Our training courses are based on what we call ‘filtered learning’. This is the idea that our students will learn best if their training consists only of material they need to learn – skills that will be valuable in their work, and which they currently lack. Our online platform asks each user simple questions that enable us to select content for them, giving them just what they need to learn.
We think there are some obvious reasons that this is an effective approach to training: time isn’t wasted on material that isn’t valuable, and our students are more engaged in the content because of its relevance. To put it another way, the most significant cost of training is often the time for which employees are diverted away from their work; focusing only on what staff need to learn, and delivering the training efficiently online, means this time and cost is minimised. We also hoped that this focused training would be more effective than following an unselected course – that it would make a bigger (as well as faster) difference to the learner.
We have been working hard on making the Filtered approach really robust – we’ll be launching our new Filter algorithm this November. But before we embarked on this project we wanted to be sure that our hunch was right – that Filtering content really did make the training more effective for students. So earlier this year we conducted an analysis of 3000 of our real-word users who had signed up for our Excel course on our old (pre-Filtered) platform. The study measured student performance in tests before and after training, and found those users training using filtered material improved their test performance by 26% more than users training using unfiltered material. With our sample size, we are more than 95% confident that learning filtered material has a greater learning impact than following an unfiltered course.
Our new platform allows us to monitor the relationship between our users’ learning patterns and the improvement they show. So we intend to carry on measuring the effect of filtering content, in particular to understand how it affects adoption of and engagement with training, as well as ultimate impact.