Today’s training programs are more advanced and dynamic than they once were. More solutions mean a better experience for your trainees. It only works if all the components are present and operating at optimum levels.
Is your training program meeting or exceeding expectations? Are you getting the most out of your resources? Before you answer these questions, you should first determine if you have a complete learning ecosystem in place.
What Is a Learning Ecosystem?
The term “learning ecosystem” pops up a lot today. It is used to describe all the resources an organization utilizes in its training efforts. It’s not limited to technology or supplies. It also refers to the people within your organization.
Your learning ecosystem will contain three core parts at its most basic level. Those parts include:
- The people in your organization who are involved in the training process
- The materials and resources used to train employees, like documents and supplies
- The technology used to facilitate learning, like your LMS
Resources can be internal or external. Your ecosystem will encompass anything used to train your staff.
Your LMS’s Role in Your Learning Ecosystem
Your LMS and your learning ecosystem are related. One doesn’t supersede the other. The LMS is a part of the ecosystem.
Some platforms include advanced features that allow organizations to manage in-person and remote classes and resources. The LMS can be used to distribute, schedule, and manage all aspects of training – making it a keystone within the learning ecosystem. While the LMS is essential, it isn’t the only thing that you need.
If you want your training program to reach its fullest potential, then you need to have knowledgeable people and helpful resources available.
Viewing Your Ecosystem as One Entity
One of the biggest flaws of the training programs of the past was the way that the three core components of a learning ecosystem were viewed. They were usually considered separate entities and handled in the same way. Walling off each part of the system from the others is a costly mistake.
For example, your training program may include online videos available through YouTube or enrollment in a course at a local university. Both of these things can be valuable learning resources, but it’s difficult to track progress and confirm completion when everything is separated. It’s inefficient and makes it nearly impossible for executives to discover hidden skills within the workforce.
What if a group of employees is interested in learning a new skill set? When everything is handled separately, each individual will have to seek out the classes and resources they need. This is a huge waste of time. However, if everything is connected and managed as a single system, then they can avoid duplicating the efforts of those who wanted to follow a similar career path before them.
When using a learning ecosystem, their efforts would be recorded and searchable. The company would be able to see what each employee can do and let them utilize their skills for maximum benefit to all.
Without a centralized system, those skills are easily overlooked. The company may expend resources hiring more people or looking elsewhere for solutions when its existing team was already equipped with the knowledge to handle the task.
Learning Ecosystem Mistakes to Avoid
A learning ecosystem still requires coordination and planning. There is work involved, but the payout can be enormous when looking at the long-term success of the organization. As long as you do it right, you will reap the benefits. That means avoiding mistakes like:
- Adding Tech You Don’t Need – It’s easy to get swept up in the appeal of new technology. While you should pay attention to new developments, it’s important to be discerning about which you introduce to your learning ecosystem. More isn’t always better. Adding something you don’t need can slow workflow or needlessly complicate processes. Make sure you truly need and will benefit from the tech before you introduce it.
- Setting It Up and Forgetting It – A learning ecosystem can have automated components, but the overall system still needs monitoring and human interaction. Organizations should not build an ecosystem with the belief that they can set it up and forget it. If you want to maximize benefits, then you have to continue to evolve and grow. While the ecosystem can save time, it still needs to be maintained.
- Using It to Mindlessly Swap Apps – One of the benefits of modern LMS platforms and similar technology is how compatible they are with third-party applications. Apps can do wonders for your training program – as long as they fulfill a need. Avoid using your ecosystem as a quick way to swap apps in and out without giving it much thought. There should be a strategy behind what you add or take away.
- Using It to Avoid Planning – Planning is an unavoidable step in the training process. You still need to have a plan in place to get your business where you want it to go. Your learning ecosystem doesn’t replace this step. While it can make life much easier, you need to actively plan to achieve your training goals.
The Future of Your Learning Ecosystem
Your learning ecosystem may look different compared to those used by other organizations. That could be because of your different needs or one company may be at a different stage of development than another. No matter where you are in the lifespan of your ecosystem, you should consider researching these areas of technology to help keep it moving in the right direction.
- Networking and Connecting – A social component is a must in today’s training programs. It allows learners to share ideas, ask questions, and build bonds with their team. Younger trainees are familiar with social networks, making this a natural addition to your program. Social learning increases knowledge retention, improves engagement, and is a great way to offer incentives.
- Microlearning – Research has shown that information delivered in smaller portions has a longer-lasting impact than marathon study sessions. It’s much easier to fit a 10-minute module into your day than a 2-hour long training class. If you haven’t already, you should research microlearning and how it can improve your training efforts.
- Curated Content – Curated content can open the doors to expanded learning opportunities. Some LMS platforms include artificial intelligence that suggests content based on the learner’s interests and achievements. This is an excellent way to encourage further learning that will expand your team’s skillsets.
- Augmented and Virtual Reality – Augmented (AR) and virtual (VR) reality is very popular right now. They create a unique approach to learning that is hands-on with little to no risk. Simulate a task and immerse the learner in the experience before putting them into a real-life situation.
- Advanced Digital Content – Digital content is more interactive and informative than ever before. Some organizations use gamification in eLearning to increase motivation and engagement.
You need a solid learning ecosystem to keep up today. The competition for quality job candidates is high, with many people looking for employers who offer better training programs and opportunities to learn. Now is the time to build your ecosystem, starting with a powerful LMS. Visit LMS.org to read LMS reviews and learn more.