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The future is a Learning Ecosystem

Updated: Dec 5, 2018

The Future is a learner-centric 'Learning Ecosystem'

“The future of learning is dependent on a group of closely coupled and integrated technologies. Creating a complete ecosystem for learner engagement and learning delivery.”

The recent and rapid emergence of the integration capability at the API and xAPI levels is steering new paths for learner access and engagement. Providing access to a diverse range of learning content.

Social Learning & Collaboration are key for learners. And in thinking in terms of learning content - simplicity of access is key. Immediacy of that access. Brevity in learning engagement are all paramount.

Ease of that access means, finding the right content quickly; specific content curated for the individual learner. Learning content that is specific to the role or task at hand for the learner. Directed immediately to the right content. Which is easily found at precisely the right time.

The ecosystem; a series of integrated learning system components. Feeding core and related articles. All documents and learning resources that support that task or process at hand. In an immediate sense.

"The pace of change is driven by an individual learners perspective and immediate requirements. “I need to know, what I want to know. Now. In order to complete this xyz task."

The real change factor to consider is the need to be totally ‘learner-centric’. Engaging and supporting learners with knowledge. Informing and helping people at center of the new Ecosystem.

Feeding them the right information, delivered to the right person, at the right time. Focused on achieving a valued outcome.

That in turn, can make a tangible difference to the outcome. Including specific tasks, individual success, and job satisfaction.

The learning Ecosystem needs to be task, learner, and learning resource(s) aware. To provide correct content at the ‘right time’ for delivery to the learner.

The right content for immediate consumption, to survive the ‘term of relevance/immediate need for the learner’ it serves.

This notion, in-it-self, would seem to challenge so much about traditional learning and gaining skills and qualifications. I’m not about challenging that argument or view-point.

As much as the notion, that the work place, what-ever that means for you. Is a fast paced, highly varied, always changing environment.

The reality is, the demand model of a typical workplace drives a need for constant re-invention to remain relevant and competitive. New developments, goals and business measures always changing. Which means for most, an increased and continually increasing pace of change.

“I’m reminded that LED lighting we now use so readily. Is not an evolution of the candle.”

Is the IT evolution process dead – there’s a thought.. Many IT folk may hate me for this. However it would seem so in this discussion. As the new technologies are no longer just an extension of legacy LMS’s and learning content resources. As the case has been in the past. It now depends on that learning ecosystem embracing a whole host of technical capabilities. Capabilities to connect both to, and beyond, the reach of those legacy solutions.

Building a parallel implementation of a totally new environment could be a much better (and cheaper) solution. To be able build new capability and do so, divorced from the old systems that will hold the development back. The alternate, risks restraining its very success. Perhaps even under-mining the value or potential of modifying systems in the first place.

My recommendation is Cloud first. Fully connected, integrated learning Ecosystem’. Start with a clean slate. Source a fully integrated Ecosystem and spend more of the limited L&D available resource time applied to.

Focus on ‘doing what you do, or need to do’.

All effort applied to meet the changing pace and business demand. Supported and augmented with real-time access to all required and needed resources.

Is an LMS still part of the ecosystem? Yes definitely, a key part. It needs however to be an integrated part of the ecosystem. Have a fully integrated Learning Record Store (LRS). To store, retrieve and serve existing LMS content/courses to the learners.

That integrated LRS should also retrieve, track and store all xAPI learning events/records for the learner. Records for all learning activity inside and outside of the organisation. Creating a complete ‘learner-centric’ view of learning achievements.

“This new learning ecosystem orbits around the learner.”

It needs to have SCORM support capability for existing course content, and xAPI – Experience API to extend the knowledge sources. Content sources, learning repositories, reaching out to any appropriate learning content source. Providing record, storing and analytics capability far beyond SCORM.

To achieve a place in the future ecosystem the LMS must also be truly flexible. With inherent ability to channel the right curated content to the right target audience. Finely target down to the individual. It must also be, critically for the learner, simple to find the right content. Finding it Immediately (a major failing of many legacy systems).

A trick here is shift your thinking to people first - “Think ‘People-centric’. Not people at the fringe.”

That means for certain, the ecosystem employed needs to be a cohesive group of learning technologies. Technologies that first and foremost respect the 'learner first approach'.

Recording and storing all learning activity both inside and outside the current organisation. For the individual learner, being a total repository of all accreditation's, awards, course completions, certificates and competencies achieved.

Making sure that rewarding learners for completion and engagement with formal and compliance training. Providing recognition of new skills added, and learning undertaken. All key aspects of the new learning ethos.

The resulting consolidated learner record is a tangible evidence base for the activity and engagement of any individual. More than that, the consolidated learning records provide a rich information and skill source. Delivering learner and business the potential for deep analytical capability. Analytics that far exceed current learning solutions.

Those integrated technologies are the basis of the future success of a 'Learning Ecosystem'.

Success for your learners and your business.

John Driscoll 8/10/2018

+61 (0)8 8311 3713

Level 3 | 97 Pirie Street | South Australia | SA 5214

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