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Read more Rose Benedicks


Consulting Lead


What's a learning ecosystem

(and should you have one)?

Part 1 of a three-part feature on learning


Let's start with a somewhat controversial

statement. L&D has fallen out of love with

Learning Management Systems because

they are a one-stop-shop in an increasingly

fluid, complex world. Why invest in something

that has features you don't use yet not all of

the features you really want? L&D

organisations are saying (screaming?),

"Adapt to ME; don't make me adapt to YOU!"

In truth, customers of all products and

services are shouting a similar plea for userdriven rather than corporate-driven design,

which is why we're seeing things like actual

competition to the iPhone (nice one, Google).

What exactly is a learning


A learning ecosystem is a collection of tools,

processes, content, connections and

relationships. It is unique to your organisation

and links together systems or functions that

are not unique (like your LMS to your CRM). If

that sounds confusing, remember that the

learning ecosystem is completely unique to

the organisation. It's made to your

specifications and integrates whatever you

need, e.g. LMS to SalesForce to Learning

Record Store (LRS)). The LMS, SalesForce

and LRS are not unique; how they are

combined into an ecosystem is, however,

unique to your organisation.

This means you get to piece together

systems like you would a bunch of Lego™,

and get a really nice online entry point and

admin back end. For example, you may want

to bring together separate systems that

handle measurement and analytics, your

learner records, sales data, manager

observation or performance review data, and

have customisable reports. This list can grow

pretty fast.

Recently, Visa created a university in

partnership with Watershed - a learner

analytics platform (LAP) and lRS. The

discovery phase of the project resulted in a

learning architecture of the systems/functions

involved and the tools necessary to get them

to talk to each other in the ways Visa wanted.

In the new L&D language, that's a learning

ecosystem which integrates systems through

xAPI (next generation SCORM, reductively).

Why is the learning ecosystem

becoming popular?

The answer is pretty awesome.


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