In the 1980s, corporate training began moving away from classroom instruction to online platforms. With increased network speed and diminishing time for training1 , it made less sense to drag employees away from their desks to listen to a speaker. Companies began to buy learning management systems (LMS) to archive online lessons and track employee use.
Corporate buyers and training departments spent valuable time and money figuring out which LMS to install. Which product would provide the best training options for their employees? Which system would mesh with the company’s existing technology and procedures while fitting into the training budget?
Decisions made, training departments went about populating their LMS with long-form manuals, Powerpoints, and other documents required for employee onboarding, education, and compliance. Not surprisingly, these resources were similar in content and format to the in-person classes they replaced. However, they lacked the personal touch and individual attention provided by classroom interaction. Companies expended great effort trying to get employees to access these resources, but employee buy-in was notoriously low.
Then everything changed.
From LMS to LXP
A generation of Internet-connected people entered the workforce and changed learning styles for everyone. These workers did not think highly of administrator-driven learning platforms that gave them little control over what and when they learned. They also did not appreciate that the materials matched the company’s needs, but was not engaging. Employees of all ages clamored for resources that would give them a more flexible, individually directed, YouTube-like experience. They wanted learning that would fit their tight schedules as well as their compartmented knowledge needs. This drove a desire for micro-learning assets, which would allow employees to quickly access exactly the information they needed to accomplish specific jobs.
To meet this demand, LMS vendors began adding features to their products. New types of resources—shorter and more task-oriented—and better ways of accessing those resources were included. Before long, the static, company-centric LMS had morphed into an outward-oriented learning experience platform (LXP) that pulled materials of all kinds from all over the internet.
Perhaps more significantly, LXP architects addressed the problem of discovery. The proprietary training library of almost any business can include thousands of courses. That number explodes when outside sources are included. Almost any video, podcast, or webpage is potentially a way to learn. Instead of being frustrated by a lack of resources, learners were overwhelmed by a glut of unorganized and in some cases low-quality materials.
To give some intelligence to discovery, LXP vendors considered what was important to users in order to create search algorithms. According to Josh Bersin, a global research analyst, public speaker, and writer about corporate human resources, there are five main algorithm categories that make LXPs more user-friendly than earlier systems2:
- Skills-based learning: The LXP directs users to learning paths based on their job profiles and job skills.
- Usage-based recommendations: The LXP aggregates data from similar users to recommend learning based on group preferences.
- AI-based content analysis: The LXP “ingests” content to identify what each resource is teaching, as well as the level of expertise required for understanding in order to direct the user to appropriate materials.
- Chatting with the learner: User surveys and chatbots supplement the LXP’s understanding of the user, directing each one to material based on their work experience, learning preferences, and aspirations and career goals.
- Learning business rules: Based on data acquired about each user, the LXP initiates necessary compliance training, which can be organized to fit the user’s schedule.
Corporate Training Solutions of an LXP
So, what should an LXP do for your staff? At minimum, it should provide them with barrier-free learning. Staff should be able to easily access the learning they need within the flow of their normal workday. If confronted with a problem, they should be able to open the LXP, go directly to the appropriate resource, and use it to resolve the work issue. More specifically, it should encompass the following features3:
- emSearchable: The search function should be organic and easy to use, with filter trees that will take the user directly to the most appropriate content.
- Personalized: The LXP should allow users to learn in a way that suits them, with content based on their preferences and skill gaps. Materials should be presented in bite-sized chunks to encourage consumption, with liberal use of short video and audio assets. This will ensure an equivalent experience for mobile, desktop, or offline learning.
- Updatable: The LXP should be updated dynamically to keep the information current. Users should be able to share their own content, and community ratings should be available.
- Variable: Topics should include career development as well as on-the-job learning at point of need. The LXP should be an open ecosystem, linking corporate archives to the full internet. This will allow users to access what they need, from short-form videos to online books.
- Accountable: Administrators should be able to see content usage trends in order to determine the impact that individual assets—and the learning program as a whole—has on staff.
Contact us to learn more about the possibilities for enhancing and personalizing education with KEA, which uses an AI-powered learning facilitator to assess user behavior and align learning resources with the employee’s skill set, career aspirations and learning patterns.
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