With more and more businesses realising that employee growth, learning, and development leads to better staff retention and increased productivity, HR and L&D managers are working hard to figure out the most effective way to train their staff. Employees are no longer interested in ticking the box that says, “mandatory training complete.” They want to really learn, to get better at what they do and to climb that career ladder using their newly acquired knowledge and skills. Ensuring that you’re offering proper training and access to beneficial learning materials for your team is vital to keeping them motivated, enthusiastic, and excited to be part of your organisation.
Making the right choice for your company
The simple-sounding task of choosing a platform that suits your company needs is made difficult from the outset as a lot of platforms describe themselves in ways that might leave even the most experienced learning and development manager scratching their head.
When being faced with so many buzzwords, it can be a little overwhelming and very frustrating trying to navigate the murky waters of learning and skills platforms, learning experience platforms, learning management systems, talent and knowledge platforms, interactive learning environments, e-learning platforms, digital learning software, virtual learning environments… not to mention a load of acronyms that could form a new language in themselves LXP, LMS, TXP, LEP, KMS, ILT, LCMS, WBT… need we go on?
So why is there so much jargon in this industry? Well, honestly, it’s probably due to the fact that online learning in and of itself is not the most glamorous subject to talk about so zhooshing up the language we use to describe what we do may make things seem a little more interesting. We then throw in a ton of acronyms in an attempt to simplify the language but this in fact complicates things further. With so many descriptions for what are all simply platforms that deliver workplace learning, it makes the task of sifting through to find the right solution even more overwhelming and off-putting for L&D professionals, and that’s the last thing anyone wants.
How are busy professionals meant to make decisions when companies, and indeed the edtech industry in general, make it almost impossible to understand exactly what it is they do? This was a major theme that stood out at this year’s Learning Technologies conference and exhibition at ExCeL London back in May: no one likes all the confusing terminology and everyone agrees it would be a much better user experience if everyone stopped using them, yet we all continue to do so!? We decided we’d had enough of all this meaningless industry jargon being bandied about, which is why we’ve changed how we describe ourselves.
We were guilty too…
Yes, that’s right. We confess; we were guilty of playing buzzword bingo too, and we’re sorry. We realised that by using too much industry terminology, we were in-fact creating barriers for our potential clients. By simplifying, we hope to give L&D professionals a chance to find exactly what they needed for their company and see if we’re the perfect fit for them. So, in recent months, the way we describe ourselves at thirst has evolved to better reflect us as a company, and also what we believe is important to our users. We once labelled ourselves a learning and knowledge platform, and then a learning experience platform, we toyed with the idea of calling ourselves a new breed of learning management system and countless others, all in a bid to present our modern game-changing product in a way that would appeal to both forward-thinking and traditional L&D professionals alike. But what happens when you try to appeal to everyone? You end up appealing to no one. We now simply call ourselves a learning platform because that is what we are, a platform for learning. In fact, a learning platform is fundamentally what we all are (we being all the different platforms out there), the real differentiators between us being our features, not our definition.
How to make a decision with so much noise
A good starting point when selecting the right learning platform for your company is to cut through the noise and first think about what it is you want. What aspects of your current L&D are working and therefore you’d like to keep? Which parts do you need to change to improve them? How do your team actually prefer to learn?
You might be unsure of the answers to these questions, especially if L&D hasn’t been a priority within your organisation before. It’s certainly important to consider these things, but you might find you want to talk to a company who can help you figure out what will work best for your staff.
Once you’ve got your learning requirements or platform features wish list sorted (ie. what you want your learning platform to do), you’ll probably find it easier to wade through the industry waffle to decide which company will best support your needs and ensure your staff are getting the platform they need to achieve their learning goals.
The perfect blend of what you need
Our objective when creating thirst was to make learning accessible to everyone by providing companies with what they needed, and not overcomplicating the experience with loads of outdated, ineffective features they didn’t want.
Our learning platform offers AI recommendations based on each individual user’s skills, interests and the content they’ve previously digested to provide them with a unique learning experience. We also offer a social learning community, intuitive reporting, and the ability to upload your own learning materials. We’re feature-rich and content heavy as standard for all users with thousands of learning resources available from hundreds of sources all over the web included as part of your subscription. We think we offer the perfect combination to make your team members want to come back and learn again and again.
So, what have we learnt about learning platforms?
All learning platforms, or whatever they decide to call themselves, are there to help people learn. It’s literally that simple. Many offer differing features, perhaps with different goals and objectives, and prioritise different things, but all are designed to take employees on a learning journey that, hopefully, they’ll enjoy and benefit from.
Hopefully with a little help from thirst, a learning platform that knows exactly what it is, the decision on which platform you choose just became that bit easier.