What if there was an app where employees were able to customise their learning based on their goals? Christopher Schultz, Director, Group Learning & Organisation Development, DKSH, puts himself in the learner’s shoes for a personalised L&D strategy, in this exclusive with Priya Sunil.

Q As a learner, what would you look forward to in an organisation’s personalised learning system?

What I think most learners would appreciate is a learning interface like a fitness app. For example, I am using adidas Training by Runtastic. It asks me what my goals are, what my current level of fitness is, and then offers a range of customised workouts that guide me through each exercise. Afterwards, I rate how easy or difficult the workout was and how I feel. Based on my feedback, the app suggests different workouts to help me towards my goal. A similar interface, but for capability development, would be amazing!

Q What are the typical challenges in implementing such a system?

There are three challenges: budget is one, content is another – but the biggest challenge is having the right data to accurately assess employees’ capability gaps. To do this in a way that is accurate and works across all levels of the organisation, would be quite a feat.

Q One of the biggest things about personalised learning is that it may seem to be more expensive and time-consuming. Is this true, and if so, how do we tackle that?

“The perception of it being expensive and time-consuming is mostly about the creation of such a system. Once it is in place, it would be tremendously cost-effective and time-saving because it would deliver the tailored learning that was most useful.” 

Using Netflix as an analogy: if you just had to randomly sort through thousands of titles, you would waste a lot of time and likely not find something you really enjoyed watching. With the algorithms they have in place, you quickly find titles you will enjoy. Expensive to build, inexpensive to operate.

Q What is your advice to firms looking to implement a personalised learning system?

Whether it is a personalised learning system or any other learning and development intervention, the same question always applies: what problem, specifically, are you trying to fix? When you can clearly answer that question, you will be more likely to develop a useful solution.

Note: All responses shared by Christopher Schultz are in a generic context, and not in the context of the organisation he represents.


This article first appeared as part of a feature in the May-June 2020 e-mag edition of Human Resources, Singapore, and will appear in the upcoming Q2 2020 edition of Human Resources, Malaysia. Read the case study in the e-mag, or the full feature here. 

Photo / Provided by Christopher Schultz