5 Use Cases for Auto Recommendations

Informal learning and ‘user centric’ learning is all the rage these days, and it’s something we’ve certainly put a lot of focus and care in addressing here at Pathgather. However, that doesn’t mean we’ve totally abandoned the needs of the business, or ‘business centric’ learning. We understand a truly effective learning system, one that both users and companies value (our mission!), must address the needs of both the individual learner and the business. A great tool to use In Pathgather to help with the latter is auto recommendations.

Auto recommendations are an extremely flexible way to ‘push’ content to your learners at a massive scale. But that flexibility leaves a lot to the imagination, and sometimes, you just need some help to inspire your imagination. Thus, let’s go over some of the more unique ways you can use auto recommendations to help automate addressing business learning goals.

A brief auto recommendation overview

An auto recommendation is the ability to combine learning resources into a larger package to send out to targeted learners. With an auto recommendation, you can configure your learning package to go out to all current and future learners that match certain properties (e.g. "job title"), or simply recommend content to specific learners in bulk. At the moment, it’s an admin-only feature and can be found by clicking on the ‘star’ icon in the admin navigation bar.

Meet Jane

Jane, a Graphic Designer and your newest hire, has just started her first week at your wonderful company, Synergly. Let's follow Jane's career at Synergly and see how we can target her learning needs over time via five different types of auto recommendations.

Use Case #1: New Hire Onboarding

Let’s start simple. Synergly is of course a responsible, mature company, and being that, they have company-wide policies, values, and goals every hire should get familiar with. In addition, Synergly has a new initiative this year: a 3 point competency framework with a mission for every team member to become an effective leader, communicator, and time manager.

Auto recommendations allow you to package all these materials up into a single bundle that can be automatically recommended to Jane on her first day.

Step 1: Select content

Once you give your recommendation a sensible title (e.g. “Synergly’s 3 Point Competency Framework”), search for and locate your content in the content picker. When you find what you’re looking for, simply drag and drop the content into your recommendation.

Step 2: Select filters

The main power of auto recommendations lies in these user filters, thus this will be what we focus on moving forward.

Since this recommendation is focused on new hires and is recommending this year’s new “3 Point Competency Framework”, you likely only want to recommend it to your learners that are hired this year. That’s easy! Simply enter these filters:

  • User->Date Hired is greater than [start of year]
  • User->Date Hired is less than [end of year]
  • User->Deactivated is false

Pro Tip

If you aren’t setting “Date Hired” on your users via the hire_date property, change the property to Date Created, which means the recommendation will go to Pathgather user accounts created within the timeframe.

Also, feel free to select any additional filters that might make sense. For example, perhaps you want to ignore interns with a “User->Job Title does not contain intern” filter.

Finally, you can repeat this process with a Department or Gathering filter too, allowing you to setup a unique onboarding package when a user joins a specific department or gathering.

Use Case #2: Jane gets a promotion!

It’s been a year and Jane is absolutely killing it, so much so that it’s already time for a promotion. Jane’s ready to be the new Art Director of the entire New York office. Congrats Jane!

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility, and Jane needs to become intimately familiar with the responsibilities of the New York Art Director. Thankfully, Synergly is prepared and has the materials she needs to get effectively onboarded in her new role already in Pathgather.

Filters Needed

  • User->Job title equals Art Director
  • User->Location equals New York, NY
  • User->Deactivated is false

Once Pathgather detects the change in Jane’s job title, she’ll be automatically recommended the content necessary for her to be the best Art Director New York’s ever seen!

Use Case #3: Jane decides to start learning a new skill

Jane, being the awesome Art Director she now is, takes all her new hires out to lunch in their first week. One day at lunch, Mary, the newly hired Junior Designer out of NYU, tells Jane about this new software from Adobe called GraphicShop. Mary tells Jane that GraphicShop is all the rage these days, a tool that any respectable designer would know. Mary reminds Jane of herself when she started out at Synergly... a little too much in fact. Jane starts to worry that one day soon, Mary will be her boss. Well, thankfully Jane has Pathgather!

After lunch, Jane immediately logs into her Pathgather profile and adds “GraphicShop” as a skill she wants to learn. Thankfully, Synergly has a partnership with Adobe and already has access to the world’s best crash course on GraphicShop. Now, you just need to ensure anyone with an initial interest in GraphicShop is aware that this course is available.

Filters Needed

  • User Skills->Name equals GraphicShop
  • User Skills->Level equals Beginner
  • User->Deactivated is false

Once Jane adds GraphicShop to her profile, she’ll immediately be notified of this awesome crash course and she can start her new life’s mission to become better at GraphicShop than Mary. Watch out Mary!

Use Case #4: Jane gets a little too comfortable

After successfully thwarting off Mary’s attempts to take her job, Jane gets a little too complacent in her learning ambitions. After all, there’s little competition around since Mary was fired after the egg nog incident at this year’s Christmas party. Jane has stopped learning and forgets Pathgather exists. That’s ok though, Pathgather can forgive and forget, but only after one last attempt to pull Jane back in.

You, being Synergly’s learning administrator, are ready for this kind of ennui. Managers commonly get comfortable and forget they need to continuously expand their skill set. You’ve got just the right TED video to inspire these complacent managers.

Filters Needed

  • User->Date Last Seen is less than [a year ago]
  • User->Deactivated is false
  • User->Custom fields->has_reports equals true

‘Custom fields’ are a recent addition to Pathgather and allow you to add your own properties to your users. This example assumes a custom field exists titled ‘has_reports’, which is set to true when the learner is a manager.

With the above filters, managers who haven’t logged into Pathgather in the past year will be sent this inspiring TED talk. They’ll get an email informing them on this new recommendation, which will hopefully inspire Jane to remember the ambitious learner she once was. We believe in you Jane!

Use Case #5: Custom gamification + rewards

Now that your managers have found their second wind, you’d like to keep the ball rolling on their newfound attention. Come next Friday, you intend to have the managers out for dinner and refreshments at Shenanigan’s... that is, if the manager is fortunate enough to receive an invite to the hidden event page. You only want ultra-focused managers at this event, as Shenanigan’s only deserves the best you have to offer. Thus, you decide to start a friendly competition. All managers that complete at least 10 courses and accumulate 200 points in Pathgather will be invited to this extravagant affair.

Filters Needed

  • User->Score is greater than 199
  • User->Courses Completed is greater than 9
  • User->Deactivated is false
  • User->Custom fields->has_reports equals true

With this daunting challenge awaiting your managers, it’s time to see who has the hunger to earn this Shenanigan-filled outing. One person we fully expect to see there: Jane. It won’t be easy for her, but damn it, Shenanigan’s has a killer margarita she will get her hands on! (Note to Jane: Don’t go the way of Mary)

Serious Note: Don’t forget to log in to Pathgather the next Monday and pause the recommendation. You don’t want to tease your managers with more trips to Shenanigan’s if they’re just going to have to foot the bill themselves.

Conclusion

Hopefully this sparks some inspiration in your mind to put auto recommendations to some creative use. Your employees, whether they be the earlier, ambitious version of Jane or the more complacent later-staged one, are always hungry to learn (and hungry for some Shenanigan’s). Sometimes though, they just need a push in the right direction, and auto recommendations can be a great tool to kickstart their learning journey.

Happy learning,

The Pathgather Team

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