Posted tagged ‘Learning 2.0 portals’

Learning 2.0 Portals – From Buzz to Abundant Value to Increasing Innovation

September 16, 2010

In blogs earlier this year, I wrote about “The Buzz About Learning 2.0 Portals” and “The Abundant Value of Learning 2.0 Portals.” We’re now seeing providers building increasingly innovative components and capabilities into their learning portals, which can exponentially increase their value and usage.

For example, just yesterday Expertus announced it was recently awarded a virtual instructor-led training (ILT) contract by a large global software provider. Expertus will develop a virtual ILT program to train the client’s sales force on new products, and to educate technical sales architects. Delivered over the ExpertusOne social learning platform, components of the program include hosted live events around the world, live chat with international subject matter experts, hands-on labs, virtual classrooms, online proctors and technical support. And the client’s anticipated cost savings – through elimination of worldwide travel and events expenses – is up to $5 million. While these types of portals of course require a financial investment, such potential hefty cost savings provide justification.

Other examples:

• OCLC, a nonprofit, membership-based computer library service and research organization needed to bring together library staff and organizations around the world, and provide a venue that would allow them to engage in discussions, participate in groups, share content and engage in collaborative learning development. The solution it selected was Plateau’s Talent Gateway platform, which integrates social tools, content management, Plateau learning management, customer management and virtual meeting spaces. It’s enabling OCLC members to connect with colleagues across the library community using social tools, create custom content, join in conversations, create ad-hoc communities and learn relevant skills.

• Liberty Mutual is using Cornerstone OnDemand’s Cornerstone Connect to facilitate informal learning as part of the company’s front line management training program. Participants take part in an in-person, weeklong program, supported by supplemental online courses via Cornerstone’s learning management system. Using Cornerstone Connect, Liberty Mutual’s team has created a management community to maximize and extend the benefits of the training program. Components of the Cornerstone Connect platform include rich user profiles, status updates, live feed views, communities of practice, discussion boards, blogs, wikis, podcasts, rating and sharing of content, knowledge management, tag clouds and RSS feeds.

One of the common, and critical, capabilities across all these platforms – as well as those already offered or under development by other providers – is engagement. In an isolated e-learning environment, it’s all too easy for the mind to wander (“Did I remember to send that memo?” “Hum, I wonder if there’s any cake in the break room?”) and equally challenging to feel a sense of connection (“Is anyone else unclear about that point the instructor just made?” “Who can I ask, other than my boss?”) Social media capabilities such as discussion boards and live chats with peers and subject matter experts can significantly enhance engagement in, and the resulting value of, e-learning.

Expect to see an increase in uptake of Learning 2.0 portals that enable engagement via social media capabilities. The rapid deployment, learning enhancement and cost savings value prop is über compelling.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

The Abundant Value Proposition of Learning 2.0 Portals

May 19, 2010

In my February 11 blog on “The Buzz about Learning 2.0 Portals,” I referenced research conducted by Expertus and Training Industry, Inc. which found that within the next two years, 45 percent of survey respondents plan to upgrade their existing learning portal and 14 percent plan to launch a new learning portal. And based on the results of a Learning BPO research study I recently launched, this comes as no surprise as the value of learning portals is becoming increasingly clear.

Learning 2.0 portals have a lot of functionality and can deliver significant benefits to the end-user company and its employees. Here is just a sampling of what I found to be noteworthy capabilities per a recent demo of Expertus’ customizable, web-based, social learning platform:

• The ability to consolidate learning information from what may be multiple legacy systems into one portal to view:

«   All mandatory company training programs along with due dates, a brief description and time required, and a click-of-a-button launch of a selected training program

«   Recommended learning and ratings by peers who have already taken programs. Imagine the value of this, for example, to a salesperson who has to quickly learn about a new product for an upcoming meeting with a prospect

«   The latest blog on topics related to specific interest areas or job functions

•  The ability to obtain insights from and ask questions of peers via a chat feature within the portal

•  The ability to access subject matter experts 24 x 7 – via the portal – for assistance when new learning programs are launched and a question arises. Imagine…no more needing to determine who to email or call and then waiting for a response, or getting caught in an IVR menu jungle

•  The ability to link training to talent management and create career paths and development plans, etc.

Need tangible proof of the value of learning 2.0 portals? One Expertus client achieved in four months a 388 percent increase in course registration volume, a 178 percent increase in new courses offered, and an increase of 123 percent for new learner registrations.

Of course there are many learning 2.0 portal providers in today’s marketplace, including Norway-based Edvantage Group which just yesterday announced a contract to provide a learning portal for MOT. MOT is an educational organization working with young people in Norway and South Africa to improve school environments via social learning methods such as peer-to-peer communication, exercises, stories, role playing and dialogues with other young people. 

A word of advice here to buyers. If/when you decide to implement a learning 2.0 portal, don’t pick a provider based solely on its technology offering, as technology is only as good as it is used. You’ll want a provider that can teach you how to or manage for you: 1) putting all the different learning environments, curricula and social networking functionality into the portal; 2) ensuring that content is continually updated; and 3) communicating the value of the portal throughout the enterprise, and conducting virtual learning demonstrations on how to use and best leverage the portal.

You’ll also want to make decisions on other portal-based aspects such as whether you want to provide all employees with unlimited access to learning or add in certain restrictions, whether all courses will be free or some will be fee-based, etc. A savvy learning provider can guide you through these types of decisions and build them into the system for you, as required.

Have you implemented a learning 2.0 portal? If so, I’d very much like to hear comments on your experiences, what worked well, what didn’t, what challenges you encountered, how the portal has been received by your employee base, the value you’ve achieved to date, etc.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

The Buzz About Learning 2.0 Portals

February 11, 2010

Since their inception, learning portals have become a pretty ubiquitous tool leveraged by organizations to enable learners to find out about available training and purchase or gain access to the content. In fact, according to a 2009 survey from Training Industry, Inc., 93 percent of organizations were using learning portals. But the survey also found that nearly 60 percent planned to either launch a new portal or upgrade their existing portals.

Enter Learning 2.0 portals, which have leap-frogged ahead of their predecessors in terms of capabilities and benefits available to organizations and individual users. Using Bersin & Associates’ definition, a Learning 2.0 portal:

 • Leverages global training content in many forms

• Changes worker expectation of when training information is available

• Harnesses the power of collaborative learning (Web 2.0) to share knowledge among peers

• Creates role-based context around the flood of learning content

• Supports the talent management strategy

• Frees you from the limitations of the enterprise LMS

I’d add to that list of benefits that Learning 2.0 portals enable organizations to aggregate learning content from different enterprise learning systems, and, in some cases, rate or grade the delivered learning.

So, do Learning 2.0 portals really deliver on their value proposition? You betcha.

A corporate user – read: non-vendor/non-hype – description of a Learning 2.0 portal, published in the eLearning Weekly blog, said, “We implemented a learning portal at work several months back, and it has turned out to be one of the best things I could recommend to an organization for improving access to learning materials. In the past, I’ve worked at organizations where we would tell learners, ‘Look in the LMS’ to find materials and information. I’ve realized that a learning portal creates a self-service environment for users that can’t be beat. They can go, search, find what they need, and move on. It’s a Google-like experience, for what has generally become an information-on-demand culture.”

And EMC Corporation – which had an existing Learning Management System (LMS) and wanted to make it easier for its employees to research available learning and register for courses but didn’t have the time or budget to upgrade the LMS – implemented a learning portal and obtained a 50 percent increase in portal visits, 55 percent increase in self-service registration and a 15 percent reduction in support costs.

I believe usage of Learning 2.0 portals will exponentially increase for several reasons:

• As M&A activity will continue in nearly all industries, combining the capabilities of both companies’ learning systems in one portal, as well as offering employees a single self-service place to go to learn about and gain a deeper understanding of the new company would be extremely valuable (critical note: under no circumstances am I suggesting here that a learning portal should take the place of a comprehensive change management communications program in an M&A situation!)

• Employee self-service is an ever-growing trend as organizations implement it to reduce costs, improve employee satisfaction and deliver the Web 2.0-type capabilities millennials in the workforce openly and adamantly expect, as do their Gen X counterparts to a large extent

• As I’ve said numerous times in various blogs, as the recession recedes, organizations will again place more emphasis on investing in their people, and learning portals will make it easier for them to do so

So a word to HRO service providers: if you don’t yet offer a Learning 2.0 portal, you may want to strongly consider doing so…the value proposition is there.

And buyers: if you’ve implemented a Learning 2.0 portal, I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall