For today’s learning and development organization, navigating the learning technology space can be a daunting task. New learning technologies are constantly finding their way into the market, and technology vendors are rapidly merging, making acquisitions, and adapting and expanding their offerings to keep pace with their competitive peers.
It’s a steep challenge for an L&D organization to keep up, and an even steeper one to sift through this ever-evolving market and identify which learning technologies it makes sense to add given your organization’s needs, budget, and existing technology stack.
It wasn’t long ago that most companies had a single type of learning platform to be concerned with, their LMS. Nowadays, many organizations feature a learning ecosystem, a multi-layered stack of learning technologies, ideally well-integrated with each other and with other business systems (e.g., HRIS). Brandon Hall Group data shows more than half of the organizations surveyed in 2022 will invest heavily in building out their learning ecosystems over the next two years.
While an LMS typically serves as the ecosystem’s foundation, additional technology layers may include an LXP (Learning Experience Platform), LRS (Learning Records Store), Learning Content Management System (LCMS), microlearning or content authoring platform, video platform, coaching/mentoring system, learning operations system, and social learning tools. Other add-ons may include badging systems, AR/VR, data analytics and simulation tools.
Learning ecosystems, by their very nature, require additional effort to integrate, maintain and manage. They also almost always require multiple technology partners. While selecting the right technology or technologies to add to your stack is a critical decision, many organizations don’t realize that selecting the right technology partner is equally important. Working with a poor technology partner exposes a learning organization to a number of risks — integrations that fall short of the mark and eat up valuable IT resources, disruptions to timelines and learning efforts, wasted time, botched rollouts, disappointed stakeholders, and frustrated learners. In a multi-partner environment, multiple sub-par partners can become nightmarishly difficult to handle. Accordingly, almost 39% of Brandon Hall Group survey respondents reported they are concerned about managing multiple partners.
Identifying the right partner (or partners) requires a concerted, systematic approach and should be a parallel process to selecting the right technologies or platforms. While the final decision may sometimes come down to technological capabilities, all other things being equal, identifying which provider can bring a level of partnership that will help ensure your organization is successful all the way through integration, rollout and sustained usage, is just as critical. Ideally, your technology providers should be active allies in helping your organization provide rich, easily accessible, effective, and efficient learning experiences well-targeted at addressing the needs of individual learners and the organization’s performance requirements.
Brandon Hall Group’s eBook, “Finding the Right Technology Partner”, sponsored by SmartChoice® Bronze Preferred Provider Tesseract Learning, is now available at www.brandonhall.com. In it, you will find an overview of the current state of the learning technology space, the complexities and challenges faced by organizations as they select technologies, and the critical questions to ask when seeking the right technology partner.