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Unlocked Learning—why an invisible LMS will set knowledge free

The best way to deliver knowledge to your team is to remove the boundaries locking it away.

9 Jun 2020 by Rocco Brudno

The sharing of knowledge has taken on so many forms and shapes since humans first began sharing stories with each other. We innately crave the desire to share and receive knowledge, to progress beyond our limits, and expand our worlds. But always, even with the internet, sharing knowledge could only be done within a box. You can only read blogs on certain sites, chat with friends on specific apps, share videos on supported platforms. But imagine if those borders were removed and content could be shared and consumed everywhere?

As a company, a team, a group of idealists, we knew the way humans share knowledge had to improve. And we’re excited to announce a solution—we’re finally setting knowledge free. With Unlocked Learning, you can improve the way your team trains and grows. This solution is going to revolutionize how knowledge can be shared.

Unlocked Learning—the beginning

Founder Jude and CEO Ryan always knew the standard for how LMS’s delivered training was archaic. Many platforms were built on training processes that weren’t designed for online training platforms. This created several issues that LMS’s are still plagued with today including:

  • Only enabling direct training - i.e. trainers have to deliver training content to each learner.
  • Forcing users to leave whatever space they work in to access the LMS for training.
  • Limiting the ability to deliver split testing to accelerate engaging training content creation.
  • Limiting how knowledge is accessed, preventing engagement from reaching maximum potential.
  • Separating training from the function it can be applied toward.

These problems aren’t a complete list, but rather the friction points that define how knowledge is shared within an organization. Because companies aren’t starting with their audience, it creates a separation of how teams train. This is why engagement can be low and knowledge isn’t being applied properly.

In the 4 years since Coassemble began, Ryan has spoken with many business owners and leaders. The one thing all of them wanted, was the ability to house all of their learning in one space. Why? Because they thought it’d be simple to get their teams to go to this space, engage with training, and apply that knowledge in their roles.

And they weren’t necessarily the ones to blame. With the implementation of most online training platforms, there was a standard process for adoption. It went something like this: A company or team had a training need that couldn’t work with their current process and needed a tool to evolve their training.

“You had a lot of audiences that were engaging in a space. Training platforms would come in and make a separate space for learning to happen,” says Ryan. “The provider would always say it needed to happen like that. Even when asked why training couldn’t be in the same space teams worked, they would say training is different.” This model still is in place today and can work for some use cases. But Ryan knew the engagement rates dropped the second people had to move an audience in order to train.

Unlocked Learning—the validation

Ryan consulted with companies like Coca-Cola, working to see how their training could be improved. In one company’s case, they had a great corporate learning management system for training. The problem was, out of the 3200 users they had, they barely had a hundred engaging with the training.

When Ryan inquired where their users worked most—or had the highest engagement, they said it was in Skype for business. So he encouraged the team to try creating sharable course URLs and polls that could be delivered via this tool. While this doesn't sound much like an online training platform—that was exactly why it worked.

After testing the model, they sent around a quiz using Skype's polling tool and got 2400 interactions. An increase from 0.0003% to 75% in training engagement! The key was providing the relevant content in the platform where the audience was already engaged the most. With these insights, it became clear that delivering learning where teams needed it was the future of online training platforms. From there, we received feedback from hundreds of customers with similar use cases requesting for some version of this style of training.

One of our very first clients came to us and even validated the need to be able to rapidly create, deliver, and test different training content. This client had a need to deliver a B2B performance strategy. She wanted to present three strategies to her employees and see which they thought would be the most effective. Her problem was that she had to disseminate this information across departments, and separate which teams received which strategy.

Ryan suggested a better strategy—implementing split testing by using the duplicate function to create different versions of the strategy. The idea was to rapidly create three different courses and leverage the URL function to mass send all three. Even with basic functionality for analytics, it showed that one strategy had significantly higher engagement than the other two.

These results validated the idea that knowledge and training don’t have to be delivered directly but rather can be shared socially. By providing a tool that a learner could engage autonomously with, engagement could be the focus, rather than delivery. More importantly, having a trigger for analytics on the backend would provide insight for admins, automating their processes.

Why Unlocked Learning

Forming new habits takes time, so it’s easy to understand why teams are reluctant to use a separate space for training. But when implementing an LMS, it’s difficult to deliver training content where teams are engaged most. Even social learning forces users to enter a space, rather than leverage social interactions already in the business (ie. Slack channels.). A better way to engage teams in the spaces they work was needed to truly unlock their learning.

Rather than creating training content in a single platform, Ryan reviewed where our customers’ teams engaged most. What apps and technology do they use and what platforms do they engage with most in their day? Rather than removing learners from these places, he wanted to deliver training directly to them. And once delivered, make it shareable so learners can train together socially, rather than strictly in an LMS. And lastly, allow for self-enrollment and social learning while still providing analytics for admins.

This is where Unlocked Learning will radically change how knowledge can be shared with teams. Rather than creating a platform that houses everything, it allows admins to deliver training where learners work. Our course enrollment sharing function is the first step to this new style of training. Learners can access the knowledge from anywhere the link is provided. Allowing for rapid self-enrollment that triggers analytics on the back-end provides better insights without hunting them down.

Admins can deliver a course enrollment link in Slack to one team who can then enroll, complete training, and subsequently share that training with others. This removes much of the friction caused by traditional training including:

  • Direct delivery of training that could be autonomous.
  • Time spent enrolling individual learners and then sorting them into groups.
  • Lack of insight on how individuals and teams perform.
  • Lack of ability for split testing training content.
  • Extra time needed for trainers to deliver content piecemeal for different learners.

Each of these issues cost valuable time and resources a team could better spend on their work. By bringing the training to learners, Ryan tested and PROVED that teams would increase their engagement with training. He also saw correlations between training and improved work productivity, employee satisfaction, and retention. All of these factors led to Ryan and Jude seeing the potential of what setting knowledge free could do for training.

Unlocked Learning was always the plan, we just needed the platform to create it. Coassemble’s mission to simplify how teams share knowledge to enable success starts with the learner. How does your team want to receive training? What platforms are they using every day in their role’s function? How can you track training courses accessed and shared throughout your organization? Unlocked Learning answers the questions with a powerful set of functions at every step, creating a truly “invisible” LMS.

Benefits of setting knowledge free

The best part of Unlocked Learning is what the benefits are for learners and trainers. We wanted to show you the data behind why we know this tool will revolutionize how knowledge is shared. The most powerful factor is learning in-the-flow of work. The Harvard Business Review drafted a great article on the scientific basis behind this training method. They focus on how informal or non-traditional learning actually is how most knowledge is shared.

With Unlocked Learning, trainers can deliver a team the best courses to the platforms they use daily and then allow the team to share it. This also allows training designers to create split testing, learning by crafting different forms of training and seeing which has the best engagement/results. ATD found that social learning and self-directed learning will be a focus for companies in 2020. Having a tool like Unlocked Learning that enables social and self-directed learning guarantees your teams will be ahead of the curve.

Social learning is a great example of exactly how informal training can be more effective than traditional methods. As the Brand Hall Group found in their research, companies increased the use of social learning tools by 60% in 2019! This is because knowledge is already easily shared between teams. Empowering them with the tools to do so effectively ensures trainers can still benefit from leveraging this style of learning.

Socially training your team means also knowing when to deliver that training or make it available to share. Learning in the moment is a model that helps create a surefire process for social learning to work. Remember when Microsoft Word first introduced Clippy to the world (the little pop up that asked if you needed help constantly)? Well, that was an example of how just-in-time training (JIT) is an effective delivery method for learning in-the-flow of work. Rather than hoping knowledge retention will carry from the time of training to application, JIT training happens in the moment. What makes Unlocked Learning so powerful is that it allows you to deliver training in-the-flow of work.

People consume knowledge when they need to use it in the moment. By mapping out common pain points in your training process, you’ll know exactly where JIT training can be delivered. Our Learner-First model eBook covers exactly how to map out and sort training for your learners. Leveraging where your team exists can help you strategize what signals should trigger a course delivery. Delivering training in this way with Unlocked Learning can become part of a powerful process to share knowledge with your team.

Unlocked Learning also makes admins and trainers' lives easier. Sharing a course with your team allows admins to:

  • Trigger the self-enrollment process for anyone taking the training (even outside the training group, if you wish).
  • Gain insights from anywhere in one, easy to use dashboard.
  • Provide analytics on a variety of metrics, including:
    • Where training is being accessed from and shared.
    • Progress and completion of anyone that takes the training.
    • Comparative analysis of training content engagement.
  • Share links with metadata and images by creating a code snippet.

Having these tools will allow trainers to automate and accelerate training processes for their teams. It will also help improve engagement rates by allowing trainers to replicate successful training content for future use.

These features combine to create an “invisible LMS” that can radically improve expected training outcomes for companies. Unlocked Learning offers nearly endless benefits to adapt to any training process. The time spent delivering training to the right team can now be spent on creation, engagement, measurement, and success for the business. Sharing knowledge shouldn’t be confined to a single space, locked away where no one goes. It should be exchanged freely, and we’re proud and excited to offer the ability to finally train and learn effectively.

The foundations of Unlocked Learning

Unlocked Learning can be broken down into three key areas of focus:

  • Audience
  • Content
  • Context

Audience is always a focus for Coassemble—creating training focused on the learner has been proven to be the most effective learning. By understanding where your audience is engaged, you can better deliver meaningful learning in-the-flow of work. Creating engaging content that leads to traceable results is the only way to ensure training is successful. Content that can be rapidly created and broken down into microlearning pieces ensures a richer learner experience for learners. Context is delivering that training where and when it matters most, in an easily accessible format for learners. Just-in-time training embodies the method behind why this style of training delivery is so effective.

These three areas combine with traceability along each area to monitor the insights of learner engagement, progress, and results. Your trainers will never have to guess on how learners are doing again (or worry about direct training delivery).

Over the next few months, we’ll be releasing some exciting content weekly on Unlocked Learning and its benefits including:

  • Why your audience matters.
  • Why content can be both rapidly created and engaging.
  • Why contextual relevance is important to training delivery.

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