What are learning paths and how do they work?
For employees who need to continuously develop their skill set, to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing business world, it’s not enough to be simply provided with a list of training courses, with no focus or structured approach as to how they should engage with them. Training needs to be responsive to the needs of the business, and be capable of enabling synergic learning among staff in response to specific business processes and needs.
skillapath is skilla’s answer to this requirement for structured, business-needs responsive learning. Typically comprising 14 to 21 of our multimedia learning courses, skillapath learning paths are tailored learning packages which take learners on a journey through a given topic.
Available both as a pre-packaged solution or a bespoke one, learning paths provide a structured, interactive learning route through a key topic such as Digital Skills or Induction via inter-related courses organised thematically, complemented with quizzes and infographics. The experience is particularly suitable for group or peer learning, combining the cognitive structured elements with the stimulation of the multimedia format to form a memorable social learning experience online.
The multimedia aspect is crucial for learning paths, as it is for the individual courses. Each path integrates multimedia learning objects with other components like assessment tests, infographics, an introductory video and a digital badge upon completion, resulting in the active engagement of the cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning domains, which enhances the impact, efficiency and effectiveness of the learning experience.
Bringing courses together under one theme
So how is it that a designed learning path makes learning so much more effective than simply working through individual course content? Firstly, skillapath learning paths are theme-based. That is, each course within a learning path is directly relevant to the overarching topic, and related to the other courses in the journey.
Take our ‘Future Proof Skills’ learning path, for instance. Each course within it directly helps to develop one’s transversal competencies, which are crucial skills for negotiating the changing landscape of business. These include adaptability/flexibility, collaborative problem solving, learning to learn and continuing to learn, digital skills and mindset, and resilience, to name a few. Every skillapath is constructed in this way: other paths include ‘Leadership’, ‘Digital Skills’, ‘People Management’, ‘Interactive Induction’, and ‘Performance Management’.
Make learning a coherent and memorable journey
Secondly, our learning paths are structured. As mentioned before, we use learning path-specific multimedia content, like infographics and quizzes, to bring structure, clarity and built-in assessment to each path, and make them more engaging and effective for your employees. The courses are also ordered and grouped in innovative ways to make them more memorable.
Our ‘Interactive Induction’ journey is structured as ‘stepping stones’ divided into three stages: self-efficacy; teamwork, personal values and responsibility. Starting with the awareness and development of one’s own effectiveness in the new working context, the learning path then extends this to teamworking skills and then finally to personal and shared responsibility in organisational value like to diversity. A logically sequenced interactive journey for integrating the individual into the new social working context.
Similarly our ‘Leadership’ learning path contains 3 groups of content that cumulatively orientate and develop managers and leaders towards optimal leadership: firstly, leadership of themselves; secondly, leadership of teams and finally leadership of the business. Both these learning paths share a clear key message: self-awareness together with self-efficacy is an essential foundation for effective collaboration in teams and within and across organisations.
skillapaths create a coherent journey for your staff to follow, where each stage in the journey builds on the previous one.
These structured thematic approaches are more effective than a mere list of courses, since when we follow a structure though a learning process, the repetition of certain similar steps commits the content to memory a lot more sustainably than learning different disconnected bits of content separately. You can see that particularly clearly when the structure is a visually distinctive one – our ‘Interactive Induction’ path’s stepping stones are very easy to visualise and refer back to, so learners can recall the ordered journey, remembering which skills are most relevant when.
You could compare using a learning path to going on a road trip through a vast country like the USA. If you just chose one landmark at random from a list and travelled there, and repeated that process until you visited each one, your trip would be totally chaotic, confusing and exhausting. You’d go from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty via San Francisco without rhyme or reason, and not fully appreciate any of them.
However, if you instead carried a travel guide with you, with suggested itineraries, information about each place, climate, equipment required and perhaps even how it relates to the previous location (e.g. history and development or demographics ), then your journey would be more engaging, more memorable and a more effective use of your time! And in your second road trip you would be able to apply this former knowledge, so would gain far more from the experience, and be able to immerse yourself in the culture to suit your own needs.
Design your own path around your business needs
Finally, a crucial aspect of skillapaths is that, in response to the business needs of the organisations we’re working with, we can create a learning path that suits their resultant learning and development objectives.
By selecting and combining relevant multimedia training courses, creating components like videos and quizzes to galvanise and assess, and even integrating client content into the microlearning format where this required, skilla’s eLearning experts can create memorable bespoke learning paths for any organisation, working with them to co-design the optimal learning solution.
In the coming months we will be launching a diagnostic tool for UK and international to enable you to identify the best skilla learning path solution for your current business needs and technological context. More pre-designed skillapaths will be made available in English in the coming year, though co-designed bespoke paths are also an effective way to meet your business needs with a tailor-made solution, especially in a climate of rapid change.
As an example, a UK client partner identified a strategic need to improve their workforce’s communication skills in order to encourage more effective and efficient collaboration between people and teams. We created a skillapath with them that weaved together training courses in selected communication and collaboration skills, with the other standard learning path components. Following a carefully prepared communication campaign and managers briefings, the client rolled out the bespoke path as part of a training plan that also included our Leadership learning path; both were well-received and deemed effective in addressing the needs identified.
Learning paths are essential strategic tools
As you’re probably starting to understand, learning paths can play a strategic role within businesses, to help employees become fully conversant with difficult topics or challenging processes. The current Covid-19-shaped work situation is a pertinent example of that: digital skills have never been so crucial. Giving your learners a structured way of developing and enhancing the transversal competencies and mindset required to optimise digital working or tools to support and guide the organisation’s digital transformation makes a lot of business sense.
Given how effective it has proved, we use our learning path approach widely – even when planning online events! Our Exploring eLearning event this year was designed around tackling four pillars of the learning organisation: Learning and Inclusion, Going Digital, the Future of Learning, and Connecting Minds. We wanted to engage learning and development professionals in a cohesive journey through the defining challenges of L&D, and to get them excited about how L&D will overcome these challenges in the year to come.
If you want to find out more about skilla, skillapath, or any of our solutions, be sure to visit our website, or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter – we’ll keep you up to date with the latest thought-provoking and ground-breaking learning articles, in the context of our own learning journey.