Learning Paths vs. Traditional Curriculum: What's the Difference & Why Does it Matter?

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When it comes to eLearning strategy, there is a long-time debate over learning paths vs traditional curriculum. Let’s explore the differences between the two methods.
A learning path allows a learner to choose a route through (typically eLearning) content, which allows them to build knowledge progressively and often, individually. It allows the learner to become an active participant in the learning process and to create a deeper connection with the subject matter. Success is often measured by progress and improvement and the student reaching their personal potential. 
Traditional curriculum on the other hand is typically the teacher-centered delivery of instruction on certain topics to a classroom of learners. Success is often measured by proficiency of memorization and extensive testing of knowledge and skills comprehension. Traditional curriculum can be seen in the long-established, in-person, classroom style of learning used in most schools. Its primary techniques are oral instruction, reading and reciting facts.
There are many differences between the two. For starters, traditional curriculum can be likened to a “one-size-fits-all” approach, with one instructor and one set of skills or knowledge to be communicated to an entire class in the same fashion at the same time. Learning paths, however, seek to meet individual needs instead. They create learner-centric, targeted activities that are customizable to each individual while aligning with the greater learning objectives.
Other differences between the two include the fact that traditional curriculum uses one delivery method that does little to accommodate individual student’s interests or learning styles. Learning paths use a variety of methods to accommodate both. And in traditional curriculums, students are required to advance at the educator’s pace regardless of personal needs while learning paths allow for improvement and advancement at the student’s own pace.  
As an L&D professional, understanding the difference between the two is important. Your role is to provide the best possible tools and solutions to support the learning and performance objectives of your organization and these two different types of educational methods are part of that.
eLearning, specifically, is trending toward the more progressive of the two methodologies: learning paths. Because of busy lifestyles and demanding industries as well as the understanding of different learning styles and efficiencies, the location-dependent, in-person large dump of information is becoming less useful. While the need for the highest efficiency from all employees is increasing crucial to a company’s success.
Increased engagement in eLearning programs must be the ultimate goal in creating and deploying them. The success of your training programs are often measured in the success of your company. More and more we are seeing that individualized learning paths outperform traditional classroom settings when it comes to learner engagement, and engagement is everything when it comes to L&D.
Interested in learning more about learning paths and how to implement them into your L&D strategy? Contact us today.

About CoreAxis

CoreAxis is a business performance consulting company that offers training solutions to businesses in a variety of industries, such as financial, life sciences, retail and technology. Each of these solutions can be fully customized to meet the needs of the individual client. We build collaborative relationships, becoming a trusted resource and ensuring our clients’ organizational success.

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