Steve Goldberg's Analyst Perspectives

Pursuing the Win-Win with Personalized Learning Experience

Posted by Steve Goldberg on Nov 19, 2018 7:00:00 AM

Learning management technology, either as part of a larger HCM software suite or as a standalone niche solution, has evolved from its classroom-based, instructor-led origins. Modern systems deliver information the way many employees learn best, through informal social learning that is personalized and engaging. Some of these new, often mobile-enabled approaches deliver education via short (three to five minute) on-demand videos that are tailored to an individual’s specific job responsibilities or interests and increasingly involve artificial intelligence (AI) technology. AI’s role in this context is to better personalize learning content, modality and the pace of learning. In short, this is all about delivering learning the way each person learns best.

Many organizations are adopting modern learning delivery systems because they not only deliver learning more effectively and efficiently but can increase employee engagement, retention and productivity. By 2021, we predict that at least half of LMS customers will be planning to replace systems that lack the ability to personalize and contextualize learning.


To better understand current trends in workplace learning, Ventana Research is conducting benchmark research on Empowering Human Capital through Next-Generation Learning. We are investigating organizations’ use of and plans to deploy newer LMS platforms. We also are examining learning in the broader context of human capital management and evaluating how and where learning initiatives interact with other HCM processes and technologies such as performance management and even recruiting.

Complementing this research, later this year we will launch a Learning Management Value Index, a comprehensive analysis and assessment of learning management systems. The Value Index is market research that assesses enterprise software and technology vendors and products in seven categories. We conduct this research to educate and guide organizations that are assessing their current software and technology vendors or beginning a new vendor selection process related to learning management. If you’d like to learn more about the Ventana Research Value Index, please click here.

The Netflix model of learning management, in which systems suggest content or courses based on an employee’s interests, usage patterns and feedback, is hot. That’s because LMS buyers want a system that not only delivers relevant and appealing content to learners, but one that uses machine intelligence to recommend the learning content that will have the greatest and most efficient impact on work performance.

In the context of learning management, personalization has rapidly become a high-priority capability. Organizations want content that’s tailored to the employee’s needs and interests, but also a platform that delivers that content in the way and at the pace at which each employee learns best. As an example, field workers installing a window several floors up might be guided by an audio explanation of the task so they can keep their eyes on what they’re doing, but when they are back on the ground they can review a visual presentation of what a correct installation looks like.

This approach has given rise to an emerging LMS category known as learning experience platforms (LXP or LEP). This category focuses on delivering a personalized, learner-driven and, whenever possible, immersive learning experience. This represents a major attitudinal shift in the enterprise learning domain, away from what the organization requires of the individual and toward what the employer and the employee are each interested in. As a baseline, employers want productivity and employees want interesting work, professional growth and the opportunity to pursue their career interests.

Learning management systems facilitate regulatory compliance and other forms of cost avoidance, of course. But they also can play a significant role in improving employee internal mobility and career growth – key aspects of delivering a superior employee experience. As an example, a junior programmer in IT has a keen interest in being a database administrator, a more senior role. A modern learning platform will craft a focused learning plan for this employee, one that will keep him or her engaged and productive while supporting the goal of internal mobility and career growth.

Learning is a cornerstone of an integrated HCM strategy. Linking performance management to learning and development is increasingly common, but learning management also can be linked to succession planning and even total rewards. When strategic HR processes and people management activities are seamlessly integrated such that the output of one HR process (for example, a performance review) serves as the input to another (such as learning and development), an organization has positioned itself to make best use of its workforce for competitive advantage. Case in point: When a robust personalized learning experience leads to employees’ productivity improving by even a modest degree, an organization can reap millions of dollars in incremental value.

If your organization is considering an investment in learning management technology, the myriad options can be intimidating. I therefore encourage you to participate in our benchmark research on learning management, as those participating may also qualify for a free consultation in the area of enterprise learning technology. And our Learning Management Value Index research, which rates vendor offerings, vision and direction will help your evaluation and selection.

Steve Goldberg
VP & Research Director
Ventana Reseach

Topics: Human Capital Management, Learning Management, HRMS, Workforce Management, Digital Technology, Work and Resource Management, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, Artificial intelligence, employee experience, Chatbots, Personalization, Predictive HCM

Steve Goldberg

Written by Steve Goldberg

Steve is responsible for the Human Capital Management (HCM) research and advisory services practice. He guides HR and business leaders in leveraging their workforce for competitive advantage. He guides HCM technology vendors on the market of buyers and where their applications and technology can have maximum impact. Steve's uniquely diverse HCM experience spans over 30 years, including HR process and HCM systems practitioner leadership roles, heading up product strategy for one of the most respected HCM application vendors, and operating his own global advisory practice. His expertise areas of coverage include HRMS, Talent Management and Workforce Management, with specialized focus on recruiting, learning, performance, compensation and payroll. Prior to joining Ventana Research, Steve worked as a corporate VP in HR at UBS/Swiss Bank Corporation and Huizenga Holdings, product strategy leader at PeopleSoft and Unicru, and was also VP and Research Director at Bersin & Associates. Over 35,000 HR professionals and business executives have been informed by one of Steve's presentations on HCM, or have read his published work. Steve holds an MBA in Human Resource Management from University of Buffalo School of Management and a BBA in Industrial Psychology from The City University of New York.