Guest post by Janet Clarey, Lead Advisor, Technology & Analytics, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP on the Five Key Capabilities of Learning Experience Platforms & What Organizations Should Consider in Evaluating Solution Providers
Learning experience platforms1 (LXPs) – a growing segment in the learning solution provider market – have created a welcome disruption in the learning technology solution market since their emergence in the mid-2010s. They have earned a share of this market for good reason: they help organizations solve several existing problems with learning management systems (LMS), including integration woes, underutilized content, inefficient search mechanisms, and lack of actionable metrics.
In our recent research on the rise of LXPs, we identified five key capabilities of learning experience platforms:
In evaluating an LXP, an organization first should assess whether its content capabilities are properly aligned to the organization’s overall content strategy; at a minimum, they should align the company’s content offerings and the platform’s intended users. Next, companies should focus on how the LXP can improve employees’ performance in their current roles. To do this, companies should consider the following three LXP content capabilities:
- Curation is the identification, aggregation, distillation, and organization of content from various sources. When evaluation the curation capabilities of LXPs, organizations should look for features that allow workers to set a variety of content preferences, tag content, assess skills and competencies, and search, share, and recommend content (whether built into the product or offered as add-ons provided by third-parties).
- Contextualization is the art and science of delivering the right content in the right format for learning, development, and performance improvement at the right time. One way LXPs contextualize content is by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI). For instance, some platforms use chatbots to provide content recommendations based on users’ actions. When evaluating the contextual capabilities of LXPs, organization should look for depth in surfacing relevant content from multiple sources.
- Creation functions in an LXP enable users to produce content on the fly. This is an important capability due to the shrinking half-life of knowledge and skills, which is driving a need for speed in all learning processes. When evaluating the content creation capabilities of LXPs, organizations should look for functionality that allows workers to discover and share knowledge, easily search for content, have conversations, and access and organize content curated from multiple sources in the course of their work.
A major benefit of LXPs is their ability to offer users access to multiple technologies through a single touchpoint. API services allow organizations to do things such as streamline training, offer e-commerce, manage content, access third-party commercial content, and link to business applications. LXP solution providers typically build APIs around their core functionality, so their platforms may not meet all of an organization’s learning use cases.
3. Social interaction
As learning becomes increasingly embedded in work itself, affording employees the opportunity to learn directly from others (both inside and outside of the organization) becomes more important. To this end, LXPs should include capabilities that enable users to collaborate, network, and connect with each other and with experts. The ability of LXPs to enhance worker engagement, team-building, and social interaction ranks among their most valuable features.
4. User experience design
Learning professionals trained in design thinking seek to understand and enhance the ways in which humans interact with technology. LXPs support their work with capabilities such as the mobile experience and ability to support learning and career paths. This is often accomplished through the use of playlists, channels, and pathways.
- Mobile: The LXP solution providers with which we conducted briefings all recognize the ascendancy of mobile devices—and they have designed (or redesigned) their solutions for mobile optimization. Accordingly, organizations should evaluate LXPs to determine how well this has been achieved, by examining elements such as single calls to action, content presentation within the user interface, visual layout, and ease of navigation.
- Learning and Career Paths: HR and L&D leaders indicate that they need to improve in leveraging technology to provide workers with greater visibility, discoverability, and transparency around career development options. LXPs support this task by allowing workers to create personalized learning and career paths, share expertise, and gather experiences based on their interests and preferences. In effect, they enable workers to take control of their own learning and career.
5. Data analysis
Business intelligence and analytics capabilities are essential in L&D to monitor business metrics and make informed decisions that support the development of a learning organization. Organizations can glean many forms of data from LXPs, such as performance improvement indicators, cultural data, career and personal development data, employee feedback about development, reports on activity and utilization of content, reports on business metrics and program value, engagement, and team data such as competencies, skills, and expertise summaries from the individual to the organizational level. We expect the data analysis capabilities of LXPs to continue to become more sophisticated in the future, helping organizations to identify potential skill gaps, linkages to business alignment, and talent vulnerabilities.
In summary, technology offers organizations an effective way to elevate the employee experience by mirroring the UX of consumer brands in their HR and learning brands. Effective LXPs have five key capabilities, which organizations should consider when selecting and upgrading their learning platforms: content, integration, social interaction, user experience design, and data analysis. Adding an LXP to their overall learning strategies and ecosystems LXPs may help organizations solve long-standing problems associated with disparate systems, underutilized content, inefficient search mechanisms, and the lack of actionable metrics. For all these reasons and more, LXPs have earned a place in the continuing evolution of HR technology, moving from simply managing people, events, and content to humanizing training in a digital world.
1 Solutions in this market segment take many forms (e.g., LMS, LXP, CMS) and go by many names, including intelligent learning platforms, learning engagement platforms, enterprise learning portals, aggregation platforms, curation platforms, content management platforms, microlearning platforms, knowledge management platforms, and talent development platforms.