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What Training Is Missing That Everyone Else Has

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Wed Oct 25 2023

What Training Is Missing That Everyone Else Has
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You probably have almost a dozen systems and tools that comprise your training tech stack. It’s not uncommon to have multiple LMSs, an LXP, a learning content management system (LCMS), or perhaps a learning records store (LRS). And underlying all of that are the dozens of calendars and spreadsheets with the data that really keeps your systems ticking.

But do those systems really communicate with each other? Or are you manually entering and duplicating data from spreadsheets to keep them in sync?

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Other teams don’t have this kind of problem. In the worlds of sales, marketing, product, and others, these disconnected systems would be consolidated into a single platform that streamlines their functionality and connects supporting systems together with a comprehensive data model. Training hasn’t had any widespread market adoption of a purpose-built platform for L&D operations. And that’s left training behind.

Where Conventional Wisdom Led Training Astray

The traditional blueprint for investing the training budget to improve learner outcomes is fairly straightforward: Acquire an LMS. And since there are thousands available and each has its own idiosyncrasies, slowly continue accumulating more LMSs as your program expands.

Further, acquire whatever other tools you might need to orbit around the LMS. An LXP? An LCMS? Whatever your program needs.

When your pile of LMSs and supporting software struggle to communicate with each other, start exporting data into spreadsheets, cleaning it up, and then importing those spreadsheets into your other systems.

Take up more and more of your time managing spreadsheets and software instead of managing training.

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Obviously, this isn’t a blueprint for success. But it’s repeated over and over throughout the industry—why?

Well, it’s the received wisdom. And it’s where you’ll naturally end up if you go to the L&D tech market—you’ll find LMSs and LXPs, because that software is relatively easy to build and has lots of market share.

Building a platform that comprehensively addresses the deeper challenges of L&D operations—the backend management, the scheduling, the data modeling, the integrations—that’s difficult. There’s a reason that there are only a few big names selling similar platforms to fields like sales, marketing, and product.

So it’s not necessarily L&D’s fault that it ends up in this vicious cycle of adding individual systems to gain capacity at the cost of adding complexity. That’s what’s on offer. That’s the standard. You could be forgiven for thinking there’s something special about L&D that just makes managing it a nightmare, and that endlessly struggling with your software is a given.

But that’s not true. And there’s an upcoming sea change in the world of L&D technology that’s going to make sure of it.

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Headless Training Architecture

The platform approach is essential to ensuring that training teams can use their software more efficiently. But implementing a centralized platform that integrates most of the functions of L&D operations opens up another opportunity—going headless.

Headless architecture is a system in which the frontend user experience is constructed and potentially customized for each user. This is done by pulling relevant data from backend business systems via an API—but, crucially, the backend business logic and the frontend user experience run separately.

This separation, bridged by capable APIs, enables highly capable, highly customizable system architectures. And the benefits aren’t theoretical. Headless architecture has been the secret weapon behind e-commerce giants’ meteoric rise over the past decade. Now, it could be training’s turn.

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