Yet Analytics Blog

Margaret Roth By Margaret Roth • February 7, 2018

From Chaos to Clarity: A Hybrid Approach to Learning Ecosystem Modernization

From hundreds of conversations in 2017 there were three clear goals L&D leaders had on their mind as we turned the page to 2018. They want to:

  • Provide data about individual learning and performance directly to employees, managers, and other stakeholders.
  • Make the move from manual data processing to real-time reporting and automated analytics in the next 9-18 months.
  • Bring together stakeholders from across departments including IT, Sales, HR, and Talent Development at the onset of xAPI initiatives.

It became clear that those goals were the result of one big challenge across the field. Learning and talent development leaders are responsible for a complex, fragmented ecosystem — they don’t love the tools they’re using, and neither does anyone else on their team — and from what they saw in 2017, xAPI could be the way to fix the whole thing.

What We Have

If you asked ten of your peers right now what the current state of the learning ecosystem at their organization is you’d hear things like “reporting is a nightmare,” “we’re spending lots of time cleaning data and no time analyzing it,” “with so many tools, our learning programs are confusing and people don’t like it,” “how many platforms do we even have right now” and “we don’t know if what we are doing is working.”

The current state of the learning ecosystem at most organizations is messy, chaotic, and fractured. Legacy systems combined with new software investments have led to system silos, data fragmentation, and a confusing and convoluted learner experience.

“This is my life right now” is an okay thought to be having. You’re in the same boat as many others.

LE_My Life Right Now.pngThe current state of the learning ecosystem is messy for instructional designers, L&D leaders, and learners alike.

What We Want

With any problem, we know that the first step is acceptance. But the second is deciding what to do about it. We know we are in this mess, now how do we get ourselves out of it?

The good news is that a lot of organizations have started defining what their ideal learning ecosystem looks like:

  • It would have seamless tool and content communication
  • The learning experience would happen in a unified system and interface for the learners
  • It would be modular so that new systems, tools, or resources could be easily added
  • Data collection would be automated and updated in real-time
  • Reports and analytics would be accessible to stakeholders, including learners

This learning ecosystem would be the “total integration” of all aspects of learning and training across the organization for content, tools, platforms, and resources as well as the learners and their managers, trainers, or other stakeholders.

And the amazing thing about this goal? It’s not as far off as you might think—organizations are challenging themselves to get there by 2020.

LE_By 2020.png

 Organizations are challenging themselves to achieve a fully integrated learning ecosystem featuring a unified learner experience by 2020.

How We Can Get There

We’re talking about a big jump. We see the vision of where we want to be but it seems so far away and the steps to get there aren’t clear. We know that scrapping everything and starting over is not realistic. We need to modernize the learning ecosystem we have, to get the learning ecosystem we want.

Organizations moving forward on their total integration goals are entering into a “hybrid ecosystem” as their first phase. By combining the tools, resources, and data they have into a unified database and surfacing that data to learners and leadership alike through role-specific dashboards, they are making progress through this intermediate step.

LE_Hybrid Ecosystem.png

 The hybrid ecosystem phase allows organizations to get their data in order and start making it useful to end users.

By instrumenting current tools and resources with xAPI, utilizing data integrations techniques, and then collecting that data in a Learning Record Store (LRS), organizations are able to achieve several goals on their way to a fully integrated ecosystem:

  • Transition from data silos to modular learning ecosystem structure
  • Make progress on replacing SCORM with xAPI as the new learning data standard
  • Collect more significant, more granular, high resolution data
  • Connect activity, behavior, and performance data sources to learning data
  • Solve reporting challenges through data unification using the LRS
  • Future-proof the learning investments through xAPI enablement

In addition to the technical advantages of this phased approach, the process of creating a hybrid ecosystem provides other benefits as well. Convening stakeholders from IT, talent development, and other departments not only builds support across the organization and increases shared buy-in for the investment, but also positively influences prioritization of requirements. Moving data from static reports to automated dashboards makes it easier to empower individual contributors, while facilitating communication and transparency between managers and leadership. 

LE_Together with Timeline.png

Transitioning from a current state of chaos to a hybrid ecosystem allows organizations to gain clarity and make significant progress toward their goals in 6-8 months.

For many of our clients this hybrid ecosystem has been achievable within 6-8 months. Meaning that if you start this work today, you’ll be rolling out unified reporting and dashboards to your learners and stakeholders by the end of Q3 2018. And you’ll be well on your way to joining your colleagues and achieving your goal of creating a fully integrated learning experience for your learners by 2020.

Want to learn more about how organizations are working their way towards total integration by creating a hybrid ecosystem? Sign up for our February webinar to see case studies from three Yet Analytics clients and learn how they successfully modernized their learning ecosystems using this hybrid approach.

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