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In 2019, Team Origin participated in multiple eLearning events in the USA and what we observed was the big buzz around – “Learning Experience Platforms” and “Learning in the Flow of Work”. Though the term LXP seems to be floating around a lot – most people and industry members are still unclear in terms of what exactly constitutes an LXP and how it differs from an LMS. In this blog post, we will look at how organizations are looking to capitalize on the demand for LXPs and the five key trends to watch out in LXPs for 2020.
We are familiar with the term – ‘on-the-job training’. A youngster joins a specific trade and he is guided by a mentor to learn the ropes of the trade. This is how traditional job skills like plumbing, electrical work, automobile repair, or painting were taught. The question to ask is how does one replicate this ‘on-the-job training model’ to the modern workplace? In this article in the Harvard Business Review – the authors Josh Bersin and Marc Zao-Sanders make an interesting point – “The traditional corporate learning portal (the learning management system) is rarely used (other than for mandatory compliance training) and it often takes many clicks to find what you need. Learning therefore ends up being relegated — consciously and subconsciously.” Josh goes on to define learning in the flow of work as – “Learning in the flow of work is a new idea: it recognizes that for learning to really happen, it must fit around and align itself to working days and working lives.”
L&D teams look at different solutions to engage their employees and train them effectively. Mobile apps, brief video nuggets, target-based learning programs, microlearning lessons delivered to the email inbox, eLearning chatbots, performance-linked learning programs are some solutions that are used to ensure that employees learn in the flow of work. This is a trend we believe will see a lot of resonance and adoption among L&D teams in 2020.
It was the 15th anniversary of DevLearn this year and the event saw the top eLearning companies from around the world participating in full force. In the introductory paragraph of this blog post, we mentioned how the term ‘LXP’ continues to remain a bit of a mystery for most people. When our team visited various booths at DevLearn 2019 in Las Vegas and spoke to several participants, there was one aspect that was quite clear. Everyone seems to be excited about the future of learning, there is awareness about an element called ‘LXP’, and the vast majority is unsure on how to define an LXP, or how it would work instead of an LMS. Here’s a quick refresher on what separates the two:
As several learning management systems look to reboot themselves and rebrand as an LXP and learning tech companies launch brand-new LXPs – there’s going to be an increased awareness about LXPs among the general populace. This awareness needs to be created by marketers of these tech companies and L&D teams within companies looking to deploy eLearning would also need to study competing products in the market to find the LXP that best suits their requirements. Irrespective of an organization using an LMS, a mobile app, or an LXP to run their eLearning; 2020 could very well turn out to be the year of the LXP as awareness and adoption increase exponentially.
‘Curation’ is another word that’s going around a lot in the eLearning world in the recent past. Craig Weiss: a respected eLearning industry veteran has often stressed upon the importance of content curation in an LXP. As organizations look to offer their employees a combination of customized and off-the-shelf training programs, the presence of a content curation feature in the learning delivery medium is gaining importance. Learning delivery platforms are offering integration with popular online course aggregators like Coursera and Udemy to offer a wider selection of relevant learning options.
The 2019 Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn also cites curated learning paths as an ideal way to scale L&D and meet training requirements. Two interesting stats from the report:
The difference between the two sources of content creation is not that vast and it will be interesting to see how the trend continues in 2020. With a focus on external vendors and off-the-shelf course providers creating content, our bet is that the 2020 edition of this LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report will show the gap widening. As learning tech vendors race to create better digital learning delivery products, content curation and integration of learning paths devised by third-party vendors will become a key eLearning trend in 2020.
Over the years, learning tech vendors have experimented with animated chatbots to add a bit of zest to the learning process and guide learners on their learning journey. Often used as a cosmetic addition or a nice-to-have feature – the chatbots help the learners find a relevant course or are programmed with answers to ‘frequently asked questions’ that a learner may have when using the learning platform. The logical evolution of this chatbot functionality is a recommendation engine. Businesses are using software like IBM Watson to offer AI-powered conversational support systems. “IBM® XPS uses IBM Watson capabilities to provide a cognitive-driven, dialogue-based product recommendation engine.”
With the advancements made in Machine Learning and the availability of data about learners, their interests, and skills, the integration of powerful recommendation engines within a digital learning delivery platform is a trend that we will observe in 2020. As the number of users accessing the learning platform increases and more data is generated, the recommendation engine will work with greater finesse and precision.
Articulate Storyline 360 and Articulate Rise continue to remain popular eLearning course authoring tools. We still see vendors using Captivate and Lectora to design eLearning – but it is an indisputable fact that Articulate holds a firm grip over the market with its suite of products, their ease of use and pricing. In the past few years, we have seen the rise of SaaS and cloud-based authoring tools. Some popular eLearning course authoring tools available in the market include – Gomo, DominKnow ONE, Easygenerator, GENIE by Growth Engineering, and Elucidat. This directory by eLearning Industry offers a comprehensive list of course authoring tools that are available in the market now.
It will be difficult to convince organizations to move from their existing suite of course authoring tools. What would really help would be for LXPs to integrate some of the popular or at least one popular course authoring tool within their product. At some point in time organizations would realize the benefits of having one integrated system to design and deploy eLearning. One trend that we hope to see is more LXPs bundling in a course authoring tool or offering easy integration with such a tool.
The LXP market is worth about US$300 million and doubling in growth every year. As learning-tech companies compete with one another claiming to offer the ‘best learning experience’ the onus remains on the buyer to do due diligence and find a product best suited to their needs. 2020 is likely to be the year when the LXP begins to eat a major chunk from the huge LMS market. What are your thoughts on the growth trajectory of LXPs in 2020?