No More L&D Integration Issues (No, Really)

Published 4 February 2021 by Caroline Koktvedgaard

When investing in a new learning program, the last thing you want to deal with is integration issues – yet too many L&D vendors aren't able to integrate with their clients’ existing platforms. This week, we’ll help you find a service that works for you.


As of last year, Josh Bersin estimated that there were more than 200 LMS vendors on the market, as well as more than 30 LXP vendors, and thousands of vendors who build mobile learning tools, content development tools, and analytics tools. 

Buyers are “simply overloaded” with the selection of learning services available, Bersin argues. As a result, many companies are looking to invest in more integrated learning platforms –leaving L&D vendors scrambling to meet this demand.

Nowadays, a whopping 58% of L&D professionals prefer to use “a single, integrated platform”, according to a 2019 survey from Harvard Business Publishing. Their respondents cited a number of benefits, including “consistent user interface”, “simplified admin, reporting, and data integration”, and, typically, “a single vendor relationship”.

“While you can try to build this yourself if you work hard enough, a new breed of ‘more integrated’ learning platforms has started to arrive”, Bersin argues, citing learning providers such as Degreed, EdCast, Fuse Universal, 360Learning, Inkling, Bridge, and CrossKnowledge as leaders in this space.

LXP Josh Bersin

Source: Josh Bersin (2020)

 

The emergence of integrated learning providers

The demand for more integrated learning solutions has led to increased investments in Learning Experience Platforms (LXP’s), with many enjoying their ability to serve up content and experiences from many different sources, and offer personalised recommendations and behavioural nudges for the learner. 

As of 2018, the LXP market was worth over $350M, and it continues to double each year.

What really sets the LXP apart from the traditional LMS is its extensive integration capabilities. An AI-powered LXP can integrate with your Human Resource Management (HRM) system, the corporate intranet, your Learning Record Store (LRS) or the enterprise Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, and collect the data from all of them. And by integrating with other platforms (Google Services, YouTube, social media, and communication tools such as Slack) LXPs can extend the learning experience beyond the LMS, offering a rich learning experience with a deeper level of personalisation. 

lxp-integration

Source: Valamis

When it comes to solving for integration issues, the LXP is the clear market leader. However, as of 2019, Harvard Business Publishing estimated that 46% of L&D professionals were using an LXP, while 40% were still using a traditional LMS. 

 

A market split in two

While 46% of L&D professionals prefer to use a “single, integrated platform”, 42% still prefer to spread their learning experience across multiple platforms. Respondents to Harvard Business Publishing’s survey enjoyed a “greater variety of applications”, and “the ability to address diverse business needs and learning styles”. One HR director commented: “We currently have an LMS, an in-house LXP, and standalone access to MOOCs – all accessible via SSO.” 

As John Leh, CEO & Lead Analyst of Talented Learning, comments: “Most organizations will still need an LMS to manage compliance, content assignment rules, external audiences, instructor-led management, content creation, curriculum development, certification and learning analytics.” 

The LXP, he argues, should be seen as “a complementary system”, which combines “all the mandatory learning content assignments from an LMS with social content, informal content and content from a variety of sources like universities, associations and much more.”

Danielle Draewell, Market Research Analyst at Training Industry, adds: “Organizations may have an LXP, an LMS or both. If they have both, they may use the LXP as the delivery platform and the LMS to handle the administrative work.”

 

Learning providers must rise to the challenge of integration

This leads us right back to where we started: with over 200 LMS vendors and more than 30 LXP vendors to choose from, as well as thousands of vendors who build custom learning tools, how on earth are L&D leaders supposed to choose the right vendor for them?

The answer, in our opinion, is that L&D providers must rise to the task of integrating with their customers’ learning platforms, whatever they have chosen.

After several months of in-depth analysis, our team has come up with a methodical way to compare between different L&D vendors. We have used this set of criteria to compare our own service to our competitors, accounting for several points of difference, such as ease of integration and the level of customisation available. 

You can use this checklist to double-check whether a learning program will be easy to integrate with your own platform:

 

TROUBLE-SHOOTING INTEGRATION ISSUES

Circus Street

Integration

Can the learning program be integrated with your existing platform (e.g. LMS), including single sign on (SSO)?

Scalable Solution

Can the content platform be accessed across large international teams? 

Customisable Platform

Can you incorporate your own content if needed?

Customised Learning

Can learning paths be customised based on your organisation’s goals and your team’s skills?

Offline Learning & Resources

Can lessons be downloaded on a mobile device and watched offline? Are physical/offline reference material and learning companions available?

Face-to-face Learning

Can learning be conducted face-to-face as well as online?

Reporting

Is reporting available during/following learning modules?

Level of Content Engagement

Are the lessons interesting to watch? Do they hold the learner’s attention throughout?

EXCELLENT

 


Ready to get started?

To find out how Circus Street empowers organisations with tailored learning programs, see our testimonials page. Or sign up for a free trial of our lessons to see how we can help drive business transformation in your business.

 

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