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ATD Blog

Learning Technology Ecosystems: What Features Should I Pay Attention To?

Monday, May 6, 2024
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To address the ever-changing needs of today’s business environment, new technologies are continually coming into the market. Learning technology is no exception. However, learning technology does not just stand on its own. The technology works within an ecosystem that must be designed and managed to ultimately deliver a learning program that drives business outcomes. The learning technology ecosystem consists of the tools, platforms, people, and processes that enable an organization to create, deliver, manage, and analyze its learning content.

ATD Research surveyed 212 talent development (TD) professionals to understand the different features of their learning technology ecosystems and how they use the learning technology tools available. You can find the full report, sponsored by Eloomi, here.

Our study, Learning Technology Ecosystems: Tools, Programs, and Strategies, found that, for TD professionals, the top three most important features of learning technology ecosystems are:

1. Ease of use for learners
2. Security measures
3. Data collection and reporting

Ease of Use for Learners

Today, TD professionals can design user experiences that are both easy to use and effective learning environments. Our study found that for 77 percent of organizations, ease of use for learners is an extremely important characteristic when they consider acquiring a new learning platform. ATD recommends carefully considering user experience functions and capabilities when purchasing or creating a new learning platform. A better user experience drives usage and engagement and can, therefore, promote better skills development and retention. For a helpful framework to guide this process, check out the TD at Work tech guide on learning technology ecosystems. Additionally, be sure to consider platform accessibility for individuals with disabilities so that all employees have the same opportunity to learn and develop.

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Security Measures

Many components of a learning technology ecosystem are cloud-based, which presents new challenges for data security. In our study, a majority of organizations said that security measures were important in a learning platform. ATD recommends involving your organization’s IT team early when evaluating new learning platforms, so they can consider security measures such as multifactor authentication, privacy regulation compliance, and other security protocols.

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Data Collection and Reporting

To administer an effective learning program, organizations rely on data to evaluate their learning programs and make changes when necessary. Because talent development professionals need to report on the business impact of their learning programs, many learning platforms include business intelligence capabilities for collecting and reporting data. In fact, about two-thirds of our survey respondents indicated that data collection and reporting were extremely important when acquiring a new learning platform. We recommend that organizations consider whether their learning platforms can track data such as enrollment numbers, quiz scores, and key performance indicators.

To effectively leverage data collected from learning platforms, organizations also need to have a data governance strategy in place. According to our study, two-thirds of organizations had a data governance strategy, but only 49 percent of those organizations reported that their data governance strategy provided more uniform data across the talent development function. If your organization is looking to set up a data governance practice or you want to assess your current strategy, use ATD’s tool Considerations for Creating a Data Governance Practice to ask yourself the right questions.

Your organization may already have a robust learning technology ecosystem in place, or you may be auditing your current capabilities to produce better learning and business outcomes. Wherever you are in your journey, you can use this report to benchmark and help plan your next steps in aligning your learning technology ecosystem with your organization’s current and future needs.

Infographic for ATD Research report titled Learning Technology Ecosystems: Tools, Programs, and Strategies

About the Author

Tessa Guiv is a researcher for ATD; [email protected].

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