When we think about what content to recommend to each learner, we usually focus on the skills or knowledge that could add most value for them. But more recently we have started to consider the shape of the learning opportunity. Where are the points in a learner’s day when they can best take on-board recent developments in their sector? When in the week does she have the leeway to work on a task where the risk & return through acquired skills are higher?
Some of the considerations are mundane. For example, is there ‘free’ time on a commute or at the edges of a break? And if so, can we serve up the right shaped pieces of content to fit that learning opportunity? Some insights are more subtle: how does receptivity to new ways of thinking change over the working week? More often than not, insights are organisation-specific - they reflect landscape of the sector and particular demands, culture and people in the business or organisation.
This is an example of how engagement with our learning recommendation engine, magpie, ebbs and flows through the day in one of our clients (anonymised, obvs).
The black plot shows the average magpie usage pattern over the course of the day; the gold plot shows the same information for one of our clients.
You can see the concentration of activity in the core of the working day. But you can also see, in this client, a trend for evening learning. (They are a particularly self-motivated group.) This information lets us shape learning to suit that opportunity: away from the office, fewer interruptions (not in my house but still), more expansive in subject matter, longer format…
We also think there is an opportunity to curate content to fit some of the dips in activity. For example content that can be easily consumed on a commute.
Looking at the pattern of use over the working week for the same client, we see a sharp drop-off on Fridays. We can experiment with differently-shaped learning recommendations on Fridays (for example a ‘weekend briefing’ email) to fit a different learning opportunity and mood.
Using the xAPI standard for tracking usage, and being able to combine multiple data sources, opens the opportunity to build a 360 degree picture of learning.