Brandon Hall Group research has consistently shown that personalizing learning experiences has a huge impact on outcomes like learner engagement, knowledge retention, and both individual and organizational performance. And while personalization seems like an obvious and somewhat simple strategy for an audience of 100 learners, what about an audience of 100,000?

That’s the challenge that was facing IBM Consulting when it came to upskilling their network of over 100,000 consultants. Brandon Hall Group research shows that when bringing personalization to a large-scale enterprise, organizations face several kinds of challenges, the top being:

  1. Managers do not play a large enough role in learning
  2. The learning culture is built on event-based learning
  3. The right technology ecosystem is not in place
  4. There is a lack of understanding of neuroscience or neurocognitive learning principles
  5. The L&D team believes believe it would be too difficult to administer and maintain

The main focus of the Consulting Academy is building core consulting skills. The goal was to scale a new approach to the curriculum without incurring prohibitive costs and time constraints. One of the key strategies that helped IBM consulting solve its scale challenges was the inclusion of adaptive learning immersive simulations.

These core consulting skills require demonstrated mastery, which means a personalized approach and the ability to practice. The adaptive simulations that IBM Consulting developed in partnership with ETU are designed to help each learner progress through their skill development at a pace that matches their needs. This adaptive approach is what helps scale the program. A traditional, one-size-fits-all approach means that significant portions of the learning audience will either be left behind or feel held back by the curriculum. There is also very little opportunity to effectively practice skills and get the appropriate feedback in this environment.

To learn more about how IBM Consulting leveraged ETU’s simulations to scale personalized learning, you can download this episode of the Excellence at Work Podcast. In the episode, Brandon Hall Group’s COO Rachel Cooke talks with Kelly McCrory-Lynch, Learning Strategist and Core Consulting Global Lead for IBM Consulting, Learning & Knowledge, and Thomas Lewis, Director of Learning Solutions at ETU. They discuss the challenges inherent in upskilling a large audience and how adaptive simulations can help drive personalization and results.

David Wentworth

David Wentworth has been a senior research analyst in the human capital field since 2005 and joined the Brandon Hall Group in 2013. He has authored reports and articles on various human capital subjects with an emphasis on workforce technology. He has contributed to several reports published by ASTD, including authoring Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations, and Instructional Systems Design Today and in the Future. His work has also appeared in Compensation & Benefits Review and T+D Magazine.