Learning Ecosystems – Part 2 – Technology’s Role in the Learning Ecosystem

The trend toward remote work and virtual solutions for typical work functions is not slowing, and we have no reason to believe it will reverse even when the current pandemic crisis ends. In fact, a Gartner CFO survey indicates that 74% of CFOs intend to shift employees to remote work permanently. Apparently, virus notwithstanding, remote work and technological work solutions are ideas whose time has come.

Companies will need to research and find technology solutions focused on offering virtual learning environments for learning and development (L&D).  Employees won’t need less training when they work away from the office, but chances are they will need more and more frequent training.   Because they are remote, ensuring that a training strategy is put in place that brings team members together to learn, collaborate and problem solve will be more critical for an organization’s success.  Part of the training strategy should be finding a virtual solution that goes beyond an in-person training room and that encompasses all levels and types of hands-on learning and engagement. 

Today’s workforce is already experiencing a profound change from office to virtual work, necessitating a shift to virtual learning. Other trends include (FMP Consulting):

  •  A younger-generation workforce that expects technology to play a major role in their learning and work.  
  • More collaborative, team-focused L&D experiences.  
  • On-the-job, quick-delivery learning in response to the fast-paced, evolving work landscape.  
  • An emphasis on analytics to show the results of employee development endeavors. 
  • A continuous learning and knowledge-sharing company culture and mindset. 

Savvy learning leaders are responding to these opportunities by finding learning delivery platforms that provide for all of the abovementioned needs. State-of-the art solutions are available that appeal to a younger workforce (while still being user-friendly for Boomers, Gen Y, Gen X, etc.). They have features like customizable breakout rooms that support collaborative training/learning efforts.  Offering flexible, real-time, or on-your-own-time learning options and providing a means to collect and analyze the data necessary to adjust and develop learning opportunities in an ongoing basis are all part of a training strategy that should be built for each corporate team.

These solutions are called learning experience platforms (LXPs), and they are growing exponentially in popularity as an alternate (and often preferable) option for traditional learning management systems. According to the Association for Talent Development, a good LXP “provides [a] single-point access, consumer-grade system that can curate and aggregate content; create learning and career pathways; enable networking; enhance skill development; and track multiple learning activities delivered by multiple channels and content partners” (td.org).  In addition, LXPs provide comprehensive data that allows both learners and employers to track and manage the learning journey.

In the last article, we defined a learning ecosystem as the people, content, culture, technology, and strategies that influence an organization’s employee-education environment. Technology is one of the legs on that five-legged stool that supports the primary goal (the “seat” if you will) of learning. Not only that, but it composes a large chunk of the “content,” “culture,” and “strategy” legs as well. Clearly, finding a vigorous LXP will be instrumental in conceiving, building, implementing, and sustaining a learning ecosystem that will ensure learning success for your company.