Learning Trend 1: Learning Experience
‘Learning Experience’ is used as an umbrella term incorporating several aspects of the learner interaction within learning content and access to that content. Here we look at a few of the most talked about features in the evolution of learning experience.
LEARNING EXPERIENCE: LXP
LXPs have been touted by some as the next wave of learning management systems, calling out the war-cry to conventional LMSs and campaigning for the cause of the learner experience at the heart of everything. An alternative angle is that LXPs are more important for what they represent than being about the individual players in the market; and what they represent is a new paradigm in the learning space that pivots around the learner, making learning more accessible, easier navigated and easier to find what you want, from any source and in any format.
As tools like Degreed & EdCast have emerged, they have focused on offering a different kind of experience, away from the traditional LMS, offering the ability to integrate, manage, organise, curate all formats of digital content from a multitude of sources, and using machine learning to help recommend based on roles, departments and other criteria. They’re about a single user journey that ties learning closely to work and bringing closer to reality the idea of learning in the flow of work.
Typical LXP features include:
- Learning-centred, ‘Netflix’ type interface,
- Easy to publish your own content (consumer as producer)
- Great search features and organization of content for ease of access.
“They’re about a single user journey that ties learning closely to work”
Technology such as data analytics and AI underpin LXP functionality, helping guide and personalize recommended content or curated pathways, for instance. As the market continues to evolve, openness to integrating with other systems will also be a key feature of the LXP market. The more easily they can integrate with other systems, the easier they will be to use and the more successfully they can follow the direction of ‘learning in the flow of work’.
The LXP market according to Bersin was worth $350m in 2018 and is doubling every year, indeed he argues that every learning platform is now an LXP and it’s now about a set of capabilities rather than LXPs as products.
LEARNING EXPERIENCE: LMS
Over the last number of years, the traditional LMS has been repositioning as an ‘experience platform’ and not just a ‘management system’. Many conventional LMSs are rising to the challenge and making learning and information access a more user-centred experience, encouraging a more collaborative experience for participants, while at the same time continuing to build on the back-end features that were and continue to be important in a learning management system. Towards Maturity points up that the LMS continues its steady uptake with 82% of learning leaders investing in LMSs this year – up from 75% two years ago.
LEARNING EXPERIENCE: UX
UX (user experience) has come a long way since it was first coined as a term by cognitive psychologist Donald Norman, who worked for Apple, in the 1990s. UX in digital learning is about how humans interact with a digital world. UX and UI, (the application of UX to visual and navigational design), are now essentially about attempting to immerse learners in a personalised journey. It’s about empowering learners to meet their needs not only in the most intuitive way, but also in a way that is personalized to their specific needs.
THE UX NARRATIVE
In the digital world, nothing is a more powerful guide to providing the best UX than the creation of a story or journey. From online retail experiences to compliance learning experiences, it’s about creating a narrative around the user’s journey. Placing the user at the centre of design is key to successful UX. Where is the user coming from in their journey, where do they want to be and how can we help them get there? Every user is at a different place, and every learner is in a hurry to get where they want to be. Learning and learning platforms need to recognise this and create learner-centred UXs that take them on their personal journey. Data, data analytics and AI are powerful tools that can help in creating an easy to follow personal path through learning, enabling us to guide and steer learners through their journey.
“Placing the user at the centre of design is key to successful UX. Where is the user coming from in their journey, where do they want to be and how can we help them get there?”
WHERE TO NEXT FOR LEARNING EXPERIENCE?
LXPs represent a way of thinking about making learning and information as accessible as possible, signalling a higher standard and expectation for the learner UI to learning. This calls for a thoughtful approach that places learners at the centre of the experience, a meaningful journey that maps their need to content and the content experience.
Data will continue to underpin the learner experience, while on the front-end, expertise in UI and UX will be important to bring to the party as expectations for a seamless continuous experience facilitating learning in the flow of work continue to rise, with more and more blurred lines between learning and work. Watch out for LMSs ‘fighting back’ along with a tighter focus on integration with productivity systems as a path to making ‘learning in the flow of work’ really work.
New directions like voice-led interfaces need to be on the watchlist as the conversational interface pushes forward, and the latest versions of virtual assistant devices such as Alexa emerge with built-in screens to combine the best of voice and visual based interfaces.
Finally, UX and UI skills need to be part of the learning designer’s toolkit, embracing the principles of how learners engage with other everyday digital and physical experiences in the modern world to guide an intuitive and positive elearning experience.
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
- Place learners at the centre. Choose systems, tools and supports that place learning at the heart of your people’s experience, in the flow of work.
- Make UX and UI part of the L&D skillset.
- Use data to help guide how you deliver and enrich the learning experience – identify what’s working, what’s not, what’s popular, what’s not and use it to improve what you deliver. Focus on continuous improvement guided by data.
- Explore how new interface tools like voice could upgrade the learner experience.