South Africa

Why we are getting increasingly more enquiries for customised and personalised learning?

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National Manager Learning Design
3 mins

In the last two years it seems to me as if clients are asking for more customised learning solutions and more tailored programmes. Could it be because everything is getting ‘change-ier?’

Constant change and rapid shifts has meant that businesses have to find more ways to be competitive, and one of the ways is through a skills advantage. Having a skilled workforce with a strong learning culture makes it easier to adapt and make quick pivots. It also helps to retain talent. 

Learning doesn’t stop when you get your matric certificate. It doesn’t end when you graduate from university. And it certainly doesn’t stop with the company induction programme or with the issuing of a course certificate. Learning doesn’t stop, period. 

If learning is a lifelong endeavour, then does it not make sense that it should be designed or built for the individual? Learning solutions tailored to the specific needs, wishes and learning styles of individuals deliver results. Many jobs, and skills along with them, are becoming obsolete. Add to this the fact that remote working is here to stay and personalised learning journeys become  even more important. 


The case for personalised learning

Customised learning is about offering individuals a more personal learning experience based on what we know about their environment, and individual learning preferences, experiences, and strengths. The expectation is that learner engagement will be enhanced and learning outcomes will be achieved with greater efficiency.  

Some of the main principles of customised learning include: 

  • Self-paced instruction
  • Flexible and/or learner managed pace
  • Learner-centred approach 
  • Collaborative content and approach to design and development ensuring learning experiences are directly linked to organisational goals and challenges
  • Co-creation of knowledge 
  • Adaptive to individual needs
  • Opportunity to plan own learning path


Why has customised learning become an increasing demand?

Companies like training content that is relevant to specific sectors or work environments so that maximum value is extracted from the training investment. They also like it when learners enjoy the learning experience because it means less administrative headaches.  

When learning is customised, we should be able to identify the most effective or optimum scenarios and target the company’s most pressing issues and strategic challenges. 

By the way, customised and/or personalised learning is not a new idea – it has been around for a while. What is different now are the technology advances enabling it at scale.

I believe more people are starting to see the benefits of customised and personalised learning, it just makes sense in our every-changing ecosystem. Some of the key benefits are:

  • Learners retaining content because the content connects with them and their individual needs, and that in turn means a higher return on investment.
  • Existing strengths are enhanced by activities customised to align with each student’s strengths, needs, and interests, but also address areas for development. 
  • Positive attitudes are encouraged by learning new skills and reaching new goals, this ultimately means learners are more likely to become lifelong learners.
  • Employees are more likely to achieve career goals and can even be fast tracked because better decision making is promoted. 


Customised learning is not without its challenges, it requires effort because poor planning and execution does not end well for learners or other stakeholders.  The process can be time consuming, mainly because various stakeholders – including management and employees – are often involved in an iterative development process. Also, it requires a maturity of attitude and self-regulation, because if the employee loses interest or procrastinates, it’s can be an enormous waste of resources. 

We live and work in a fast-evolving business environment and the need for businesses across industries to develop and deliver exciting and fruitful ways of learning is increasing every year. 

Rapid changes in today’s workplace call for fresh and dynamic approaches to learning to keep up with the skills required for business success. This is why businesses are demanding more blended and hybrid learning solutions, more bite-sized, timeous and relevant learning delivered in the flow of work, and also, learning that is customised and personalised.   

At PMI we love a good challenge, and we love collaborating to build relevant and engaging learning solutions.  We look forward to talking to you about customised and personalised learning solutions. Get in touch with us today!

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