Gentle Bamboo Solutions

The GPS Series (3 of 6 – Personalisation)

[Rakshith Bhagavath, my partner, has written the email for this entire week. You'll love the series, I'm sure. Follow along, and let me know what you feel about this mail and the ones that follow till this Saturday]


Just like Games and Gamification make training fun, Personalisation offers your learners meaning. Meaning offers motivation and motivation inspires action. So, today let’s look at how to make learning personal and meaningful.

For learning to be meaningful, it must be relevant to the learner; not one learner or many learners but every learner in your audience. For years now, marketers have understood the importance of relevance. Whether it is your local store owner knowing your preferences, YouTube recommending what you might watch next, or Ola Cabs welcoming you to your taxi ride by name, marketing seeks to make every experience relevant, personal, and meaningful to us.

Sadly though, in learning and development, we often take a one size fits all approach. The learning objectives are broadly defined, the training offers generic suggestions for improving behaviour, and post-program follow up is usually a weak feedback survey.

We need a different approach. Put yourself in the learner’s shoes. If you as the learner can see how far you have come through a course, what competencies you are building, and how you benchmark against company standards or peers or even your own chosen goals; then the chance of you being invested to learn more and achieve more is higher.

Most people tune out of learning when it is too easy or too hard. When it is too easy, you think “I know this already” and look for more rewarding things to do. When it is too hard, you start to wonder “I don’t know if I will ever get this” and lose confidence. It is easy at either of these points to quit learning.

To combat this, the work you do in preparation, before a training program, is as important as the work you do in the training itself. Conducting discovery calls with a few learners, conducting a pre-program assessment, and sending a welcome email to the participants with their learner kit in advance are a few basic things you can do in preparation. When designing the content, design levels into the training. When delivering the content, seek continuous feedback and adapt your method of instruction accordingly. Only when each learner feels that your course is designed specifically for them can you drive motivation and action.

So, where do you start? Here are 5 techniques you can use in your next program:

1. Points: Points are a feedback mechanism that tracks a player’s progress. They assign value to the learners’ actions. And you’ll be surprised how much people want to win points!

2. Badges: Badges are an acknowledgment of achievement, or a form of feedback that can be collected, displayed, and shared on social media.

3. Certificates: Always set some time aside at the end of the program to award certificates or tokens of appreciation to your learners. A ceremony validates the learners’ efforts.

4. Avatars: Avatars are characters or a representation of learners within the game of learning. Avatars offer learners freedom to express themselves.

5. Progress Indicators: Let learners know how they are doing. An agenda that learners can access at all times is an easy progress indicator.


Since you’ve come this far, I award you the badge of Finisher. Well done!


Creating meaningful experiences,