Several of the latest learning vendors focus on learning experiences rather than traditional management of learning. These vendors don’t pretend to provide all the features of an LMS. Vendors such as Axonify, Degreed, EdCast, Grovo, LinkedIn, and Pathgather bring microlearning that is curated and personalized to employees primarily through mobile devices. All these vendors look at learning using an in-the-moment, in-context, mobile approach aligned with the way people learn and work. Each takes a different approach but they are all focused on what the learner needs rather than the management of learning.
The LMS vendors traditionally specialized in more structured learning in areas like compliance and formal training. The largest challenges for LMS vendors is that their architectures present challenges in meeting the needed flexibility for the shorter, more agile, and just-in-time learning.
Recommendations for Making a Change
Your organizational culture must be ready to accept a new approach. Learning leaders must reset traditional learning approaches by:
■ Setting a collaborative vision for learning changes. Identify and support a small technology and L&D team to do research, attend events, and understand the changing role of learning technologies within the business. Task this group with planning a change strategy for L&D and educating their colleagues about the shared vision for learning.
■ Explore the current environment in preparation for creating a new learning culture. To level-set and understand preconceptions about digital learning, it’s important to assemble data on learning pain points and general attitudes about digital learning. Conduct a survey of employee learning experiences, and get in-depth feedback from managers on degree of effectiveness of existing learning experiences and their effect on improving employee performance.
■ Become familiar with new vendor approaches. The market for learning technologies has changed rapidly over the past few years, so it may be time to update your understanding of vendor solutions. Read materials on the changing vendor approaches and understand the different vendor offerings in the field. Talk to vendor customers about their process of change. Evaluate technologies for best fit in existing infrastructure.
■ Get support for the change and market the learning change. Executives must embrace a new approach. This requires L&D to make a business case to executives and get their buy-in and support for changing the learning approach and securing new technology as appropriate. With executive backing, recruit internal marketing professionals to describe the effort that the organization is making to support a new learning approach.
■ Establish a pilot with a group of employees. L&D works with the vendor(s) to set up and provide support for learning pilot programs. Remember that many learning programs fail because they are not closely integrated with the employee’s work processes. Choose a group of employees that range from those excited about the approach, to those that are hesitant but willing to give new technologies a try. Make sure managers support the pilot and their employees’ participation.