Learning Technology

Technology plays a vital part in our Learning Services business, courtesy of our Learning Enablement and Analytics Platform (LEAP) and a 45-strong team of technology specialists.

This is a technology offering that helps both future-proof a learning function (if you’re partnered with Microsoft, as we are, you never have to worry about not being up to date) and draws learning into the flow of work, delivering learning interventions at the moment of need. As well as bringing our own technology platform, we also advise on an organisation’s entire learning technology ecosystem, making sure they have the right technology stack they need to transform their learning function.

LEAP is what allows learners to search for, and book themselves onto, training courses. It’s how we look after all our booking, venue and attendance management and the reason why we can automate learner communications and evaluations. It supports all our billing and invoicing and it’s where we collect all the data for our client reporting dashboards.

In fact, LEAP supports every aspect of our clients’ learning activities. It provides a complete view of learning within an organisation, not just what takes place in a classroom or virtual learning activity. For many organisations, this is something they’ve never been able to access previously.

LEAP’s importance to how we deliver an end-to-end learning experience cannot be understated. Nor can the presence of our dedicated Learning Technology team, which comprises architects, software and cloud engineers, project and product managers, support analysts and quality assurance specialists.

When the team first started thinking about the technology required to deliver our learning services, they could have opted for third party platforms and off-the-shelf solutions. However, they always knew they wanted their own technology solution; something that could match the quality of our learning services and deliver a differentiated learning experience.

Allied with Microsoft

All of which leads to the final component of our Learning Services technology offer; our global alliance with Microsoft. Ever since the alliance was first established, we’ve worked closely on every aspect of our learning offer. Over the years, we’ve collaborated with Microsoft’s product groups and solution architects to make the best possible use of their existing products within LEAP.

Bearing in mind the ubiquity of Microsoft technology across our client base, we’ve also looked to integrate LEAP into clients’ existing Microsoft stacks, whether that’s through their Microsoft calendar, through Teams or, more recently, through Viva Learning.

These integrations allow us to deliver learning at the point of need and in the flow of work. Or – to put it another way – we can deliver learning-related activities directly to a learner within the applications that they typically use throughout the day. And we can do all of this at scale – as we currently serve over half a million users on our learning platform.

We’re also able to integrate with whatever other technology a client may already have – such as their existing learning management system or experience platform. That’s incredibly powerful; effectively helping to maximise the return that they’ve already made in their own technology while also delivering the full range of benefits that LEAP brings.

Integrating systems like this is never without its challenges but we have a strong track record in this area, working closely with clients’ risk, security and technology teams to deliver a successful integration.

An end-to-end learner experience

A core benefit of LEAP is how it allows us to deliver an end-to-end learner experience. This is much more than a simple front-end offering, allowing learners to navigate their way around a curriculum and select a course. It’s a comprehensive service, through which they can also make bookings, receive their joining instructions and evaluation forms and be nudged about forthcoming learning activities.

An important part of this experience stems from the integration with existing client systems, allowing us to deliver learning-related activities to where the learner is. As well as creating a more seamless experience, this makes learners more likely to engage with their learning programme. There’s no stepping away to have to look for something. It’s all there for them; easily accessible and on-demand.

For example, if they’re working in Teams or have their calendar open, we can deliver nudges and prompts, reminding them of learning they’ve already booked or encouraging them to find out more about topics that may be relevant to their current work. Alternatively, we can incorporate a chatbot into Teams, allowing learners to ask questions about our service.

It’s this approach to technology that has allowed us to send out over 1.5 million learner communications in the past year alone – and to conduct over two million learner evaluations.

It’s technology that lets us capture learners’ expressions of interest in particular topics, allowing clients to make sensible, evidence-based decisions on where to focus their L&D investments. And it’s technology that has allowed us to automate several elements of the learner experience – the communications, nudges, approvals, evaluations, etc. – helping us to deliver a high quality experience at scale.

The LEAP platform

LEAP is hosted in Microsoft Azure, in its own purpose-built learning cloud. This allows us to keep all client data secure, in accordance with both our own security policy and our clients’ contractual requirements. Featuring a whole host of Microsoft software and technologies, the functionality it offers to learners and clients continues to expand at a rapid rate.

LEAP is built in a modular fashion, making it entirely configurable. Modules can be removed if a client so wishes - or adapted to their particular requirements; anything from incorporating their company branding through to reflecting their existing learning booking processes.

The platform has continually evolved over the past six years to make sure that it continues to keep pace with learners’ and organisations’ ever-changing (and increasingly high) expectations of a modern learning platform. Those high expectations mean there can be no excuses for a clunky corporate learning experience - which is why we continue to explore every way of improving our technology offering.

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