Learning Experience Platforms

The Ultimate LXP Guide for 2021

Learning Experience PlatformL

earning Experience Platforms (LXPs) developed in response to a realisation - that most workplace learning didn’t happen where Learning & Development departments wanted it to. Since the late 1990s, official learning only took place in classrooms or on a Learning Management System (LMS). 

The LMS was where (normally compliance) courses and training were stored, delivered, and tracked. The problem was that, aside from irregular mandatory learning, people didn’t use it. Most learning took place in the flow of work, where it couldn’t be tracked, personalised, or improved.

Then came a new, holistic understanding of learning in work. Ideas like lifelong learning, autonomous learning, and adaptive learning took hold. And innovations gave L&D the digital means to enable them.

A new platform came about to pull together all of these innovations. One with a focus on the individual user, bringing the learning to them and providing a holistic learning experience. The Learning Experience Platform (LXP).

Start optimised GIF - Smart LXP platform

An LXP (Learning Experience Platform) is a user-centric learning hub. It’s a platform that helps users discover the learning content and experiences that they actually need, not prescribe a one-size-fits all approach. It usually does this through personalisation, powerful search, a user-friendly interface, and integrations with the wider learning ecosystem.

Josh Bersin, one of the foremost learning industry analysts, coined the term LXP, and likened it to “Netflix for learning”. 

To some extent, the analogy works. An LXP is a user-focussed single point of contact between learners and learning content. Netflix isn’t just a massive film and TV database, it’s user-friendly, personalised, and focussed on getting you the content you’ll enjoy. Likewise, an LXP is all about the delivery of learning - personalising it to you in an accessible and enjoyable way.

But the LXP has grown far beyond the initial Netflix comparisons. It can give access to the whole learning ecosystem: webinars, roundtables, social learning. It’s not a learning content repository (that’s what your LMS or content providers are for) it’s a one-stop-shop for each learner’s individual needs. 

At the same time as being a singular hub, LXPs are distinguished by their integration capabilities. They can flexibly accommodate internal and external tools and systems and bring together internal and external data to drive administrative decision making.

Filtered LXP Dashboard screenshot

Why do you need an LXP?

Traditionally, corporate learning’s been inaccessible and engagement’s been low. People participate in mandatory compliance training but rarely take it upon themselves to learn independently. For businesses to succeed, that needs to change

Continuous self-driven learning is a new economic imperative for every business, especially post COVID-19. Getting an LXP is the most tried and tested way to achieve this. 

This is because users have a higher standard for experience. People are used to Google and Amazon. They’re not willing to waste their time using clunky, unfriendly systems. 

Another part of the issue is content discovery. Business change relies on autonomous, point-of-need learning, which is impossible if learners can’t find the content they need. In most businesses, content is spread haphazardly across multiple systems. And even if it were all together, there’s no way to match that content to the user.

LXPs solve this problem by bringing all learning material into one place, and making it easy for individuals to find the stuff they need - via search, personalisation, and social sharing. 

Together, user experience and discoverability increase learner engagement and speed up business change.

The role of an LXP in your company

An LXP should be the place where everyone in a business goes to learn. Especially now that in-person learning is far more rare, an LXP thrives as the hub of content, webinars, and social learning. 

This doesn’t mean that Learning Experience Platforms should replace existing content providers. Rather, they should be the point at which learners meet that content. 

Equally, LXPs aren’t built to fully replace LMSs. Learning Management Systems are still well built for compliance and mandatory courses. LXPs work best when they expand the autonomous learning of an LMS to improve learners and their job performance. 

LXPs look different to every user. While learning leaders promote specific initiatives and set the broad boundaries of content, learners also recommend content to each other and set up virtual teaching. That means LXPs can deliver business initiatives at an individual level.

Finally, as well as being a place where learners can encounter personalised content, LXPs are a place learners go to search out specific learning. That’s why Learning Experience Platforms have powerful search functions: to provide solutions as near to real-time as possible.

laptop product master

Because of their versatility, there are a number of unique ways that an LXP can benefit your organisation. However, here are some factors that’ll affect everyone:

Discoverable content

One of the biggest issues with old learning content management systems is that learning content is disparate, unchecked, and undiscoverable. An LXP gives you a place to put all of this. One that’s organised and searchable. It means that learners have a far better shot at getting to the learning that can help them.

Filtered LXP - Filtering content

Flexibility 

LXPs aren’t static. They can be altered to fit the kind of learning that works best for your business. So, if a particular program or initiative is important, the Learning Experience Platform your learners interact with can reflect that. If internal content is important, LXPs can accommodate user-generated content. Or if you want to pull learning together to form pathways, most Learning Experience Platforms allow for that functionality too. 

Integration is also a major benefit of LXPs. And not just with LMSs. Wherever your business gets its work done - email, Slack, MS Teams - a good LXP can embed itself within it. This means that learning is never more than a few clicks away for your learners. Which is a boost for employee engagement. 

User-oriented

LXPs redefine who the platform is for. Older systems were built with administrators in mind but an LXP is all about the individual user.

In an LXP, the user has far more capacity to steer their own learning. Rather than going through mandatory training modules, learners have the freedom to seek out learning content that helps their professional development and day-to-day jobs. 

User experience is a foundational principle for any LXP. Getting people to take time out of their work for autonomous learning (which can’t be mandatory) is a challenge LXP vendors are aware of. So, each Learning platform UX is worked on with user ease and enjoyment in mind. As a result, LXPs are very likely to hike up a business’s learning engagement levels

LXPs are also more accessible. They can accommodate and categorise different forms of content so learners can pick the medium and style they want. 

Most are also mobile friendly. Given that 57% of online content is consumed on mobile devices and tablets, this can potentially double the opportunities for learning experiences in your organisation.

Filtered LXP - Users profile

Personalisation

LXPs give you a lot of data to play with. So, like Netflix, Spotify, or Amazon, what the user sees is curated specifically for them. Different LXPs go to different depths of personalisation than others, but all tailor the learning to the user. This makes learning a lot easier and faster for learners, increasing employee engagement.

This personalisation is also useful for when learners are undergoing a specific process, like onboarding, offboarding, or acclimatising to a new position. Content and learning pathways can be tailored specifically to get them the knowledge they need as efficiently as possible.

Filtered LXP - Recomendations

Data-driven learning

Because of their superior integration capability, LXPs can pull together a lot of functional data. This can be internal data like search metrics, view counts, content ratings, likes, and shares.

But, they can also show you how people responded to learning comms off the site; how learning and job performance interrelate; what skills deficiencies might arise in the near future; where, how, and when employees are learning.

By integrating comfortably with your business’s entire digital ecosystem, an LXP can give you a bird’s eye view of learning’s ROI and overall impact. 

An LXP is for any business that wants to increase their learning maturity level and enable people-first continuous learning. Essentially, if there’s any digital learning that can’t be covered by regular compliance training - i.e. most of it - a Learning Experience Platform could help you.

But we can get more specific. There are some key pain points that LXP purchasers share:

Pain points an LXP targets

Low user engagement

Learning content is underused in most businesses. Learners either can’t find it or find it too much effort to try. Alternatively, employees in these companies don’t see independent learning as part of their jobs so engagement with non-mandatory content is non-existent.

LXPs are built to target this above all else - to make the conditions perfect for self-improvement to spring up.

Content overload

Learning systems accumulate detritus. Some of it is useful to current learners, but the majority is old, irrelevant, poor quality, or just broken. This is hugely harmful to learner motivation as content is overloading the modern workforce. 

Even the semi-relevant stuff can often do more harm than good: learners don’t like wasting their time to get mild benefits. 

People often get LXPs to try to take control of this content. With it all in one place, and with user data, you can be far more prescriptive with what goes in front of learners. And with user-driven LXPs, the learners themselves are the determining factor. 

One caveat to add is that Learning Experience Platforms, done poorly, can add to this problem. If they just curate content from usage data or bring in their own stuff there’s still too much irrelevant stuff for learning to help with business goals. 

Poor internal mobility

Companies hire from the outside when their employees lack the necessary skills. Which disengages existing employees if they’re not given upskilling or reskilling opportunities outside of their current job description. As a result, retention suffers and company culture stagnates. 

The boost LXPs give to continuous learning enables employees to upskill and reskill themselves. Allowing employees to learn according to their career goals, LXPs increase employee satisfaction, engagement and retention. And save time and money in the process. 

Slow digital transformation

LXPs are not the only route to digitised learning. But, most of them include the key elements needed to digitally transform L&D. 

Features like data analysis, social learning, integrations, remote workshops and smart personalisation. To qualify as a digital learning department you need to have capability in all of the above. 

Learning Experience Platforms are an easy way to implement them with the support of expert helping hands. And digital learning is a key driver of company-wide digital transformation

LXP

Companies that use LXPs

Complex learning

In theory, any business could gain value from an LXP. However, companies that use LXPs effectively have some values in common.

Autonomous learning

If your business needs to teach most of its people the same thing, then a large fraction of an LXP’s functionality would be redundant.

LXPs are built for people to choose what they want to learn (under broader guidance). Personalisation, search, and broad content provision empower learners to find learning that suits their individual needs. Consequently, companies that need constant, autonomous learning to stay ahead usually choose an LXP.

Social learning 

LXPs come stuffed with social features. People can like, share, create, string together and form playlists with content. On top of that, users can collaborate, using the platform as a space to set up communities of practice and round-table discussions.

So businesses that just require simple, unambiguous course-based learning could do without an LXP. However in many companies, learning is best understood in context through peers, or it’s difficult enough to require further explanation, or the answer is subjective, intangible, or ambiguous. These companies greatly benefit from the social possibilities LXPs provide (especially post COVID-19).

A quick disclaimer here: direct comparisons are difficult. Firstly, because there’s a lot of variation within the categories themselves: some LXPs are stripped back and some LMSs are more user-focussed. You can find a more detailed LMS vs LXP comparison here.

Secondly, because LXPs and LMSs aren’t trying to achieve the exact same thing. There’s overlap, but LXPs were built to provide a different type of learning to a Learning Management System - or at least a type of learning that LMSs weren’t paying much attention to. A lot of the time, companies have both a Learning Management System and a Learning Experience Platform because they complement, rather than duplicate, each other. 

However, if you think that, because you’ve got one, you won’t need the other, you’re likely mistaken. There are some fundamental differences in what they bring to an organisation. Here are the most important ones so you can decide what your business needs. 

Who’s in charge

The fundamental difference between LMSs and LXPs is the power balance. In LMSs, it’s pretty simple. Learning & Development is in control of the content that each user sees, and what they have to learn. 

In LXPs, users play a more prominent role. This varies between platforms and businesses, and L&D will always have ultimate control over broad content direction. But, within an LXP learning is democratised.

In all LXPs, individual users choose what they want to learn, rather than following L&D strictures. Learners can also take control of some content provisions, curating external content for other users, creating their own content, pulling content together into learning pathways, or running their own digital learning sessions.  

What do users learn?

The LXP and the LMS are built for different types of learning. A Learning Management System is more prescriptive. Learners will log on and take courses they’ve been assigned - often with assessments at the end. The kind of content will be quite broad - often company or department-wide. The LMS’s purpose is more “getting up to scratch” than “expanding your knowledge and prospects”. 

Some glamour might be missing, but this is essential for every business. And it’s the Learning Management Systems’ happy place. They’re robust, simple, and trackable so learners can efficiently pick up what they need to and get right back to work. 

If an LMS is going to the cinema, an LXP is going on Netflix. It’s built for individual growth rather than box ticking. There’s a huge variety of available content that’s designed to make learners better at their jobs, or suited for better ones. 

For this to work at an organisational scale, LXPs have to have powerful search functions, personalised recommendations, an array of content types, and an easily navigable interface. LMSs can’t handle that level of flexibility (often the types of content LXPs host aren’t even compatible with LMSs.)

The content itself is usually (not always) less prescriptive in a Learning Experience Platform. It’s often less immediately quantifiable and there’s no ‘finish’ point. While content pathways and longer courses are available in LXPs, they’re joined by lots of micro-learning and thought-pieces in a more holistic learning ecosystem.

How do they use learning data?

An LMS will track some data. Although it’s usually quite rudimentary. Metrics include: whether learners have completed training, their assessment scores, and drop off rates. While there is much more data to collect, it’s not something you expect as standard with a normal Learning Management System. 

As a rule, LXPs do a lot more with the data - which translates to the learning they provide being more accurate and engaging. This is partially because LXPs have moved on from the SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model). SCORM basically set out a group of protocols and principles that all LMS content had to follow - just like a key has to be a particular shape to fit into a lock.

But, the LXP has unlocked its doors. This is thanks to xAPI and its equivalents that allow a wider variety of event parameters. Now, an LXP can get its data from wider sources, integrating them into a fuller picture. Key examples include mobile usage (which accounts for 40% of learning), real world performance (which allows leaders to see if learning is actually working), and HR management (which gives leaders a view of talent). 

The data LXPs can potentially use spans from the beginning to the end of the process. They can analyse and integrate internal and external information to help figure out key skills for your organisation; they can analyse the material of your content to better match it to the right skills; they can analyse HR learning data alongside learner provided information to work out which learners needs what content; and they can analyse how well content is performing, both on the LXP itself and externally, to better optimise employee engagement. 

It’s not yet the big ticket item, but learning data analysis is one area where LXPs are breaking ground LMSs haven’t yet sighted.

Ultimately, to create a compelling data-driven learning content strategy, you need the data. Nowadays, nearly half of company leaders say they don’t have a prioritised learning plan. Without direction, learning initiatives don’t work. Learning content is the means by which we enact learning plans, but for most companies, this is not in the right order. Having access and understanding your learning data goes hand in hand with having a scalable data-driven learning content strategy. 

Social learning

This is a feature the LXP has really expanded. Although some of the more advanced LMSs boast social features, the Learning Experience Platform is better formatted for them and far more likely to provide. 

Firstly, the LXP caters for a broader range of learning options than the LMS. It’s usually not difficult to use your LXP to set up an online class or webinar. 

LXPs also provide a chance for learners to share their opinions on content: liking, sharing, or commenting on an article or online class. Users can follow and interact with others, above or below them in the organisation. Sometimes LXPs even provide people curation, matching learners and mentors. 

Users also have a chance to make the LXP their own by setting up a personalised profile page. It might seem low-priority, but a sense of ownership usually corresponds with a boost in engagement. 

As well prepared as Learning & Development leaders are, there’ll be things that people doing a job every day will know that you won’t. They can use their personal experience to recommend or create learning content in an LXP. This helps on-the-job learning and gives employees a greater chance of picking up the skills they need to progress in their role. 

Not all LXPs have all features. The category is too new for there to be a conclusive set that every LXP must have. However, here are some of the key ones you should expect.

Content curation/personalisation

LXPs are for getting content to people. And so, if they have a fundamental feature, it’s this. All LXPs will allow admins and users to curate content and put it on the platform.

Some LXPs do more than others. Often there’s little overall curation assistance, with administrators and users left to curate and pull together content without any technological aid. In others, algorithms help administrators to select content that fits organisational skills frameworks.

A greater proportion of LXPs personalise content. Users will usually share some information about themselves when they initially set up a profile. Learning Experience Platforms will then pick out content that suits the user’s job title/expressed interests. Similarly, AI can also be used to enrich learning pathways with automatically selected content.

Filtered LXP - Your goals sections

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Most LXPs will advertise this without giving much detail. That’s partially because AI is a nebulous term that can refer to so many applications. It’s also because AI is a good marketing buzzword.

Theoretically, many of an LXP’s features can be augmented by AI. But most often it’s surrounding content curation and personalisation. In some providers, algorithms use machine learning to use the text and metadata of a piece to match it to an organisation’s skills framework (the Filtered LXP is a pioneer of this method, which we’ve called “content intelligence”).

More commonly, LXPs use artificial intelligence to improve a user’s recommendations. They ‘learn’ the type of content that a user responds to and factor that in, alongside their business needs, when recommending learning.

User-generated content 

In many organisations now, learning is so broad that content generation is being overtaken by content curation. However, LXPs often have provisions for the creation of content to help deal with content overload.

What you can do depends on the LXP. Some have internal authoring provisions, others can integrate with authoring tools. Similarly, some will allow you to create simple textual content whereas others will cater for video and interactive learning.

Learning pathways/playlists

You create a learning playlist by stringing together pieces of content in a specific order. Like a course, the idea is that each piece of content acts as a stepping stone so that you can appreciate the next one.

These can be created by admins or individual users. Often the level of user vs admin control can be configured. 

Filtered LXP - Create a playlist

User interface and user experience

The X is the LXP’s defining letter. And, as a result, all Learning Experience Platforms are constantly optimising user experience on their platforms. In most cases, learning platform UX is critical to drive user engagement. 

The learning user interface (UI) is often similar to the successful consumer platform approach, with content represented by ‘cards’ users can click on. But, even if the presentation varies, all Learning Experience Platforms are designed to make everything slick.

LXPs use powerful search, recommendations and SSO (single sign-ons) to make the journey from user to content fast and smooth.

Some LXPs enhance their user experience through engagement campaigns. These can be tailored and targeted, with the purpose of keeping users coming back to learning and, eventually, building habits around it.

Filtered UX - setup complete

Mobile app 

40% of learning is now done on a mobile device. Learning Experience Platforms correspondingly have made their offerings mobile friendly.

Social learning

All LXPs will have some social features but there’s more variety here. On the whole, users will be able to share content, as well as like and comment articles.

Some LXPs provide livesharing features as well as collaborative learning. Similarly, some have user databases where novices can search out experts.

Some Learning Experience Platforms even provide mentoring matchmaking capability (think AI-enhanced content personalisation but with people instead). 

Filtered LXP - Your recommended matches

Deep integrations

LXPs are built on their ability to integrate with almost anything. That’s part of their customer appeal over an LMS. While a Learning Management System had to have SCORM-specific content and all learning had to be practised and recorded on the platform, LXPs are far more flexible. This flexibility extends to the content that LXPs can hold, who can write the content, the data they can collect, and where you can use the Learning Experience Platform. 

There’s currently a boom of integrations with workplace platforms like Slack or MS Teams. LXPs are making themselves accessible from within the spaces people are already working to limit working-learning friction.

Data reporting

The LXPs heightened flexibility and integration capacity gives it more data to work with. This varies, but many Learning Experience Platforms can track what content was opened, by whom, for how long, and how they rated it. Through this information, you can see what type of learning, in what medium, at what time works best for each person. 

They can also track data from activity that didn’t happen on the LXP itself through xAPI or similar technology. So, LXPs can track external engagement campaigns, employee performance in-work, and HR data. 

Although the LXP market is relatively new, LXPs have shot up and carved out a chunk of L&D budget spending. In 2018 the market size was over $350 million and had been doubling every year. 

Because the LXP market’s so new, it’s hard to know how to differentiate between LXP vendors or which one is the best. There is, however, a lot of difference. From the inside, here’s what the main LXP providers offer.

Filtered

Full disclosure: Filtered is our own LXP — so we certainly believe it belongs at the top of this list. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only solution on the market, it’s just the only one capable of combating content overload

Overload is the biggest barrier to learner engagement (it’s costing the US just under $1 trillion a year). It renders content unmanageable and unfindable. Consequently, learners can’t get hold of what they want and give up, neutralizing all the effort you’ve put into user experience, personalisation, integrations, and social learning. 

Filtered beats this with content intelligence. Content intelligence is a technological process through which Filtered harmonizes a business’s skill model, auto-tags its library according to those skills, and recommends useful content via the Filtered interface, email nudges and MS Teams.

Alongside all of this, Filtered provides everything you’d expect of the best LXP: AI assisted pathways, iterative data analysis, and deep integrations

smart LXP Learning Experience Platform Filtered

Degreed

Degreed is the largest LXP market player at the moment. It sits on top of an LMS and utilises a democratised approach to content recommendations, rather than a top-down one. It’s stated purpose is to “connect learning and career growth to business opportunities”. 

In practice, it’s an “all in one” provider that handles all learning content, creates pathways easily, integrates with the LMS, tracks skills and offers talent management functionality. And, like all Learning Experience Platforms, it’s a lot easier to use than a Learning Management System. 

Depending on your content provisions, one potential issue is the extra content Degreed brings in. It can become overfilled which hinders its ability to recommend quality content. Given the high price of the platform, this might impact the overall return on investment. However, this can be rectified with clever use of content intelligence.

Edcast

Edcast is the second biggest Learning Experience Platform out there. The platform pitches itself as a “knowledge management solution” and uses artificial intelligence and workflow integrations to share learning in an effective way. 

The LXP’s real stand-out is its integration capability. It integrates with Chrome, Teams, Facebook Workplace and others to put learning in learners’ paths. It’s also less expensive than the number one. 

One issue that has been anecdotally reported is that the platform’s high technical ambition leads to navigation difficulty and system instability.

Equally, implementation of the platform is reportedly difficult. How easy or hard it is to get an LXP up and running is generally down to customer success provisions (Filtered’s use a semi-consultative method to make sure no snags arise).

Valamis

Valamis specialises in space technology and health organisations. It emphasises personalisation and measurement. 

The pain point it strives to hit is the “time famine”. It does this through an engaging user experience, data science, and integrations.

One area in which Valamis aims to differentiate is in e-commerce. This feature can be used to sell a business’s or providers' learning content to a wider audience. 

Fuse

Fuse is engagement-focussed. Its main selling point is its social learning enablement. Users can easily share, like, and comment on learning content. They can also set up communities of practice. 

Technologically, one feature that Fuse distinguishes itself through is automatic content translation and transcription.

LinkedIn Learning

Definitions are tricky here. Linkedin Learning is not an LXP in the traditional sense - it’s more individual than organisational and can function as a single-user platform. However, the platform has used the LXP methodology to make its own content engaging and user personalised. 

There are some downsides. The video-heavy content might not suit everybody. Similarly, the platform’s crowd-sourced approach means there’s little tying content to overall business goals.

LXP integrations

A core benefit of the LXP is its swiss-army-knife-like capacity to integrate with anything. This capability has rendered it more than just a hub for content, it pulls together everything in a business’s learning ecosystem (and beyond). The options really are boundless, given the LXP’s ability to accommodate stuff, but, here are some key things LXPs integrate with:

Content

This sounds like a given. But, with the old LMS, the SCORM system meant that content had to follow a set of rules to make it onto the platform. LXPs have no such entry requirements, so any type of content your business needs can be easily hosted. 

LMS

LXPs have decided to both beat and join them. By integrating with LMSs, LXPs can bring the valuable LMS course/compliance capabilities into its unified learning platform. 

Devices 

40% of online learners primarily rely on their phones to do it. LXPs have quickly caught on to the need to develop apps. Consequently, learners have a greater choice of when and how to do their learning. 

AI

LXPs often herald their own AI features (which are powerful) to personalise learning. But, through integrations with AI solutions, they have the capacity to widen what learning can achieve. 

For example LXPs can integrate with AI powered data integration and analysis engines, natural language processing, adaptive assessments, digital tutors… The list is endless and constantly growing.

Business communications software

Especially post COVID-19, day-to-day business increasingly takes place online. Either on email or business communication software like Slack, Facebook Workplace, or MS Teams. 

LXPs can integrate with all of these. This means that learning can be recommended, and even take place, in the spaces in which people are already working. Engagement campaigns can be run through a mix of these channels to further boost the numbers taking part in learning. 

Data sources 

Like content, this is similarly a “all are accepted” situation for LXPs. They have the capacity to bring together disparate sources from different areas of your business. 

They can pull together data from HR systems, CRMs, corporate intranet, external devices, and external platforms. Combined with analytics software that LXPs can accommodate, this integrated information can give L&D next to omnipresence over a learning ecosystem.

LXPs don’t automatically fix learning problems. They can exponentially increase learning’s business importance and uptake, but only in the right conditions. From our experience, there are some of the key indicators that a Learning Experience Platform will be a success. The more of these you can put in place, the more likely the LXP is to revolutionise learning in your business. 

Learning goals tethered to strategy

Businesses that want to learn for the sake of it are rarely successful. The ones that work have a clear aim - they bought the Learning Experience Platform to align with a business initiative. They shouldn’t just want to upskill, they need to ask themselves “why?”

If learning goals are tied to a specific business strategy it’s far easier to agree on what skills you need. This, in turn, allows you to tag the learning you put in front of your people, making it more productised and targeted.

Learning initiatives are also more likely to inspire engagement and buy-in at multiple levels of an organisation if there’s a tangible business goal to reach.

Content control

The biggest flaw in most LXPs is that they pour fuel on the fire of content overload. 

Most businesses have too much content. They don’t need more, they need to filter it. Avoid LXPs that just chuck in more learning. This leaves learners in the lurch as they can’t find the content they need amongst the mess.

The key to controlling your content is alignment. Businesses get that by working out what they want to achieve and the skills they need to get there. Only content which fits that criteria should be kept - and then only if there’s not another piece of content fulfilling the same purpose.

Communications 

If learning departments have the right connections, and the means to communicate en masse, they can wield influence organically without having to spend. The best LXPs can orchestrate these campaigns directly through multiple channels.

The best suited departments for digital learning are those that can directly communicate with the business without having to check in with marketing/comms teams. Or if they do, they have a great relationship with them.

Being able to send regular, company-wide emails without unnecessary delays allows learning departments to efficiently respond to changing external circumstances, as well as their learners’ needs. This flexibility is best compatible with the agility an LXP provides.

Other communications software is a good sign. If learning departments have a presence on instant communications platforms like Slack or MS Teams, we can help them conduct multi-channel nudge campaigns to amplify engagement. And, they’re fertile ground for flow-of-work integrations.

In enterprise companies, we’ve found that personal connections are as much of a factor as geography. If a centralised learning department based in the UK wants to launch an initiative in Egypt, the learning manager must have a good relationship with the leader in Egypt for it to get off the ground. 

Senior buy-in

If a leading part of the business is invested in a learning initiative, a lot of stumbling blocks disappear. Learning departments often find it hard to get engagement with their communications. This is less likely when the CEO’s name is attached.

Equally, there’s no better way to ensure that learning is aligned with business objectives, or that learning initiatives are well funded. Culturally, having a CEO vocally on-board with learning makes people think twice before putting it aside for more immediately pressing tasks. Getting CEO buy-in seems daunting, but it’s as much about technique as luck.

Faith in the data

A successful learning platform starts and ends with data. Before an LXP starts, you need a skills framework, whose accuracy relies on data. Applying that skills framework to the content requires converting text and metadata to a single metric you analyse. Data then shows you whether your platform and approach is working, and where to fix it. 

Integrated data analysis expertise is the optimum you can ask for - it’ll make the implementation of an LXP smoother. But, first and foremost, the learning department and stakeholders need to have faith in data-driven learning.  

data-backed Skills framework

The speed of innovation is changing how people learn. Vanguard companies are setting a new standard for an agile, skills locked type of learning that’s quick to respond to immediate needs. 

LXPs will have to serve up learning that fits skills framework needs as close to instantly as possible. And that learning needs to stick - so it needs to be deeper and aligned to the actual process of work.

Three areas of technology are poised to make this possible: AI, augmented/virtual reality, and integrations. 

Immersive learning 

A problem with business-specific learning is that it’s training people to do complicated, in-depth tasks, but the only means of teaching is through reading and watching. You don’t learn to ride a bike by reading a book. AR and VR allow learners to get their hands (virtually) dirty. 

Correspondingly, in the future, LXPs will tailor learning that virtually replicates the reality they’re teaching for. Learners will be able to virtually interact with the tasks they’re training for in real-time. In some industries, this is already happening: technical workers in dangerous sectors are learning tasks, ahead of time, in virtual reality; warehouse workers are using VR to view the digital blueprints of packages they’re handling. 

This technology has huge potential in the knowledge sector. Experiential learning through VR and AR will sharpen the learning curve for onboarders. At the same time, social learning will become more impactful as teachers can get far more in depth with the practicalities of a topic. 

Deeper customer focus

A, potentially counterintuitive, improvement that machine learning will bring about is a renewed focus on “softer” human skills. For example, technology like facial recognition software will allow LXPs to offer a new type of training and assessment. 

Using it, learning programs can pick up on the interpersonal dynamics that trainers might have missed, at a scale they could never reach. Through these kinds of means, LXPs will be able to bring about a tighter focus on human skills through new technology. 

Enhanced relationship between user and LXP

Natural language processing (NLP) can revolutionize how LXPs and users interact. For example, LXPs, through integrations into email and social applications, will be able to pick out areas of communication and recommend content. 

So, if a particular user is sending messages about how they don’t understand a process, or a new innovation is being brought up in multiple conversations throughout an organisation, an LXP will be able to personalise learning content (or a teacher) to an individual. 

This greater understanding of the wider context through NLP could even lead to LXPs taking on ‘virtual mentor’ roles, pointing out learning needs before they become apparent.

More data-driven learning 

Machine learning and deeper integrations will give LXPs a clearer and wider perspective on learning needs. Smart systems will learn not only from someone’s previous learning experience but also from external factors, such as changes in a business’s workflows or from an employee’s personal characteristics.

With more data being collectable, and AI with the power to integrate it, LXPs will be able to pinpoint specific learner needs within a far greater context. This means that any given piece of learning will be more likely to engage the learner in the first place and provide a measurable return on investment. 

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