By 2026, the global Learning Experience Platform market is expected to reach $2.2 billion. For buyers, this could become a “more money more problems” type of situation (to quote The Notorious LXP). With a bigger market, new providers are springing up and becoming more boutique. Already there are players that specialise in video content, tech companies, enterprise or startups, bottom-up curation, consultative approaches…
At the same time, the LXP market is still relatively new. So buyers won’t necessarily know which features to expect to get for their buck. While some are pretty fundamental, there are several differentiators that LXP buyers might not know about.
Some LXPs won’t have these at all. Far more will claim they do but provide limited functionality. But, the more of these your LXP provides, and the better it provides them - as delivered by an experienced customer success team - the more they’ll be able to boost learning’s effectiveness, efficiency, and engagement in your organisation.
1) Smart customisation options
Why it matters
The Nielsen Norman Group (researchers into user experience) place great stock in a concept they call Omnichannel Consistency. Omnichannel Consistency refers to a consistent design, style, layout, and language between different channels/systems within a broader organisation. They’ve found that this provides four key benefits:
- Familiarity - A consistent experience makes users comfortable with a platform because they know what to expect
- Learnability - Consistent experiences make it easier for users to pick up a new platform within the same system
- Efficiency - When users are faced with consistent designs, their familiarity helps them complete tasks quicker
- Trust - Users crave consistent outcomes. The more their actions engender the effects they expect, the safer they’ll feel using a platform.
Each of these effects of omnichannel consistency is key for learner engagement. In big companies, not every employee will know that a learning initiative is being launched, and fewer still will engage with it. Having a system that looks and feels like what they already know (the company intranet, branding, similar platforms) will help learners take the leap onto a new platform and stay there.
There are a number of ways the LXPs can customise themselves for clients. When Filtered works with a client, we change the platform to fit the organisation’s design scheme and internal language. Similarly, clients can brand the platform or advertise initiatives on customisable hero banners.
Equally, the content the end user sees can be organised by top skill, recommendations based on user activity, structured or curated playlists (more on that later), bookmarks, explore (a section of algorithmically prioritised playlists).
Even better, communications campaigns are also branded in line with the company. If emails, instant messages, newsletters etc. look like official company business, employees will take them more seriously.
2) Learning pathways/playlists
Why it matters
Research has found that too many learning options causes choice paralysis. That’s why curation is so central to the Filtered method. But, L&D can do more than just narrow down the options, it can also structure learning for learners.
A 2011 study found that medical adherence was significantly improved when individuals understood the relationship between various treatment choices. Specifically: “people handle complex decisions better if they are helped to think through options hierarchically, in manageable sets”. The same principle applies to learning. If learners know where they’ve come from, where they’re going, and how the two rely on each other - they feel more empowered to take it all on. The problem of trust is taken out of the equation because learners can justify their own learning.
Community colleges in the US have begun to follow the same path. A study into success rates found that, when learning was structured and critical milestones were pointed out, students were more likely to complete their courses.
Learning pathways in an LXP can be created or curated. Courses intentionally put learning into sequences whereas, often, learning departments or managers pull together pathways from existing materials.
The problem with the second group is that finding the right content and sequencing it is time consuming. Luckily there are some ways around that. When Filtered works with companies, it applies its Content Intelligence technology to automatically find content and fit it into specific playlists that can be completed sequentially.
These playlists can be assigned to a group of users based on fields received via single sign on, based on their responses to questions during the onboarding process, or on grouping which is handled behind the scenes by the success team based on a client’s criteria.
3) User-generated content
Why it matters
No matter how good your curation, there are still going to be some company-specific things that external content can’t cover. User-generated content is essential to plugging these gaps.
On top of this, learners find it easier to get value out of content that’s applicable to their individual jobs. If you use organisation specific scenarios or refer to internal data data, you can transplant learning into the working world that the users inhabit. Indeed, our data has found that clients use internally generated content at a higher rate than external.
Although it’s clearly effective, making internal learning content is time consuming and difficult. You need to get someone to take time off their day-to-day work to invest in something without immediate ROI. LXPs that allow content to be created within the platform remove a lot of road blocks.
There’s also a variety issue. For an all round learning corpus, learners need authentication, skills hubs, academies, customised playlists, and microcontent. Notoriously, it’s a challenge to get learning content to integrate. While LXPs aren’t constrained by the SCORM system like older LMSs, it’s still enough of a technical challenge to put content onto a system to dissuade all but the most dedicated creators. An LXP with flexible, internal provisions can bypass this problem.
Once user generated content is flowing, there’s another issue for LXPs to solve - one that very few pay enough attention to. LXPs need to find a way to manage the flow of internal content or users will be overwhelmed. Once content overload happens, users can’t find the learning that they genuinely need and tend to give up on platforms. To avoid this problem learning systems need to indicate where there are key gaps that user generated content can fill.
4) Behavioural nudges
Why it matters
Engagement is one of learning’s biggest challenges. People, on average, take 24 minutes a week to learn - just because learning comes second to their day-to-day jobs. But, interest in learning is high - 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. Nudge theory has proven effective at getting people to do things they know they should but can’t be bothered to do.
A good example is of the men’s room in Amsterdam’s Schipol airport that had high spillage-related cleaning costs. The authorities tackled this by etching the image of a black housefly into each urinal. The staff conducted fly-in-urinal trials and found that etchings reduce spillage by 80 percent. Small nudges can have big effects in all contexts.
With a culture of personal learning taking over a culture of training in many organisations users want to be in control. But, without being able to mandate learning, L&D needs to use subtler methods to ensure people keep up learning.
Further, nudges can be used to scaffold learning experiences. By continuously mimicking the cadence of a habit with learning nudges, LXPs can start forming learning into a habit for their learners.
Nudging learners can happen on or off the LXP itself. On the platform, users can be nudged to complete learning that they’ve started, or be given recommended content based on what they most recently learned.
Off the platform, inbox and social platform integrations can keep learners on track. You can push onboarding, catch people who have dropped off, and push relevant initiatives.
The key is being personalised and smart. Filtered, for example, uses email and MS Teams integrations to send personalised multichannel nudges. So, a user that opens an asset will be nudged to complete it. Filtered complements this with onboarding automation to 'win back' users that do not complete the onboarding process when first signing up to the platform.
5) Intelligent curation
These first four LXP features are big boosts for learning engagement and effectiveness. But, there is one fundamental feature that is so intrinsic to everything an LXP can achieve that it eclipses the rest. In fact, the effectiveness of the other features directly correlates to the quality of this one: intelligent curation.
Without effective, skills-centered curation, the learning people get won’t be practically useful. Too many LXPs curate lazily without taking the nuance of specific skills and job roles into account. Consequently, their learning content isn’t valuable enough to keep learners coming back - no matter how good the nudges or social features.
Data insight is the way to make the curation intelligent. Filtered uses the text of learning content as data - using our Content Intelligence algorithms to curate only the best stuff from massive learning libraries. We use internal data to ensure skills frameworks match job realities. And we use usage data to ensure learning is hitting the mark.
All of the features discussed here are at the core of Filtered’s own platform. To get a better idea of how the Filtered Smart LXP works for end users, explore our free instance of the platform below: