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Learning & Development

Path(way)s

May 20, 2019

Photo by Jaanus Jagomägi on Unsplash

Most LXPs and LMSs have a feature that sounds like a path or pathway now. Champions of the idea make bold claims about it. So I spoke to some learning buyers and sellers, read some of what’s been written on the subject, looked at what the ultra-successful tech firms outside of learning do to lay out content for users, and came to the conclusions below.

The literature online on the topic is fuzzy and inconsistent, starting with the definitions of paths (tend to be chosen by a centrally located expert, less flexible) vs pathways (tend to be chosen by user, more flexible). I’ll use this distinction here.

Paths work better for groups with a common objective or knowledge/skills gap eg new joiners. They work less well for larger or diverse groups as prescription is often going to get it wrong, feel restrictive (and irritating) to users, and be barely recognisable from full-blown compliance training. And they are unfeasible to provide individually, either by managers (almost certainly won’t all have the time) or L&D (certainly won’t have the time).

But what’s this a path or pathway through, anyway? Curate your garden/forest/jungle carefully. Combine high standards with an open mind about what goes in.

Think about how to future proof this ie make the path(way) resilient to new skills frameworks, new content (do you have to keep on manually adding them to paths), new distribution methods (Slack, Teams, email, etc), new company focuses.

How developed is the sense of self-direction, autonomy and trust in your firm? If it’s reasonably well-developed, an algorithmic (therefore scalable and more easily future-proofed) solution is more likely to work as it’s less about you must do XYZ and we need to know somehow that you’ve done XYZ.

What is there to learn from YouTube, Spotify and social media feeds? They have been successful. Of course, businesses have this corporate layer. How about removing it and have people get to content the way they do in real life?

 

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