People have been learning online since the 60s. They have been reading books and articles online, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and exchanging information in closed communities and public groups. Having said that, the idea of “Learning Paths” is fairly new. It started years after the birth of MOOCs and online courses.
What’s a Learning path?
Well, let me help you….
Imagine yourself at work now, you are a product manager with one year of experience. Your manager has walked into the room and assigned you a big project: building the new pricing model of the product! He has simply left that bomb ticking and completely disappeared.
Now you have a very critical mission to figure out the new pricing model of your product. Someone might be wondering here: What’s the problem? Well, the problem is that you don’t know anything about pricing models 😀 Easy, you need a guide to pricing models. You go to our beloved Google and type “Introduction to Pricing Models”.
Now, you have a ton of resources on pricing models and you don’t know which one to start with. You pick the first one and after a bit of reading, you figure out that it suits someone with a background in finance. You jump into the second one to find that it works for startups in the B2C space. You open the third one and after 10 mins of reading, you just think this is sh** and this author actually does not know anything about pricing and you could have written better about the topic!
After some struggle and some days of jumping between articles, books, and suggestions from people, you now have a list of resources that you need to go through in order. That’s the starting point of creating a learning path!
A learning path is a step-by-step guide about a topic or a concept. It is a list of resources that has a start and endpoint and that users must go through in order.
There are many online platforms and MOOCs now which create learning paths for their users. However, not all learning paths are created equal. They are built with different structures and we have discovered in Knowledge Officer that their structure greatly impacts your learning outcome.
This is why, in this article, I want to help you identify the best learning paths for you. So, next time you select a learning path, keep an eye on the below five elements. The best learning paths have them all and the good ones must have at least three.
1- The best learning paths are personalised
The best learning paths are built with a 360 view of you in consideration. The best learning platforms collect data about your current job title, industry, location, future career goals, and current skill set. These platforms construct their learning paths to bridge your skills gap and give you the necessary skills to excel in your role. Mediocre learning paths are just a set of recommendations of resources for you to go through regardless of your background, current skills, or future goals.
2- The best learning paths are structured
The best learning paths add “context to content” and are not just a big repository of knowledge and a group of recommended courses to go through. The best learning paths give you a step by step guide on what you need to learn, why you need to learn it, and why you need to learn it in that specific structure. They simply help you answer the question: ‘What should I learn today?’ in one click!
3- The best learning paths have an end goal
The best learning paths are not infinite. Even if they serve a lifelong learning purpose, they should have a specific start point and end point with a specific set of milestones and checkpoints in between. These paths are built with a target goal in mind and their success is measured by your achievement of this target after finishing the learning journey.
4- The best learning paths are dynamic
The skills of today will not be relevant probably two months from now! The best learning paths cater for the fast pace of change in our current world and are not static because they are built with these ever-changing skills in mind. These paths keep evolving over time so that you can stay updated with the right skills. If your current learning platform keeps the content of their courses for too long, that’s a red flag.
5- The best learning paths are engaging
Learning requires a good deal of mental effort and the learning process has long been perceived as boring. The best learning paths are interactive and engaging. They involve you in the learning process, help you learn in different ways, and keep you all entertained. The best learning paths give you the joy of having fun while you are learning.
These were the five elements that make the best learning paths. Does your current learning platform have them all? We would love to hear your thoughts about the learning apps you are using and whether you have other thoughts about what makes a learning path great.
Brief about Knowledge Officer:
Knowledge Officer is a personalised learning platform for professionals within tech companies with a focus on the most in-demand skills needed to excel in highly growing roles (Think machine learning, product management, growth, etc.).
Our mission is to help individuals find the shortest and most efficient path to employment and career progression and help companies grow and retain a competitive workforce.
This content was originally published on LinkedIn on May 23, 2019.