skillapath: learning paths to meet your business needs

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 ‘Digital Skills’ skillapath combines courses surrounding information and management, online communication and productivity to familiarise learners with the five crucial components of digital literacy.

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’. 

The first section of our ‘Future Proof Skills’ skillapath infographic – just one medium of many to get learners fully engaged with each course.

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. 

The layout for skilla’s ‘Interactive Induction’ learning path, which is separated into three stages of self-efficacy, teamwork, and personal values and resonsibility.

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.

The Power Of Multimedia Learning

The nine forms of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist and existential
The nine forms of intelligence – each one requires different stimulation to fully appreciate learning content.

Why use multimedia learning?

Typically when thinking about multimedia learning, most people tend to think about a course consisting of some text-based learning and perhaps an occasional video. However, true multimedia learning is a complex hybrid of multiple learning styles, aimed at giving the learner a well-rounded understanding over a given topic.

The way in which we understand intelligence and the process of learning is vastly different from the origins of the 20th Century IQ test. Kolb’s learning styles & Gardner’s multiple intelligences is recognition that there’s certainly more than one way of assessing intelligence, and that people learn in many different ways. The theory of multiple intelligences suggests that a ‘piece’ of learning needs to be presented in different ways and from different “angles” to reach everyone effectively. Sensory stimuli –  eg auditory or proprioception  – provided through multimedia components can enhance the emotional impact of the learning so that it is more memorable, especially when combined interactively with microlearning objects. 

Multiple intelligences

And that’s what we aim to achieve at skilla through multimedia learning – to provide learners with a coherent understanding of their given topic through a combination of concise visual, literary, tactile, or audio components, all designed to appeal to a wide range of learning styles, whilst also helping learners on their journey, by providing a comprehensive learning experience. 

Howard Gardner makes the case that people have eight or nine intelligences (existential intelligence was added to the original eight), all of which are all stimulated in different ways. For full engagement and comprehension  – and most importantly retention – of a topic, then, most of these intelligences (if not all!) need stimulating: that’s why taking an approach that caters to all the intelligences is an inclusive way of deploying learning that can reach everybody equally.

Catering to the multiple intelligences gives the learner a sense of autonomy and ownership over their learning journey, which tends to translate to a higher degree of employee engagement when interacting with course content. For that reason, skilla courses are composed of 10 learning objects, each designed to present or reflect on the topic in a different way to the others. 

This approach supports the learner in viewing course content through different methods and lenses, bringing the subject matter to life, whilst also helping appeal to different sorts of learners. Furthermore, reviewing and engaging with bite-size microlearning at regular intervals, represented from different multimedia perspectives, is an effective way of overcoming “the curve of oblivion”, and ensuring that the key concepts are committed to memory.

An infographic explaining how to manage, design and measure engagement. It focuses on dedication, commitment, involvement, emotion, passion, trust, inspiration and stimulation
A multimedia format is crucial in today’s workplace for getting employees engaged in learning – keep hold of this image from our Exploring eLearning event to learn how to manage, design and measure that engagement!

Learning muscles

And that’s our aim with the skilla method at the core of our courses: not to only teach the topic in such a way that it sticks and creates enduring engagement with the concepts, but to also develop the learning muscles that give learners more autonomy, enabling empowerment, so they can make an active and adaptive contribution to making the business a learning organisation. 

Not everyone has the same innate desire to learn within their role, so for us it’s extremely important to create course material that gives a sense of learner agency to inspire the learner to want to learn, rather than merely engaging with learning material out of necessity.

Businesses across the globe are having to adapt at a rapid pace in order to keep up with current external pressures, such as the ongoing pandemic, as well as the already fast-paced and increasingly digital context, and the uncertainties and opportunities of the gig-economy. 

These changes in the way we work require staff to be more adaptable, more open to change and to cope with new job functions, requirements, procedures and qualifications. This sudden demand for much greater workforce agility is not just limited to national levels either: in many cases large organisations are having to rethink the way their teams work world-wide. 

A screenshot from a skilla learning course on multiple intelligences - a quiz asking which intelligence in used in different instances
The modern employee has be to able to adapt to the situation at hand – nurturing all their multiple intelligences will help them do just that, with each intelligence being exercised differently in day-to-day life.

In 2020, then, multimedia learning plays a vital role in ensuring employees are given the tools they need to succeed. Course content that appeals to different styles of learners, and gives a well-rounded overview of the topic increases the chance that the employee will apply the information learned within their workplace.

Learning Cards

Aside from ensuring the content is concìse, appealing and informative to the learner, it’s also important to keep in mind that the channels learners use will also ultimately influence how engaged they are with the learning at hand. skilla’s ‘Learning Cards’ is an illuminating example of how to cater to employees who live their lives through their mobile devices. 

‘Learning Cards’ are presented via an interactive mobile app/learning platform that delivers learning in micro-sized chunks – much like physical flashcards – and works wonders for getting people who prefer quick phone activities to understand and engage with key issues, and help them to retain what they learn. They can take courses in a way that appeals to them, completing courses on-the-go, or even on their breaks. 

Small changes to the learning cycle, such as adding mobile learning as an option and competition or gamified components, are another excellent way of encouraging learner agility, and instilling a sense of ownership over the learning journey.

Finally, it’s pertinent to note that it isn’t just learners who can directly benefit from multimedia learning: so can the wider L&D and HR community! skilla have been running Exploring eLearning for several years in Italy. Our aim is to conceptualise, and put into practice, innovative ways of delivering meaningful learning experiences, which has culminated in a TV studio-style learning show for L&D professionals, where we can present content in a rich variety of ways and via a diverse array of voices, including discussions and debates, presentations, and futures thinking by learning experts.

In fact, the Exploring eLearning has been so popular that we’re making it an international event! Starting in 2021, skilla will be launching an international edition of online Exploring eLearning, connecting minds and exchange practices in the fast-evolving L&D landscape – make sure you follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up-to-date with this event and all our latest news and views.

An artisan learning provider appears in the LPI’s Top 30

LPI title card - The top 30 highest performing learning providers

It may seem paradoxical but skilla is an artisan learning provider that provides global solutions, including for many well-known multinationals. With learning resources present in over 50 countries worldwide, skilla is committed to offering the best possible learning solutions to organisations: that’s what drives us to produce cutting edge resources and stimulating courses for every learner. It’s for that reason that it’s such an honour to be recognised by the Learning & Performance Institute (LPI) as one of the Top 30 Highest Performing Learning Providers.

The LPI is the body for global learning professionals and organisations: recognised expertise as a professional body in defining, guiding and tracking best practices in L&D makes it an authoritative source of continuous improvement in organisational learning for all. Being ranked in the LPI Top 30 is recognition that skilla “provide the highest quality of service and best user experience. They are trusted business partners, acting always in the best interest of their clients and, as such, fully endorsed by the Learning and Performance Institute.” 

Alongside our strong desire to keep developing all aspects of what we do – be it our courses, staff, or sales & marketing efforts – to help solve L&D problems and provide new opportunities, it is our distinctive methodology and tailored learning solutions that have helped us achieve this accolade, in only our second year of LPI accreditation….

Multimedia Training Courses

Everything we do to provide great learning experiences is backed up by years of research, both skilla initiated and skilla supported. Combined with our defining principles of a digital mindset and empowering learning agility, the respected theories of Kolb’s Experiential Learning Styles and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences underpin our methodology. As a result, each one of our hundreds of courses in the skillalibrary comprises up to ten concise learning objects each in a different format or media; over 3000 rich digital learning objects in total. 

Learners can take control of their own learning – a key aspect of skilla’s heutagogical method – by prioritising the objects that appeal to their strongest learning styles, and reflecting on their learning through the other learning objects and secondary learning styles, all in small doses and a very short space if time. Keeping the brain agile is essential for operational effectiveness and peak performance in the VUCA* world we are experiencing, and splitting up then revisiting learning in this way overcomes the risk of the curve of oblivion, as key messages are continually reinforced over time.

Learning Paths

In today’s learning environment, plain off-the-shelf content isn’t enough to achieve results in the workplace. Our clients, such as Santander, Fiat Chrysler, and Miki Travel, are seeing this on a global scale: training budgets are tightening, especially in the face of the current lockdown period, and a heightened focus on employee engagement due to remote working means organisations are having to rethink their L&D strategy, and as a result are tending not to buy bulk off-the-shelf courses. Instead, they need to analyse which resources work, in which form, and also how to optimise the resources they have.

That’s why we introduced Learning Paths: skilla’s offer of themed learning journeys that can be pre-packaged or co-designed as a bespoke solution to fit the varying needs of different organisations, without the demanding budget needed to produce new content from scratch. 

Our courses are designed to work as groups of courses in topic areas, so we collaborate with clients to co-design the learning experience that suits the individual client. Based on different themes, such as future-proof skills, leadership and diversity, and including quizzes to assess learning, Learning Paths offer a more coherent and effective way to absorb complex information: with different courses contextualising one another, within a systematically presented theme. 

Learning Cards

Usually the fruit of longer-term collaboration with skilla clients, Learning Cards are our latest offering in developing, and staying at the forefront of, the workplace learning environment. 

As analysts Fosway have observed, “mobile learning is not a requirement for buyers, it’s a necessity!” (Report: 9 Grid Digital Learning, January 2020). And because people are increasingly reliant on their mobile phones, the effectiveness of mobile learning keeps increasing. 

Our Learning Cards combine the microlearning, self-learning principles of standard skilla courses with the technique of utilising flashcards, in the powerful yet flexible platform of an interactive mobile app, for dynamic and accessible learning, enriched by built-in assessment and gamification, which stimulates competition and leaderboards. Learning card solutions can be skilla content-driven, bespoke or (typically) a hybrid of the two.

Looking Forward

With skilla’s unique learning method and empowering learning solutions, we’ve demonstrated our ability to adapt our strategy to continually respond to evolving needs in the learning market, which goes a long way to explaining how skilla reached the Top 30 Learning Providers in only two years of being accredited by the LPI.

And we have no plans to slow down or rest on our laurels. By working with L&D good practice organisations such as the LPI, Fosway (we are a “solid performer” on the 2020 Digital Learning 9-Grid) and the Leadership Board, we’re continually evolving to match the shifting learning landscape, developing our programmes and courses to deliver the some of most engaging learning on offer.
If you’re interested in reading the full LPI Top 30 report, you can download that here. If you’d like to hear more from us and what we can do for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch: we look forward to hearing from you.

skilla: TOP 30 LEARNING PROVIDER

The leading authority on workplace learning, the Learning and Performance Institute has nominated skilla among the Top 30 Highest Performing Learning Providers in its latest international report.

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