What makes a Learning Platform an LXP?
On top of all the standard functionality you would expect from a LMS (such as assigning courses/content, supporting SCORM content, and even building learning pathways), here are the key features we think any good LXP should have. All of the functionality covered in this document is included in the aNewSpring platform, either as standard or as a plug in from New Leaf Technologies.
Creating all your training content from scratch can be costly, time consuming and exhausting. Equally, having only one source of truth (that’s L&D in most cases) in an organisation often does not resonate with learners anymore. We need to mix it up.
We all know that people learn best from people, which is why many L&D functions are turning to UGC to surface more knowledge and expertise from those who know it best – their employees.
As a standard expect users to be able to share content in the guise of: screen captures and recordings, webcam recordings, videos, images, questions and online content (think web links, YouTube links etc) and documents.
Naturally, a system which can capture, support and share all that diverse content needs to look and feel very modern to users. It should be visually pleasing and easy for even the newest of users to navigate.
Many new systems put a huge emphasis on the ‘wow factor’ of a stunning user interface (because let us face it, most LMSs are NOT aesthetically pleasing). But the promise and expectation built by a great UI are often let down by sub-par user experiences.
Make sure it is intuitive, easy to use on every fathomable device and comprehensive for the digital literacy of ALL your employees.
Leading on from strong UI/UX is a particularly important feature that any learning system should prioritise. We believe it should be simple and easy for content to be created and populated within the system. The premise of many LXPs is that they are learning ecosystems, meaning they need to be kept alive with content to thrive (yes, that was an intentional pun. You’re welcome.)
So, as well as ease of use for learners, admins will also expect some help and support to keep the platform fresh with new learning content. After all, fresh content helps to keep learners connected, without manual work for you. Jolly good.
At a minimum, expect it to:
Personalisation is something your learners expect now. In fact, 52% of consumers are happy to share personal data in exchange for product recommendations that meet their needs. They want it at home, why wouldn’t they want it at work too?
No matter what learning system you decide to use, we believe that the presence of personalisation for each employee is critical to its ongoing success. That means serving up personalised feeds and content which is relevant to learners based on a series of data points including:
Personalisation is much more than a buzzword; it is happening everywhere except the workplace. Your learners already expect it, so we believe this feature to be 100% essential.
Gone are the days when a percentage of completions is a notable measure of success for L&D. Now we are burdened with terms like ‘learner sentiment’, ‘employee engagement’ and ‘return on investment’. No amount of tick boxes is going to prove those, unfortunately.
If you are exploring potential Learning Experience Platforms for your business, we highly recommend you seek powerful reporting functionality which will allow you much wider insights into learner behaviour, content and platform performance and even learner engagement. This data will allow you to iterate and improve your efforts over time, which can only be a good thing, right?
Seek systems that have AT LEAST this reporting functionality as standard:
The use of both small and big data is becoming more and more popular in L&D and having this data at your fingertips will come in handy later, even if you do not need it yet. Whilst there is a very comprehensive report engine in a ANewSpring, the New Leaf Training Intelligence Plug In can be completely customised to give you the dashboard metrics you need in real time. Our Moto – Analyse Once. You do not need to spend time going through Excel Reports or CSV data, analysing and making it pretty.
Without a mobile app your learning platform will underperform on mobile. With more and more organisations having dispersed, especially because of COVID, transient workforces never has the need for full, real mobile support in learning been more pertinent.
If mobile learning is a priority for your business this is an absolute must-have feature. So too must fully responsive design when it comes to content development. Make sure you use a platform that can automatically do this.
The whole point of an LXP is to better connect people with people using technology. In a world where workforces are global, home-based and tech-savvy, siloed data and comms systems just are not enough anymore.
Any Learning Experience Platform you consider should at least allow users:
Most Learning Management Systems simply do not allow easy and straightforward discourse between colleagues, meaning that everyone’s experience is completely isolated and siloed. An LXP should help to encourage collaboration, sharing and learning with the final goal of driving a mentoring and developmental culture in your organisation. On Line learning should not be a boring and solitary experience
We are all busy these days. No one has time to do anything, so having automation as part of your learning system is intrinsic to maximising output whilst not compromising on quality or integrity. These automatic functions free up your time to focus on more important stuff.
Here are some of the automation features we would expect a next-gen Learning Experience Platform to have.
Commonly, LXPs will capture and harness a lot more data than your typical learning system. That means there is a lot of data to deal with. You need the system to do the heavy lifting – so seek systems that do loads for you with that data, out of the box.
Look for systems which provide pre-set reports for behavioural info as well as learning-driven data such as completions, attendance and more. Expect to be able to create your own reports and dashboards too.
Onboarding is hard enough without having to build your onboarding learning pathways from scratch in a new system. A good LXP with automation should allow you to easily create onboarding experiences – ideally using pre-set frameworks so you do not have to start from scratch.
Other automation features which could be ‘nice to haves’ depending on your business:
The key to a good Learning Experience Platform is the emphasis on the learner experience. They have been created to facilitate and encourage learning amongst your employees, all whilst helping you do your job better and with more ease.
A common thread through our research on existing LXPs is a much wider use of social media type tools to embolden and rouse enthusiasm amongst employees. We talked earlier about the facilitation of user generated content, but being able to share bespoke, personal content is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social learning.
This is all about encouraging touchpoints between teams, helping to empower knowledge powerhouses in your business and drive interaction with both one another and the system.
Seek systems that AT LEAST provide:
The main aim here is to get people talking, encourage conversations and humanise technology, all whilst facilitating a wider ability to share knowledge and expertise amongst your employees.
Of course, you want people to WANT to use the system. That is the L&D dream. But often is the case that learning is undertaken in dribs and drabs (or worse, just for compliance) and therefore it never becomes a focal part of a business, or indeed it is culture.
These next-gen learning systems endeavour to make learning a habit, not just a one off. And there is much research to support the science of addiction and why it can be very compelling in building habits and changing behaviours. Therefore, if you are looking to change cultures and modify the way your learners perceive organisational training, it is going to have to go beyond launching a new snazzy system.
Ideally, a LXP needs to drive interaction, reward positive behaviours and promote and encourage usage over a prolonged period. Some of the features we expect to see in include:
All the above can be done in aNewSpring with the campaign plug in from New Leaf.
Any platform which cites itself as a next-gen system, or indeed an evolution of the LMS, should be seeking to explore the opportunities that the internet of things offers. We are particularly interested in the Learning Experience Platform features which leverage new tech and help to enhance the product further, way beyond the features listed above.
A key to continued success for new software implementation to be successful, is adoption. Many L&D practitioners struggle to put their marketing hats on and build useful, applicable user engagement campaigns that drive interest and interaction over time. Ideally, these campaigns help to build habits and promote usage of the system over time.
Having pre-set or automated marketing or engagement campaigns to promote not only the platform but ongoing use of it should be an integral part of using the technology and its functionality to help you make incremental shifts in changing your learning culture. Not essential in terms of Learning Experience Platform features, but certainly a bonus.
Typically, all learning platforms should easily support microlearning as it is essentially a complete learning unit that is of a smaller duration. Where we need to run a check; is to see if the platform supports blended learning. Despite the growth of pure-play self-paced eLearning, there still exists a huge market and need for guided blended learning where the presence of a virtual instructor matters. Hence it is important to ensure that your learning platform supports blended learning and microlearning modules with equal ease.
The chatbot could serve as a virtual guide to the learners and help them pick relevant programs in an informal and engaging manner. This helpful little tool could be system wide or course specific.
The capacity to use other tools on the internet is imperative especially if you want to stay up to date and with the IoT becoming mainstream. Add widgets from an unlimited number of other learning tools directly into the platform, giving a seamless user experience.