As corporate eLearning expands beyond the LMS and increasingly takes place on platforms spanning a broad learning technology stack, L&D teams face greater challenges in presenting a cohesive and intuitive user experience (UX).
Also termed “learner experience” or LX, the UX has moved from physical classrooms, to virtual classrooms, to the entire digital ecosystem. Corporate digital learning still occurs in eLearning courses and virtual classrooms, but it increasingly occurs outside those spaces on mobile devices and social platforms, and via informal collaborations, through curated content, and in other digital spaces integrated with learners’ workflow and work performance.
As each platform, app, and content item might be created by a separate company—or even by learners themselves—tracking employees’ learning paths and ensuring that they can access high-quality, relevant materials on demand becomes more difficult. L&D teams can take charge of the learning technology stack and improve UX by planning ahead, particularly in these five areas:
- Unified log-in: In many corporations, the LMS has been the central—and exclusive—repository of eLearning. Employees are accustomed to logging in to the LMS to access any and all training and tools. As platforms are added, these learners may become frustrated if they are asked to log into each app and site individually. The problem is compounded if their log-in credentials, such as user names, profiles, and passwords are different. “Users should not be required to log in and populate a user profile separately in each learning platform. Integrating the platforms with single sign-on and shared user accounts makes access easier, more direct, and seamless,” Steve Foreman wrote in his recent eLearning Guild research report, Trends in Learning Technology.
- Robust search: The ideal learning path for an employee might include some eLearning courses from the LMS, a selection of curated content, participation in a discussion forum with colleagues, and targeted information and questions from a chatbot app. But that learner shouldn’t have to search in four separate platforms to see if relevant content exists. Foreman suggests offering either aggregated or federated search. Aggregated search would perform a single search operation across the entire learning technology stack. A federated search would trigger a search on the same keywords in each platform. Either way, the learner would get one set of results in a single location—ideally with an easy navigation path to each of the individual components of her learning journey.
- It’s all connected: Overlay technology, using HTML or other tagging, that enables related content to be linked across platforms. For many L&D teams, a learning experience platform (LXP) is an ideal way to pull together the searching, linking, and cross-referencing functions to provide a coherent gateway to all learning opportunities, whether in the LMS or elsewhere in the technology stack.
- Recommend and target: Boost search and increase the odds that learners will find the content they need with a recommendation engine. These tools put predictive analytics to work to identify content that fits with what a learner is searching for, taking into consideration training she has already completed, as well as her performance on prior training and in key job metrics. This creates an adaptive, highly-personalized learning path that homes in on areas where the learner needs to bolster existing skills or add new ones.
- Leverage data: The more coherent the learner’s training path, the more plentiful and useful the data. And, using an LXP along with a learning record store (LRS) or other data “warehouse,” managers and the L&D team can track and analyze individuals’ progress and gain insight into the overall effectiveness of the various learning platforms in the learning technology stack.
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As corporate training and performance support move to a multiplatform learning technology stack, L&D teams may need to put as much emphasis on creating and maintaining an intuitive, engaging, and coherent UX as they do on creating and maintaining high-quality content. Download The eLearning Guild’s research report Trends in Learning Technology to explore many of the technologies available to enhance corporate eLearning and training, improve UX, and understand emerging technological challenges and opportunities.