One of my favourite holidays growing up was St. Patrick’s Day. As soon as the family calendar would flip to March, I would draw an enormous clover on the 17th to signify its importance. I would start coordinating every article of green clothing in my wardrobe and ask my friends what they were going to wear. I looked forward to the giant parade and the gold chocolate coins. My granny would tell us stories of St. Patrick. I’ve always looked forward to March 17th with a heart full of nostalgia and happy memories.
I recently had the honour of hosting Filtered’s CLO Coffee Club: Deploying an LXP. Annee Bayeux and Viv Cole graciously shared their experiences and sage advice with our global audience of L&D enthusiasts. I found it to be the perfect blend of hindsight and forward-thinking. After the session, I began thinking about what Annee and Viv shared as it related to my own experience in implementing an LXP.
If you would indulge me, I’d love to share my thoughts as they relate to a few of my favourite St. Patrick’s Day elements.
Shamrocks. According to legend, St. Patrick used the plant as a visual guide when explaining the Holy Trinity. I started thinking what would the “Holy Trinity” of the LXP be? My conclusion is the LXP Trinity would be: governance, cultural shift and data.
- Governance. Being decided on things such as design standards and main navigation are important ahead of an LXP launch. Where governance will truly save you a cleanup headache is having firm quality assurance/approval gates and robust skills taxonomy. Asset tagging shouldn’t look like a fashion blogger’s Instagram post: #blessed #learning. There is something to be said for giving employees in your organisation freedom within a framework. Ensuring that the learner experience needs to be your touchstone. You can have both quantity and quality with the right governance in place.
- Cultural shift. If the only time employees have engaged with learning was in the spirit of compliance, launching an LXP could prove to be a heavy lift. Let me use a TED talk as an example. During precall banter, someone mentioned a great TED talk about emotional intelligence. Since this is a skill you are working to develop, you jot down the name of the talk. As you are taking a break in between meetings, you decide to watch the talk. You hear the footsteps of your manager coming towards you. If you minimize that browser window and pull up a project plan, your learning culture needs some work. The same is true of the manager’s reaction to that employee in that same scenario. What you say and how you behave need to be in lockstep to ensure LXP success.
- Data. Along the lines of governance, data and reporting will help you make important decisions for the LXP. Which assets are being flagged most useful by learners? Which are not? Who are your platform’s early adopters? Who are the laggards? and WHY! Learning why will help you revise and refresh content and the UI. Pilot data will be crucial so you can fine tune ahead of launch. You also need to jump in and experiment early - nothing you can plan will match up to the value of real data and feedback.
And if you are truly lucky and find a Four-Leaf Clover, I would say that fourth leaf is a true partnership with your LXP vendor. A vendor that will advise you in the trinity above and help keep your head above water is truly a lucky find and rare.
St. Patrick’s Day vs. Paddy’s Day. There is a definite distinction between the two. One seems to have structure, organisation, and formality. The other implies rumpus, informality, and a pint of Guinness. Same could be said of LMS vs. LXP. The names alone are a heavy clue: learning MANAGEMENT system and learning EXPERIENCE platform. The LMS needs to be structured and formal, as it often houses necessary certifications and compliance courses. The LXP should be a bit of a rumpus…just without a pint of Guinness. It is the “push” training from the LMS and “pulled” learning from the LXP. When learning is curated well within the LXP, learners will keep coming back and socialize their experience with others, thus bringing more people to the party. Learners deserve to know if you are inviting them to Paddy’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. There is a place with both, you just need to be clear in the invitation.
Wearing Green. It seems anyone can be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green regalia. This tradition was popularized by Irish immigrants in the United States who believed that wearing green made them invisible to fairy creatures who pinch anyone they see. Depending on how democratised your LXP is, the same could be said of being a learning curator. Anyone within the organisation could “wear green” for the day and load content and/or curate a learning path. I have seen first-hand how quickly the LXP can become loaded with broken links, mistagged assets, and poorly constructed playlists. It is with the best of intentions and the yearning to help. Filtered’s Content Intelligence can help support smart curation and drastically reduce the amount of time “spent in the wardrobe looking for something green to wear” so to speak. My advice is to create governance that allows people to “wear green” and curate, while keeping the fairy creatures responsible for backend management of the LXP content.
Parades. Let’s not forget the fanfare of the parade! I am fond of how the community turns out in support of the parade, either participating in the event or cheering in the audience. It can take months of behind-the-scenes planning and committee meetings to ensure success. Planning parade routes, establishing timing, organising marchers for the procession, marketing the event are just a few of the things you need to plan for. The same is true in the anticipated launch of your LXP. From IT to operations, from HR to marketing...it will take a village to socialise and plan for your deployment. Get many within your organisation to plan and participate in your parade, or in this case go-live day. Share the excitement and responsibility of deployment with functions outside of L&D; more hands make less work. Plus, you may be glad you did when you are needing to sweep up the confetti.
I could ramble on and on, but you have a fun day to be off celebrating. You can also check out the recording of the keynotes and panel here. I hope you can join us next time when we discuss bringing smart tech into your learning strategy. Until then, may every petal on the shamrock bring you joy and good luck.