When companies speak of disruption, it is usually about impacting the market in which they compete. But Skillsoft/SumTotal leaders spent the past year “disrupting ourselves,” as Chief Technology Officer Apratim Purakayastha calls it, to make their offerings more learner-centric.

Skillsoft/SumTotal developers worked at a feverish pace to enable customers to truly choose where, when and how to learn.

Last June, Skillsoft launched Percipio, a learning-experience platform offering over 500 pre-curated channels and micro-learning courses with a compelling design. Leveraging Skillsoft’s vast content library of books, articles, videos, audio books, podcasts and scenario-based learning, Percipio allows users to choose how they learn from a menu of Read-Watch-Listen-Practice Skills.

In late January, Skillsoft went a step further, unveiling ELSA (Embedded Learning Synchronized Assistant). The browser plug-in allows users to access Percipio content without interrupting their workflow. Working on a presentation and need to understand something better? Want to read an article, view a quick video or listen to a podcast? No need to stop and search. Users click on the Percipio logo at the top of their screen to quickly find what they need. Learning is truly embedded in the workflow!

At its annual Perspectives conference this week in Las Vegas, Skillsoft made several announcements to cap off a year of innovation, including:

  • Skillsoft’s new Leadership Development program, which focuses on shedding traditional leadership competencies and transforming leaders for the digital age. As described in a Brandon Hall Group webinar, the program focuses on new leadership competencies through scenario-based video instruction. Developed by Heide Abelli, senior vice president of Content Product Management for Skillsoft, new competencies include leading virtually, leading in a customer-centric culture, leading through digital technology, leading through disruption and more.

Abelli told me that 10 more competencies will launch later this year, along with mobile learning reinforcement content, including flash cards to refresh new learned behaviors and daily tips.

  • Beginning in June, Skillsoft’s compliance training will be available on Percipio. Compliance training will be elevated through new treatment types, including scenario-based learning and skills practice, and a selection of readings, videos, audiobooks and podcasts. Brandon Hall Group has said for years that compliance training warrants the same creativity as other training and Percipio Compliance is a great example of that.
  • SumTotal Systems announced a new release of its SumTotal Talent Expansion Suite®. The 18.2 release, available in June, utilizes Percipio’s design elements and UIs plus Skillsoft content to provide what SumTotal hopes will be an enhanced learning experience. The new release will enable customers to channel curation, multiple modalities, courses, videos and books. The new version also features a re-engineered social platform, extended enterprise learning and marketing tools, and new mobile enhancements — including the ability to share photos and videos directly from users’ phones to their social communities.

A critical differentiator for the company is its Skillsoft content utilized in both the SumTotal and Percipio platforms, giving users a wide choice of content. But Skillsoft wisely understands that to be truly user-centric, customers must be able to grab content beyond Skillsoft. Percipio is an open platform to allow the inclusion of any kind of content — within or outside Skillsoft. They can access TED Talks, for instance, or YouTube content, or whatever best fits their needs.

Skillsoft/SumTotal leaders went to great lengths to emphasize to the Perspectives audience that their innovation is far from complete and there’s much more to come. But in a year where the learning technology industry as a whole made great strides, Skillsoft’s accomplishments are especially impressive.

Claude Werder, Vice President/Research Operations and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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