Learning ecosystems are a big buzzword in L&D at the moment, but not everyone agrees on what they are and why they’re important. In this blog, we delve into what an integrated learning ecosystem is and why an LMS is a vital part of a thriving ecosystem.
In biology, an ecosystem refers to a community of organisms that interact with one another in a shared environment. In the world of technology and learning, an ecosystem is not so different.
According to Harvard Business School, an IT ecosystem is “the network of organizations that drives the creation and delivery of information technology products and services.” These days, establishing an ecosystem out of your IT infrastructure involves making every component work as a well-oiled machine.
Each individual element of your architecture – the hardware, the software, and the services – should work together, and speak to each other, even if every piece of equipment and software comes from a different vendor.
What is an integrated learning ecosystem?
An integrated learning ecosystem is no different than any other IT environment. It assumes that the end user (whether that’s the learner or the L&D professional) treats learning as a continuous process, not a one-off event.
A learning ecosystem, as defined by our colleagues at LEO Learning, is “a collection of tools, processes, content, connections and relationships. It is unique to your organization and links together systems or functions that are not unique (like your LMS to your CRM).”
All sectors of technology should work seamlessly so that L&D departments can execute their corporate learning strategies effectively.
Why your LMS is vital to an integrated learning ecosystem
The best kind of ecosystem – both in the biological and the technological sense – is one where there are as many symbiotic relationships as possible.
Your LMS should sit at the heart of this ecosystem to act as a centerpoint to these relationships.
For example, your authoring tool should seamlessly integrate with your LMS so you can publish courses directly to your LMS with ease.
On the flip side, your LMS should support your authoring suite’s functionality. If your authoring tool creates fully responsive eLearning content, then your LMS should support mobile learning, so that learners can access visually engaging courses on the go.
A system that meets learners’ needs – at their point of need
Each part of your ecosystem should be able to adapt to the changing learning requirements in your organization. The best way to ensure that each of your tools complement one another throughout the inevitable changes faced by any business is to develop an integrated learning ecosystem that connects them all together.
A learning ecosystem is only as integrated as the extent to which individual parts can feed off one another successfully.
To set up a truly integrated ecosystem, you have to take into account the needs of your learners and the tools they use every day to fulfill their professional responsibilities.
Some questions you might ask yourself are:
- Do your learners utilize Salesforce?
- Do they rely on social media channels for information?
- Do they require mobile devices to get their jobs done?
How to set up an integrated learning ecosystem
The first step toward setting up an integrated learning ecosystem is recognizing that you need one.
The logistics of putting one together can be challenging because, just like any biological community, every business’ learning needs and existing infrastructure are different.
Systems, tools, and the organizational learning environment at large are constantly transforming, so it can be difficult to know exactly where to begin.
On Thursday, April 5th, we held a live webinar to demonstrate how to get started with building an integrated learning ecosystem. Click here to watch the recording of ‘Getting started with an integrated learning ecosystem.’ In the spirit of multi-system integration and collaboration, the creators of the market-leading authoring suite gomo joined us to lend their views on integration.