There are multiple definitions of learning journeys and, as different as they are, they’re all correct in their own right.
For starters, a learning journey can be defined as a visual guide to assist you in becoming fully competent in your field of study. Alternatively, a learning journey can be described as a strategic developmental process that allows learners to build capability through related and complementary learning interventions over a period of time.
Learning journeys are highly customised to the learner’s specific learning objectives and the experiences involved are usually structured around key themes relating to their skills development path.
It is important to note that a learning journey can be designed at different stages in a person’s career, whether you’re just starting out or whether you’ve decided to reskill yourself in an effort to steer your career in another direction after years.
Regardless of the industry you work in or your current learning journey stage, the ultimate goal of a learning journey is to be inspired to develop and grow your competence and confidence. So, how would one build an effective learning journey?
Building an effective learning journey
Curating an effective learning journey is an essential part of achieving your learning and skills development goals. Building a learning journey can be compared to mapping out a project where you outline the different stages that you would need to pass to reach your desired goal. It is a self-reflective process that requires you to have a holistic view of your learning efforts and the trajectory you’d like to move your career towards.
To build an effective learning journey, start by considering the end goal you’ve set for yourself. For example, say you currently hold an entry-level position at an eLearning company and you wish to work your way up to the position of senior development manager.
Your learning journey would need to be designed by asking yourself the following key questions:
- What skills do I need to acquire in order to qualify to carry out the responsibilities of this position?
- What courses or training programmes do I need to complete to help develop these skills?
Next, analyse your current skills, knowledge and understanding of the field you aim to progress in. Thereafter, consider the skills, knowledge and understanding you wish to have acquired by the end of your learning journey. What’s the difference between your current state and the one you’re working towards?
Once you’ve figured out the areas you need to improve on and upskill yourself in, you’ll be able to determine where to begin on your learning journey.
Planning your learning journey
As mentioned earlier in this article, learning journeys are essentially self-reflective in nature. In order to construct a well-planned and effective learning journey, you first need to consider certain factors that will influence your journey.
Here are some of the most important factors that should be taken into consideration when planning your learning journey:
- What is your current skill set? What qualifications do you currently have?
- What are your learning aspirations? What skills and qualifications do you wish to have acquired by the end of your learning journey?
- What is your preferred learning style? What style of learning interests you and facilitates the best learning experience (keeping in mind knowledge retention and sound understanding)?
- How would you describe your attitude to learning?
- Do you have a strict budget that may limit your learning opportunities?
- Do you have access to a support structure to lean on during your learning journey?
- Is the timing right? Are there other responsibilities in your life that may limit your ability to dedicate the time required to accomplish your learning goals?
- Are there any additional needs that could influence your learning journey?
Take a look at the example of a learner journey below:
As you can see from the example above, a higher education learning journey can begin at the stage of finding out about study opportunities or potential job progression. It can include your goal-setting process, teaching and learning activities, performance reviews, and the testing phase which includes exams and assessments.
Remember that no two learner journeys are the same. Every learner is equipped with their own skills and knowledge depending on whether they’re a fresh starter straight out of school or tertiary institution, or whether they have career experience but wish to reskill to move their career on a different path. Therefore, the factors that influence their individual journeys will differ greatly.
The future of learning journeys
Now that we’re operating in a “new normal” since the pandemic struck two years ago, it’s understandable for us to expect a lot of these learning concepts to undergo some sort of transformation or another. What does this mean for learning journeys and what does the new, evolved process of building effective learning journeys look like? How will learners need to adapt their skills, existing or desired, to suit the needs of the future?
Learners will now have to shift focus and adapt their learning journeys to this new way of life and learning, which moves attention from traditional learning methods and promotes remote learning as a key factor in learning journeys. Most importantly, it’ll be interesting to see how the skills that learners aspire to earn through their learning journeys are adapted to suit future innovations and needs.
eLearning Industry. 2021. How To Create Learning Journeys That Improve Employee Performance [online]. (accessed on 31 March 2022)
Schoox. 2021. Why Better Learning Journeys Should Be Your Company’s Top Focus [online]. (accessed on 31 March 2022)