The learning experience platform (LXP), according to industry insiders, is the L&D profession’s response to the changing needs and expectations of learners. With it, organizations are better positioned to identify and address skill gaps, capture and use data effectively to measure L&D impacts, promote a self-driven learning approach and foster an engaging culture of learning in the workplace.
In 2018, the LXP market was over $350 million in size, and Josh Bersin’s research suggests it is more than doubling every year. The critical role LXPs play in advancing the skills and competencies employees need today while also enabling organizations to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow, is driving this demand.
If you or your organization is considering an LXP in 2019, here are the five key capabilities to look for:
1. An intuitive and elegant user experience (UX)
“The UX in an LXP solution should be compelling enough that an employee would willingly pay for it themselves.” Bersin, Deloitte LLP
Google, Netflix and Apple taught us that simplicity is essential. Users now demand an experience that is easy, familiar and fast. No one has the time or the desire to spend a long time sifting through volumes of suggested resources or content; we all want to find what we are looking for quickly and efficiently. Content curation, the art and science of organizing and contextualizing for relevance, is key to ensuring that people trust the LXP experience. Curation capabilities should support both machine-learning services, for example, personalized recommendations, and tools to enable human curation which can be used to build a learning experience aligned to your business goals. When selecting an LXP, be sure to complete a thorough examination of the platform’s curation capabilities.
2. Readily available world-class content
With so much choice, the question for the learner becomes where to start? Leading LXPs will offer the user a range of options from books and videos to podcasts and audiobooks. Every learner will have a preference and sometimes may even have a preferred method given the particular subject matter. Take someone wanting to learn to code in Python or Java. An objective like this will take time and require long lessons that build upon previous knowledge and may include a combination of books, videos and other resources. However, something like finding the answers to a “How do I perform this task in Excel” question require a more immediate and quick fix such as a 3-5 minute video demonstration. The best LXPs will offer a library that includes everything from podcasts to complete courses to ensure employees find what they are looking for efficiently.
3. Strength in numbers with robust data collection and analytics
For many L&D professionals, a fundamental problem is providing quantifiable metrics demonstrating the business value of learning to the organization. If e-commerce analytics have shown us anything, it’s that how someone purchased is almost as important as what they purchased. Today, organizations need to know more than what courses employees completed. They need to answer critical business questions including: “where are my content gaps?”, “what are my employee’s content preferences?”, “is my curation effective?” To that end, an LXP should have robust data collection including both content consumption (traditional learning data) and content discovery (modern, e-commerce-like learning data). Additionally, this data must be made available through intuitive LXP dashboards and reports to enable rapid feedback and improvement. Finally, the LXP should support the export of data for use with analytics tools such as learning record stores (LRS) and business intelligence (BI) tools. This is extremely important as it facilitates the real business impact measurement of learning by merging learning data with business operational data such as sales, production, customer satisfaction, and more. Enabling this type of analytics requires our next key capability: integration.
4. Learning ecosystem driven by integration
Once upon a time, L&D could only imagine a world where learning technologies deliver a seamless blend of content, experience and data. Modern learning organizations are building learning ecosystems, and they are rapidly expanding. Since 2011, the average number of learning technologies used by organizations has more than doubled from 10 to 22. A great LXP must function within a learning ecosystem and interoperate with a range of other platforms to facilitate the smooth flow of content, experience and data. SAML single sign-on, xAPI (aka Tin Can), and other modern technologies enable you to select best-of-breed solutions and trust that they will work together, seamlessly. Make sure your LXP has strong integration capabilities to support a distributed learning experience, diverse content sources, and centralized analytics that your learners and leaders demand.
5. Social interaction capabilities
The rise in popularity of social networking means we all now expect to be able to like, share, recommend and comment on and rate content. LXPs should be no different. Employees want to discover and share within intra-office messengers, on individual profiles, via URL links and build upon successes with social interaction via gamification functionalities.
For further reading about the LXP, please take a look at my Five Key Features of Leading LXPs white paper. Alternatively, why not, Skillsoft ’s, a try? According to Charles M. DeNault, Senior Analyst, Wainhouse Research, “Percipio is taking a leadership position in Learning Experience Platforms in such a short period of time.”
Jim Renner is VP Product Management for Skillsoft’s Percipio learning experience platform.