By Calvin Choi, Director, Sales Development, Expertus
It all started with Amazon free shipping on carts above $25. Now, with Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Luxe, TaskRabbit and many others, we have access — at the tip of our fingers — to on-demand rides, meals, parking and even people to run errands or take care of tasks around the house.
We may not want to admit that for many of us, Amazon delivery has become a go-to shopping habit. Why? Because it’s convenient (and ‘free’). Office supplies, snacks, movies, books, music, electronics and groceries — you name it. Visiting just one Web store for nearly every buying need is a major time saver.
Why not apply this ‘on-demand’ convenience concept
to learning? While having everything in one learning management system is efficient for admins and managers, as in Amazon, having *only* the LMS destination site for learning can have its limitations. Sometimes, for example, you just want one item, and you want it right now. You’re away from home and need to launch a movie pronto to keep your kid entertained while you dine out in peace (I see this often). Or, you need a ride or a meal right now. You see an email alert that your compliance training is due today as you’re sitting on public transit. Without much hassle, wouldn’t it be nice to launch training straight away and complete it before you reach home from your evening commute.
Learning Destination Unknown
As I mentioned in a recent post Bringing Learning to Learners, far too many global corporations waste far too much money developing learning content that is rarely or never used. It’s a major problem for training organizations.
What’s the primary reason why this costly problem exists? There are a multitude of stand-alone options for people to pick in pursuit of learning. Everyday, we face hundreds of digital choices. For instance:
- Workplace portals and intranets
- Business and productivity software, such as Microsoft Office and Salesforce
- Specialized professional apps, reference tools and websites
- Customer and business partner training portals
- Email messages and newsletters
- Social media channels
- Learning management systems
I purposely placed the LMS at the end of this list. Why? L&D practitioners have become accustomed to loading courses on a legacy LMS, hoping a monolithic system will be sufficient to meet their business requirements. Of course in reality, an LMS is only one part of a diverse digital ecosystem. Increasingly, learning experiences are designed to unfold over time, across multiple touch points. But when content is isolated in an LMS, finding the right content at the right time can be difficult and time-consuming. That means people just don’t bother looking for it — and learning doesn’t happen.
Rather than make people come to an LMS for learning, why not bring learning to learners — wherever they may be? In other words, integrate training content from an LMS directly into their digital context at the moment of need.
This concept of ‘in-app training’ has the power to revolutionize learning strategy and engagement. However, it was impossible to achieve until recently, thanks to something we call embeddable widgets in the modern LMS.
Widgets: Then and Now
Desktop widgets have been around for several decades. And in the mid-2000s, web widgets became popular, making it easy to customize sites with dynamic, data-driven content. Now, embeddable widgets take this technology to a whole new level with ‘app-in-app’ functionality.
For learning, it means that LMS-based training and related content are accessible precisely when and where it makes sense from a learner point-of-view. This solution is less intrusive. No searching is required to find the ‘right’ content. And it works intelligently with the LMS in the background, exchanging data in real-time to facilitate tracking, reporting and analysis.
Embeddable Learning Widgets: A Closer Look
Several LMS developers now use embeddable widgets to bring learning directly to the learner. For example, using ExpertusONE, training organizations can embed customized catalog offerings into digital environments where learners spend the most time. Better yet, tailor personalized content to the interests of distinct learner profiles.
It’s a bit like going to Amazon for the latest digital bestseller, and then re-stocking with a box of your favorite KIND bars, some paper towels, coffee for the office and a blender for your cousin’s wedding gift — many of which were conveniently recommended based on your recent purchases or what other similar customers purchased, on your way to checkout.
Learning Widgets at Work
Here is an example of how embeddable learning widgets can save time and dramatically improve results. Let’s say you’re a marketing manager at a software company. You’re rolling out a new version of your product. And need to be sure that sales, marketing and customer support teams are prepared with the latest knowledge about features, configurations and pricing, so you develop a product update course.
Traditionally, you’d distribute an email alert, letting employees know that they must to go to the LMS, log in, find the new course you created, register, complete the course, and pass the related assessment. That’s a lot of steps. Instead, you can now link directly to the course from a widget embedded in email or on your intranet home page, so when people are logged in via SSO, everything is right there. Learners can click any time, and immediately start learning.
One other example? Let’s say all of your channel partners are members of a LinkedIn group you manage. Simply embed the course links into a group post or notification. Once partners click the link and log in, they can directly access the new training content you’ve created for them. No extra promotion needed. No additional steps to begin. The best part, embeddable widgets capture learners at the ‘point of interest’ in training
Another Reason to Like Learning Widgets
Perhaps it’s obvious that there’s one more benefit to embeddable widgets. They help overcome the notoriously challenging usability issues associated with legacy LMS interfaces. With a targeted widget embedded in web sites, emails or other commonly used tools, people don’t need to learn or navigate a new system to find and use training content. They can spot a promotion or alert, and click on the link that opens the door to learning.
In-App Training: Beyond Cool
Embeddable widgets seem cool? They are, and much more. These widgets can have a profound business impact. By transforming learning delivery from end-to-end, widgets help learning leaders rest assured that investing in training content will generate the kind of adoption and engagement they need to achieve strategic objectives.
So, sit back and let learning come to you.
How has your organization tried in-app training to improve learning awareness, engagement, satisfaction and outcomes? What results are you seeing? Please share your comments below.
Editor’s Note: To see how a modern LMS can transform learning for your organization, visit our website, watch the ExpertusONE LMS web demo replay now, or contact us anytime to schedule a personalized demo.
Image Credit: Pixabay