Learning & Development

Leveraging Learning Pathways in Your L&D Program

In a previous post, we discussed the concept of learning pathways and sequential activities, often coming from multiple sources used to develop skills and behaviors. Learning pathways can be far more effective than a jumble of one-off training sessions due to the ability to create structure, organization, continuity, and escalating difficulty in the material within a learning pathway.

Learning pathways are also great for improving employee engagement and retention because they demonstrate an employer’s commitment to employees’ future.

In this post, we provide some information on how to leverage learning pathways within a learning and development (L&D) program.

Components of Learning Pathways

As explained by Emeritus, a learning pathway can contain a number of components, including the following:

  • A destination or goal
  • Milestones to mark progress
  • Multiple content modalities to support different learning styles
  • Assessments or feedback
  • Social learning
  • Mentorship or coaching opportunities
  • Opportunities to directly apply learning

Depending on the objective of the learning pathway and the resources available to the organization, not all of these components are required in a given learning pathway, although a destination or goal is obviously essential. Milestones to track progress are highly recommended, and most organizations would, of course, want to have opportunities to directly apply the learning. Additional elements may be included in a learning pathway framework to varying extents depending on the specific training program.

Generating Content

The framework of a learning pathway is like a skeleton, and the content (reading materials, instructional videos, expert lecturers, real-world experience, etc.) is what fleshes out the skeleton into a full-fledged learning pathway.

One of the biggest advantages of a learning pathway is that it allows training teams to pull together existing training material while maintaining the flexibility to customize the format and training objectives. Content might come from YouTube videos or free online courses from companies like Coursera or Khan Academy. Internal resources can provide mentorship and training, as well.

Learning pathways are a great way to add structure and progression to training activities. This moves training away from ad hoc, one-off sessions to cohesive training programs that allow for progression and greater retention.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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