Building a Global, Digital Learning Ecosystem

December 23, 2016 Monica Kraft

If building a learning technology ecosystem wasn’t on your list of “to do’s” in 2016, it very well may be in 2017. Many companies are now facing the need to integrate their learning content with a variety of other systems. For example,  a recent case study of software company Benefitfocus, showed that this year, they have had to integrate their learning content with their employee LMS, a public-facing website, their CRM system, intranet site(s), and several branded client portals. The types of learning content being delivered from any combination of these systems include classroom training, eLearning, technical documentation and performance support. The world of corporate learning is no longer isolated or limited to engagement via the corporate LMS.

The ultimate goal in building a digital learning ecosystem is to put learning directly into the path of your learners, wherever they are. The first step is to take a step back and examine all of the places that your learning content needs to be. Start with an audience analysis. Who are you learners? What do they need and from where will they access your content? How much of the content is repeated in multiple systems and for various audiences? What are the formats (or modalities) required? Any content that is required for multiple audiences, locations and formats it is a prime candidate supporting bite-sized, reusable design of content.

Dell has been helping organizations through the digital transformation with their products and services for many years now. A key driver for them was the discovery that half (or more) of their learning content was redundant. They were creating, delivering and maintaining the same learning content multiple times, not to mention translating and re-translating it. Globalizing their content was also a critically important business driver for Dell. David Cameron, learning leader at Dell, characterizes the translation issue this way: “Say your technician arrives on site three months before the technical documentation required to service the product is available. How would the customer rate the service call, technician and company overall? Not very well. Translation is a business process that has direct impact on the bottom line of the company.” By implementing a content strategy and digital learning ecosystem, Dell was able to reduce redundancy of content and translation time from 3 months to 5 days, addressing two critical business issues while positively impacting customer satisfaction.

What are the key components of the digital learning ecosystem that organizations need to implement?

  1. Connected Users

Since users are connected 24x7, this means learning content must also be accessible all the time, mobile-ready and secure.

  1. Digital Micro Content

Content cannot be built as large courses. It must be built as micro-content that can be assembled into large courses but can also stand alone. A single micro-lesson can be 3-15 minutes long supported by text, video, assessment and other interactives that make it engaging and memorable. Badges or “micro-credentials” can be associated with Micro-content and tied to over-arching competencies that measure talent development achievements.

  1. Smart Delivery System

Smart delivery ensures that learners get content when and where they need it. Multiple methods of content delivery are necessary to achieve this goal. Making content available via third party tools (e.g. Salesforce.com), internal intranets and publically via public links is key.

  1. Analytics engine

Delivering content is not enough. Organizations want to understand how users interact with it. This key to creating compelling, actionable training. Analytics of detailed user interaction will reveal this type of information and will serve as guide to the learning organization. Additionally, organizations can take advantage of standards such as SCORM and xAPI to feed data analysis and integration with other systems.

Xyleme offers a content platform and content strategy consulting that can support building your learning ecosystem, and has been used by companies like Dell, Summit Learning and Technology, T-Mobile and others to successfully meet the needs of their modern learners. Now is the time to begin planning your learning ecosystem for 2017. 

About the Author

Monica Kraft

Monica Kraft is the Director of Product Marketing for Xyleme, Inc. Xyleme is a unique market solution focused on content management that drives great learning experiences anywhere and on any device. In this role, Monica is responsible for all aspects of marketing for Xyleme and is on a mission to help organizations transform their content into an incredible business asset.

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