Why choose a learning portal?

This blog is based on a learning portal seminar hosted by Peter Dobinson, Solutions Architect at NetDimensions’ partner company LEO, at the NextSteps 2017 conference in London.

Learning portals can be customized to deliver tailored e-learning solutions on all devices, including smartphones and tablets

While a Learning Management System (LMS) provides a wealth of diverse information for your learners, portals act as a neat destination on more focused areas. As well as being gateways to further learning, portals are popular with NetDimensions’ clients because of their capacity to provide everything from guidance about new working processes to insights into user engagement.

Why do organizations like learning portals?

There are a lot of reasons why companies find learning portals highly effective. You can target a specific audience – potentially employees, customers or anyone who wants to access your learning programmes – and focus on a precise business impact area or goal, such as sales learning, with a holistic solution.

This is primarily what makes a portal different from an LMS: rather than providing a single solution to people across departments, languages and countries, a portal offers excellent learning opportunities to a subset of people with particular business requirements.

You can still utilize all of the features of your existing LMS, but you can tailor the learner experience for the content you’re presenting. You can offer a highly customized and relevant experience through the knowledge and activities you choose to present to your users. This makes a portal ideal if any of your users have ever had difficulty finding the information they want within your LMS, or if they only need to complete a small portion of your learning library in a short period of time.

How does a learning portal work?

A custom portal has functionality which allows you to build and update the specific journey and information being provided. The portal also receives and launches content from your LMS, and it can link to your social tools, allowing your audiences to further their learning through tools such as discussion forums, real-time chat and collaborative learning experiences.

There are two other important elements to portals: application programming interfaces (APIs) which can be used to link your systems and allow them to communicate with each other, and normally some form of Single Sign On (SSO), allowing your learners to log into the portal and access all of the content from your systems with a seamless login experience from a customer portal, or some other tool they already log into.

This can be achieved on a large scale. A great example of this is LEO’s work with one of the largest food and beverage manufacturers in the world. With over 80,000 employees globally, some of whom are external, the organization operates various portals for colleges of excellence covering topics like sales, marketing and supply chain fundamentals. The organization opted for a learner portal rather than an LMS because they wanted a small subset of learning material within a customized learner experience (LX).

These portals offer bespoke learner experiences and content to different groups within the business – they each have a customized user interface, learner experiences and content. They use gamification to drive people to the platform, they are localized for the different markets around the world, and are built to be fully responsive to allow access from a 3G connection. Thousands of users can access knowledge specific to their role through these custom portals, and learning leaders can also track their progress, helping to measure the business impact of learning.

Another learning portal example is NetDimensions work with Digicel, who were looking for a customized learning solution. About 1,000 young millennials work for Digicel, a mobile phone manufacturer in the Caribbean. NetDimensions’ success with this group was down to an attractive, easy-to-use learning portal accessed through an automatic enrolment after they were given a code. Dynamic videos and other training ploys were made accessible only to users who visited the portal.

A group of L&D leaders discussing the implementation of learning portals

How should your learning portal evolve?

Whether you want to change your portal’s resources or update its information, provided that you portal has a content management system (CMS) behind the scenes, moving elements around and adding new content won’t take too much of your time and doesn’t require any coding. Reporting and analytics allow you to take an agile approach and respond to the needs of your learners.

When NetDimensions worked with dental innovation company 3Shape, for example, the organization’s portal leaders tailored aspects of their content after discovering that dental assistants, rather than just dentists, were among the portal users carrying out scanning.

With a learning portal, you can be confident that a solution which meets your needs now can be easily adapted in the years ahead to enhance the user journey and maximize the business impact of learning. This versatility is another key benefit of using a portal.

If you enjoyed this blog, then you might also be interested in reading about transforming the learner’s experience through learning portals. To speak to a NetDimensions consultant about our learning portals and LMS solutions, get in touch here.

Contributor
Peter Dobinson is a Solutions Architect at LEO
Peter Dobinson has had over 10 years’ experience in designing, building and managing online products. He previously worked for Philips, Specsavers, Electronic Arts and the NHS. At NetDimensions’ partner company LEO, he is responsible for some of our largest learning architectures, working as both Solutions Architect and Technical Lead. He is an expert in learning management systems, data-driven design, product management, data analytics and system integrations.

Focus on Integration: Connecting Learning to the Right Systems

As the human capital technology landscape expands and solutions become more specialized, integration has become more critical than ever. Not only do we need to think about how each of these talent-focused platforms work together, but how they work together with other systems within and outside of the organization.

According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2016 Learning Technologies survey, integration capabilities are one of the top-three most important criteria organizations have for their learning technology providers, with 46% saying it is essential and 30% saying it is critical these services are available.

In an environment where fewer than half (44%) of companies are looking to get a suite of integrated talent management modules, it is important organizations understand the ins and outs of integration.

NetDimensions and Moody’s Analytics Win Gold at the 2016 Learning Technologies Awards

Moody’s Analytics, a risk management solutions provider to global capital markets, and NetDimensions won the Gold award for the Best Enterprise Learning Platform Implementation category at the 2016 Learning Technologies Awards.

best-enterprise-lms-implementationMoody’s Analytics implemented the NetDimensions Talent Suite in order to deliver innovative training solutions to financial sector organizations worldwide.

Why is mobile not buzzing yet? (Part 2 of 2)

This is the conclusion of a 2-part guest blog post from Speexx, sponsor of NextSteps 2016, NetDimensions’ Global User Conference. Click here to read Part 1.

 

Step 2: Engage, engage!

For the learner, offering training that is optimized for a mobile device can be very engaging, as it allows him or her to drive their learning path, when and where is most convenient. This flexibility impacts the success rate of your learners and therefore the success and cost effectiveness of the training program.

Remember, you want to engage with learners with both content and tools that they are used to seeing outside of the workplace, from gamification elements of learning to mobile devices.

mobile-learning-solution-03

LMS: Evolution or Extinction: 8 Trends That Change Everything (Part 2 of 8): Extended Enterprise LMS

Trend #2: Extended Enterprise LMS

While most companies (71%) still use their learning management system (LMS) mainly for employee training (see chart below), the globalization and increased competition have led to the rise in the number of partner relationships, distributor and reseller networks, franchises, and contractors, and consequently the need for a centralized learning solution for the whole extended enterprise.

LMS-user-community-chart-BHG

Centralized training and certification management allows companies to keep product and service quality consistent across the whole value chain.

At the same time the increasingly strict and continually changing regulatory environment has created a need for compliance management across the whole value chain, especially in highly regulated industries.

The delivery of training, licensing, and certification programs to external channels increases partner, customer, and end-user engagement, satisfaction and product usage. It is the most cost-efficient way to bring external stakeholders to the same level of competency and product knowledge as the internal employees.

By creating customized and branded learning portals, companies can provide engaging learning experiences for different audiences across the extended enterprise. Mobile solutions also allow the contractors, such as sales agents, to take training in a flexible way, at the point of need, even when not connected to the Internet.

High-quality training, certification management, and the ability to measure KPIs across the whole value chain can have a direct impact on an organization’s business performance. Learning in the extended enterprise should also be an interactive process. For example, the dealership network is able to give valuable insights from buyers and market when the LMS supports such collaboration.

To measure performance against defined KPIs using advanced analytics tools, reports can be segmented by learner group, whether they consist of internal employees, partners, suppliers, or dealers.

When thinking about using an LMS for the extended enterprise, security management needs to be taken into account. A compliance-focused LMS can support central management of security with features such as access and password control, version control, workflow management, e-signatures, as well as audit trails of all activities.

What to consider for your LMS in terms of the extended enterprise:

  • Portals, branding, and personalization
  • E-commerce capabilities
  • Security
  • A new role of the LMS
    • Revenue generation
    • Quality management
    • Documentation distribution
    • Partner certifications
    • Analytics

Given these considerations, can you leverage the same LMS investment for both internal & external audiences?

This is the second of an eight-part series on LMS: Evolution or Extinction — 8 Trends that Change Everything.