What are learning pathways?

Learning pathways refer to the different routes a learner can take in their online education based on their experience and familiarity with the subject matter. They are key to engagement as the different systems (listed in this blog) can fast track users through the information they are already familiar with, ensuring they’re only working through content that is new to them.

Terminology check: Learning journeys and learning pathways can sometimes be used interchangeably. Learning journeys usually refer to the entire user experience and the flow of content they interact with; it’s more or a customer journey. 

Why do you need learning pathways?

We’ve already touched on a couple of reasons for why you need personalised learning pathways in your LMS. Depending on your content and the purpose of your LMS, you might want to use these pathways in different ways. But without a doubt, the main reasons for including learning pathways are to:

  • Keep users engaged with content at just the right difficulty level
  • Drip feed the right content at the right time
  • Present users with content based on their skill level
  • Help users achieve their learning goals more efficiently
  • Save yourself the time and hassle of personally assessing every user

How to create learning pathways in your LMS

Not all LMS (learning management systems) are created equally – especially here at Plume where we specialise in creating custom LMS for our clients. With that in mind, if you’ve opted for an off-the-shelf you might find that learning pathways can’t even be created, or if they can, require you to set up multiple email automations which can take hours to set up and duplicate.

YAWN – who has time for that?

With a custom system you can build in a variety of features to create personalised learning pathways to your users such as:

When it comes to designing and developing this functionality, we are focused on making these systems as easy to set up and duplicate as possible, handing over the hard work of assessing your learner’s ability and presenting them the right content at the right time.

Sign up assessments

There’s no better time to assess your users than at the moment they sign up to your LMS. It might be right after a purchase or part of the process of enrolling onto your course. Nonetheless this is the time when your users are excited and most engaged, so it’s important to take advantage of this by getting them to complete the assessment and present them with their personalised learning pathway compiled of multiple courses or modules from your system.

The sign up assessment is useful in cases where your users have access to multiple courses and therefore we suggest a set of goal and aspiration focused questions that use a Likert scale or fixed responses such as:

With the answers from this sign up assessment the system can suggest a group of courses or modules for your learner and suggest an order in which the user should work through them in order for them to get the most out of their experience with the LMS.

Pre-course assessment

Taking the sign up assessment one step further, you may want to introduce a pre-course assessment which is typically more suitable when your user has enrolled into a single course made of multiple modules and lessons. 

The pre-course assessment usually consists of questions assessing the users current abilities and knowledge in the subject matter. 

Example questions could be everything from assessing their own abilities, to actual questions about the subject matter. For example:

With the answers to your users pre-course assessment, AI in the LMS can tailor the modules presented to your user, skipping lessons and topics that they are clearly familiar with and hand-picking anything that they might need to refamiliarise themselves with or learn from scratch.

Branching pathways

Branching pathways are a great way to offer continuously optimised learning for your users based upon their performance in quizzes and assessments. Using the data from their test results, as well as other data from post course feedback and any goal based questionnaires, your LMS can suggest new courses. If a user performs poorly in their assessment it may even suggest courses, lessons or modules for that user to repeat as a means to refresh their familiarity with the topic.

Individual learning pathways

In some cases, using AI and machine learning – while handy – doesn’t give Instructors and Learning Managers the granular control that they need. If your LMS is B2B your client might have controlled access to the system where they can upload their own users and assign courses to them. That’s where the individual learning pathways come in handy. 

As a learning manager, choosing specific courses and assigning them to users in a specific order might be necessary to ensure compliance with accreditation bodies as well as internal training programs. By being able to create these manually, and duplicating them where necessary, you can create totally bespoke learning journeys for users. 

Learn more about pre-course assessments and sign up assessments here but if you’d like to speak to one of the team about implementing learning pathways into your system, please book in a time to chat with us here.