Updated: May 7
A Learning Ecosystem could just be the most important piece of the future business infrastructure.
This list is my Top 'How to Build a Learning Ecosystem - Questions that have been asked'.
For many this may be teaching you how to ‘suck-eggs’, not my plan, however for the rest this could be a useful place to start the thinking and plan for a Corporate Learning Ecosystem.
All questions were all raised by current corporate L&D folk. You know who are, and I thank you.
They were L&D people thinking on the leading edge of new L&D delivery and learning engagement, however not quite understanding the learning ecosystem & technology options available to them.
Figured I tackle a few of the top questions I got and see if they resonate for you – happy if you want to PM me or comment with any burning questions you have.
1) Does the LMS get replaced by an LXP?
This was simply the best question – I thought simple, and yet on reflection, I don’t think I’ve seen this answered before. The answer however is a ‘Yes and No’.
You make your own decisions based on learning plans, strategies and needs.
The reality is from the learner perspective the LXP replaces the LMS. What that means is the learner engages with the LXP, based on Skills, Plans, Pathways, Groups or Aspiration based learning, Career Paths etc. Engages within the LXP with like-minded Groups and Follows thought leaders and Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) – pertinent to their own role, and/or planned career goals and paths. This very step has been the shortfall of LMS’s and why they perform so lowly on the monthly return ratios for learners.
So, for the Learner the LXP becomes the path, interface and guide to all learning.
If, however your business has a large portfolio of good learning content, that is critical for Compliance, Professional Standards or similar, then keep it. The LMS content is curated (the new key role for L&D to embrace) and included at the L&D teams’ discretion, into those learning Pathways or Skills acquisition paths in the LXP.
What the learner does not necessarily know now, is the source of the content – only the relevance to something they selected to complete. Nor did they have to search for it. This very action in most cases adds significantly to the use, consumption, as well as, completion of LMS content.
Completions of LMS content or courses included in the LXP learning path, are fed back via the LXP integration to the LMS, as a system of record for the LMS content. If the content was a part of a Skills acquisition, up-skilling or re-skilling path the record and level of those skills are always (in the case of Degreed) visible on the Personal learner page, Skills levels are also on the Insights page and or in reports as required.
If you hate your LMS, and many do – get rid of it, or the best possible outcome will not be achieved. Head instead to a modern LMS like the Agylia LMS* that has a fully Integrated xAPI capability, and a Learning Record Store.
Flexibility of the LMS, its technical integration capability will allow it participate in the ecosystem and pay big dividends in the future Learning Ecosystem Plan.
2) Can we use the LMS and an LXP?
Yes, you can – the Degreed LXP will already integrate at all the levels and data points required.
If, as noted above, you don’t like the LMS – change it, flexibility and technical integration will be the key (caveats as above). Make sure, if you change it, you choose, Cloud based, SaaS applications. Applications that support xAPI, API, and if possible, have an integrated LRS (Learning Record Store). Ones that have a content creation tool that simplify the capability to include new learning content, revise or update and extend that content with an HTML5 content creator.
This will make L&D life simpler, faster, be able to be more responsive to business needs. And take the content mobile.
3) How do they connect (LMS & LXP) to other systems like HR?
The Degreed LXP (added a picture to help with this below) connects the Learners to everything. Everyone connected to everything is the start point for a successful Learning Ecosystem.
The LMS will be dependent on what you have (the LMS, its technical ability) – don’t spend a fortune to create API connections (if it supports API) before you plan where you will store, and what will be the System of Record.
The easiest long-term path is to have the LXP as the Learner interface and the LMS as one of the content feeds or sources for the Learning pathways you build in the LXP.
4) Where does xAPI fit in with this?
Flexible LXP's fully supports xAPI for all the external learning your users undertake (outside of your business) and probably has an LRS too, so can update the required records to the LRS, the LXP as well as the LMS.
The key is everybody connected to everything. Everything in sync – Skills become the key, not the unique learning content. That content is a contributor to Skills acquisition and capability.
5) We just upgraded the LMS do we keep it?
Your call entirely, if you have the features noted above. If, however it does not, LMS vendors have been very slow to deliver this kind of capability – in the most part it requires major re-work, or total new applications - no small task. Take a long view, and if needed revise the plan.
6) Can we connect the LXP to our favorite learning content providers we subscribe to?
Yes, best answered in a diagram to show the breadth and range of content that can be accessed via the Degreed LXP - too many choices and sources to list.
7) How do we record, track and manage Skills in the business?
This becomes the domain of the LXP. In the context of Degreed, Skills are the core of all learning. In fact, its fair to say all learning is in the pursuit and acquisition of Skills, new skills, re-skilling or up-skilling. Those Skills paths (including curated content) are the core of the business.
Any learner can start by defining their own Skills and Skill level. That can be self-assessed, management assessed or certified as a qualification if required. The key to this, is learners themselves can see what Skills they have, versus the Skills required for their own role.
More effectively they can see what skills they need for any other role in the business they would wish to aspire to. They can define what are the skill gaps, or new skills required, for that the new job/role, and undertake the self-learning to reach the required level.
The business can use the same Skills data to understand the Skills they have at their disposal, where they are strong, where they are weak and what Skills gaps are emerging as the business moves forward. Each skill as defined in the business can be seen by the number and level of Skilled people with those skills. For businesses growing in sophistication in the Skills arena, they can apply the ‘Skills Quotient’ to the overall skills to get absolute clarity of the Corporate capability, skills, risks and target areas to grow new capability and Skills.
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