Reducing the Time It Takes Employees to Get Up-to-Speed is:

Learning Path = the total sequence of learning activities, including practice and experience, that leads to a desired level of proficiency in an entire job in the shortest possible time. The methodology for developing Learning Paths is a licensed methodology and there is Certification training program.

The significance of developing Learning Paths using the Learning Paths methodology, a proven global best practice, is that they get people up to speed 30-50% faster and deliver performance results as measurable improvements in KPI’s and successful employee performance. Learning Paths done properly result in significant cost savings and as much as 10-20x reduced training & development time. Other results are increased employee engagement and retention rates.

The reason we changed our name to Velocified was to emphasize this element of speeding up the performance process and the importance of developing a talent acceleration program.

The book is a very practical approach to the theory of Learning Paths and how they work. The project management methodology used to develop a Learning Path is a rapid development sprint and is specifically excluded from the book. The process is learned by participating in a first project with the help of a Certified Learning Paths Leader or attending a Certification training program.

Successful Learning Paths require the full collaboration and involvement of managers and the management process. The problem, when trainers try to implement their own adaptation of a Learning Path without learning the process, is that results fall short of what the methodology makes possible. Trainers tend to rely more on standard instructional design principles and past experience. They presume they know the process and use a banquet approach to fill in the rest. What’s missing is their exposure to an entirely different approach that incorporates an agile process, effective microlearning and experience design.

This difference is measurable in terms of lost opportunity in cost savings, company growth, capability enablement and talent attraction. We have developed a tool that calculates pre-project cost savings Learning Paths using the official methodology. These projects can introduce cost savings in the range of $100,000’s and even $M’s depending on the number of staff and their position. Post project results often introduce a multiplier effect through improved management processes and synergies.

The content of a Learning Path developed through this process is the true differentiator. This is what ultimately determines the measurable outcomes of success.

Like to learn more?  Watch the webinar replay of Talent Acceleration Strategies to Ramp Up Growth or get a free copy of the Guide to Talent Acceleration here.

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