Integrated learning ecosystem: webinar Q&A

Our recent webinar, ‘The integrated learning ecosystem’, was hosted by David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst with Brandon Hall Group, and Bill Mastin, NetDimensions’ Senior VP. The webinar explored ways to meet the huge challenge of making different learning technologies work together.

During the webinar, David spoke about how organizations increasingly want to integrate solutions such as microlearning, simulations, gaming and video. However, Brandon Hall Group’s 2018 Learning Management Technology Study found that most solutions receive poor satisfaction rates for integration with other systems.A photo of a woman in an office looking at examples of an integrated learning ecosystemAt the end of the webinar, David and Bill answered questions on creating an integrated learning system from the audience. Here are their answers:

Q1: Are buyers sufficiently competent to fully create an integrated learning ecosystem? Should they expect their technology provider to supply this, or rely on a third party specialist as part of the project implementation team?

David: Although the truth may not be that satisfying to hear, the answer is all three. Approaches to creating an integrated learning ecosystem are all over the map. On average, buyers are not sufficiently competent at it – in fact, they tend to show a little bit of overconfidence.

That’s not to say that organizations doing this don’t know what they are doing. But we generally find that organizations overestimate their ability to carry out the process, especially from a change management perspective.

They never start early enough, they never communicate clearly enough, and even in the best of circumstances people are resistant to change. Some vendors push being able to manage the process of creating an integrated learning ecosystem as a value add, while others say ‘you’re on your own’.

Sometimes it’s included as part of a service or if it’s more intense, it may be an added cost. But it’s important to be aware of this. There are lots of implementation and integration providers out there who will walk you through an integrated learning ecosystem.

A photo of two men in an office looking at examples of an integrated learning ecosystemQ2: From the learner perspective, what does an integrated learning ecosystem that successfully builds learning into everyday work look like?

David: As learning professionals, we seem to trick ourselves into thinking that every single person who works at an organization can’t wait to dive into learning technologies, take this course or class and learn every day. We know that’s not the case, and that they just want to do their job.

A successful implementation of an integrated learning ecosystem looks like nothing – it’s invisible. There will always be event-based learning on the roadmap, where learners take a day or half-day to learn. The question is, how do you approach that? By building it into something that they don’t see as being outside of their job, so that it is clearly relevant.

Even the actual content and how you put it together can be changed. For example, instead of bringing people into a room for four hours and having someone talk at them, you can create different elements of learning to make the experience more invisible to learners.

Bill: It’s the pervasiveness, being able to access learning anytime, anywhere. As well as task-based stuff, this also relates to cultural education and what you’re trying to do with company culture.

For example, one organization I spoke to rolled out three-minute interviews with chief leaders in the business as little nuggets over several weeks, months or years in order to drive cultural change. They were moving so fast that they needed to find a way to roll that out. Task-based learning, job aides and goal-setting all need to be pervasive and invisible in how they become a part of people’s jobs.

A photo of a man in an office looking at examples of an integrated learning ecosystemQ3: When it comes to data, what do companies need to be aware of with the dawn of GDPR in the EU?

David: For those who aren’t aware, GDPR means that people have to opt in in order for you to collect their data. You can’t just collect it. If you don’t do something about that, it will be difficult to create things like personalization and contextualization because you don’t have anything to base it on.

The goal is to try to understand, from the cultural aspect of your organization, why it’s important to tell people how data is useful. All of the things that we’re trying to do in the future as we move ahead, such as personalization and artificial intelligence, are fuelled by and only work with data. The question is, how do we get people to opt in in a way that they’re comfortable with?

Bill: Every provider that has a global footprint has been impacted by GDPR. The consequences for organizations that don’t comply with it are severe. The providers have had to step up their game, not just in terms of opt-ins, but also their ability to destroy data, eradicate records from accounts and more.

I’m a big proponent of GDPR and what we’ve done to support this implementation in the latest versions of our product is great. With the geopolitical world stage that we live on today, we find that quite a lot of organizations want a SaaS-based solution within a private cloud.

One of the unique differentiators of NetDimensions is we have maintained our ability to deploy into a private cloud for customers. We can even deploy on premise, with high security, if it’s really wanted by an organization as part of an integrated learning ecosystem.

Having that flexibility of the way we work to support day-to-day requirements is important. This happens from Australia to Canada to Russia – different countries have different regulatory requirements. They require businesses to operate in different ways around where data is stored. It’s a critical element to look at going forward, and GDPR is just one part of it.

If you missed the webinar, have questions or want to discover how NetDimensions can help your organization create a seamless integrated learning ecosystem, contact us today to request a free demo.

Alternatively, you might be interested in downloading our Insight, ‘Making the connections: How to create the right learning and talent management ecosystems for your organization’.

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