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Consumer-grade technology: The high bar facing learning platforms

What does consumer-grade technology look like in practice? 
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Learning technology is now firmly centered (finally!) on the learner experience. That being the case, learner expectations are crucial to effective design and user experience. So what do users expect when they engage a learning platform?

The short answer: convenience.

We are conditioned by the technology we use every day to expect the utmost in convenience from any platform. If learning technology doesn’t meet these high standards, learners are unlikely to use it, plain and simple.

Here are some of the ways every-day technology shapes learner expectations for how training is searched, recommended, and consumed.

Google

Looking for a soccer score? A hotel? Trending news? Google’s predictive “autocomplete” feature completes searches you’re beginning to type. Google estimates it reduces typing by more than 25% and saves over 200 years of typing per day. (Per day. Read it again if you need to – I did.) Google indexes trillions of websites to predict the most relevant and reputed search recommendations for its users.

Netflix

Netflix is the standard bearer for intelligent content recommendations – many LXPs aspire to provide “Netflix-style” learning recommendations on the latest wave of learning technology. They use data such as viewing history, personal profiles, demographic preferences, genres and sub-genres, actors, release dates, what you watched and for how long to recommend your next shows. Their algorithm is a prime example of how artificial intelligence and machine learning can learn user habits and recommend content to match.

Instagram

I was late to the Instagram party. When I arrived, I was overwhelmed not just by the volume of targeted ads I received, but by how incredibly relevant they were. My feed swelled with ads that matched my taste and style to a tee. The theory behind effective target marketing can be used to recommend learning in the flow of work through various learning experience platforms – although their (much harder!) task is to facilitate learning, not just to induce a click.

Making it happen

The Learning and Development industry aspires to deliver learning in the flow of work, which is much easier to say than to deliver. But learning experience platforms have made incredible strides using AI and machine learning to recommend relevant content through the likes of Teams and Slack.

They have slick, simple, mobile-first UI grounded in modern design principles. In short, they are making it happen.

They are rising to the challenge and changing the face (and the heart) of learning.

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