In Laura’s review of the Learning Pool training platform, she found a true LMS / LXP hybrid that offers the best of both worlds.
Learning Pool have produced an excellent, all-in-one training platform focused on the internal employee use case, with 6 billion intelligent data points for facilitating easy automation and actionable insights.
Learning Pool’s platform originated as an LXP, and they have built it from the ground up to incorporate all the functionality that you would expect from an LMS, but with a clean and modern UI and UX and a host of great USPs. So, you get the usual LMS functionality, like management of instructor led training, managing onboarding, managing compliance with features like recurrence and recompletion, and manager sign-off for on-the-job training.
However, you also get an intuitive UI and stress-free UX that enables their learning platform to be a true LMS / LXP hybrid and the “best of both worlds”. The functionality of the platform provides a powerful toolkit to empower organisations to be skills-focused in developing their staff to be future-fit.
Who are Learning Pool?
Founded in 2006, Learning Pool’s mission is “to create learning experiences that deliver extraordinary outcomes for companies and their people.” In recent years, they have grown rapidly, acquiring five companies in as many years.
This has enabled them to continue to develop and expand their product suite and offerings. They now have over 450 employees across the UK and North America, and have recently achieved B Corp certification, which reflects their values as an organisation.
Some might recall Learning Pool as offering an LMS based on the Totara platform (with their many additional plug-ins and extensions), and as providers of an extensive elearning content library.
Since their acquisition of HT2 Labs in 2019 though (and their departure as a Totara partner in 2020), they’ve put huge investment into developing their Stream LXP (originating from H2T Labs as the brainchild of Ben Betts who now leads Learning Pool as CEO) and making this their core enterprise learning platform.
It’s worth noting that their original LMS product is still fully supported for their many existing clients and is still deployed for clients with use cases that require it. However, this review is focused on what they class as their core learning platform evolved from Stream LXP.
Clients benefit from a modern LXP that has been built from the ground up, with the more recent addition of much of the key functionality of an LMS that one would expect from such an established large (and rapidly growing) LMS vendor who know a thing or two about building learning platforms and great learning experiences.
Their client sweet spot is focused on the 1,000 – 50,000 user, full enterprise model and you’ll find them operating across a wide variety of industries, including corporate services, consumer product manufacturing, industrial manufacturing and services, chemicals, food and beverage, insurance, banks, computer software, pharmaceuticals, retail, and more.
They now have over 1,500 customers, with 26 million users across more than 30 countries.
An example of the complexity the learning platform can handle is the solution they provide to Coca Cola, who have 1.2 million users in a fast-paced environment with high turnover of staff. There are 60k content integrations, 1k pieces of internally authored content and multi-tenancy used to provide training to their 3rd party bottling partners.
A Host of Great USPs and Features
Learning Pool have delivered a training platform that contains a host of great USPs. These include their Skills Engine, which contains 22,000 skills in the ontology and intelligently surfaces content to users, Automation Workflows, learning in the ‘flow of work’ with their Social Learning features, and their Social Intelligence dashboard – and the BI engine used for this (Sisense).
Additionally, the platform integrates with a wide range of best-in-class applications to create the ideal ecosystem for their clients, enabling a bespoke solution to their individual specific needs.
Their key value-adds include some additional authoring capability with their external tool, Adapt Builder, and they also have a rapid in-built elearning authoring tool.
Lastly, they have an exciting new content offer called AI Conversations, which has been created to teach people how to have difficult conversations in the workplace.
The clean and modern UI and UX is demonstrated through some neat features, like side menus that slide out, and playlists, streams, and graphical tiles. A recent UX and UI overhaul has put accessibility and mobile access first.
Their mobile access is very good and they have a mobile app, although they find that users almost always use the browser version as there is no degradation in functionality (which is a testament to its great UX design) and useful for reducing potential barriers to people accessing it. So you don’t have to ask your employees or learners to download an additional app onto their phone, which is something that often meets resistance.
This is definitely one of the platform’s USPs. It’s a nifty tool with impressive functionality that enables a client to create automated campaigns based on incoming webhooks.
Essentially, this enables you to create workflows and actions based on triggers. For example, someone completing a course could trigger a message being sent to their manager via Teams or a text message being sent to the user.
A vast number of IF, Then, And, Or variables can be added into this to create quite complex automated workflows. It also works with integrated apps, so that something could be triggered within the platform and then be triggering an action outside into an external app.
An integration with Shopify provides another example. Perhaps a user purchasing content on a Shopify front-end could then trigger an action to register them in the learning platform.
This has great potential to be used in a use case for selling content to an external audience of customers, partners, or extended enterprise. Although their sweet spot is the typical internal employee L&D use case, the functionality and the integrations that they have means that there is real diversity for setting up quite complex segmented audiences – especially when added to their multi-tenancy LMS functionality.
Learning in the Flow of Work
The platform facilitates Learning in the Flow of Work in a really effective way. Learning Pool like to “focus on conversations in context” rather than the classic forum functionality, which might have its limited uses in learning.
To enable this, the training platform has a side pane that pops out to facilitate the conversation threads that can happen alongside the content. This means that the conversation is in the context of the content on the screen. You can have an infinite number of threads and it works in a very similar way to threads on MS Teams or Slack.
Social Intelligence Dashboard with AI powered Semantic Analysis
Connected with the superior level of functionality in the social learning elements of the platform is the Social Intelligence Dashboard. This is where the semantic analysis, which has been trained on 2500 scored comments (this is an AI model), can generate detailed reports showing where the comments show genuine engagement (ie it requires more than just a comment of “this is great”) by analysing the sentiment within the comment.
It can do this over time, so throughout a learning programme or pathway, it tracks the depth of learning progression. Data and engagement by learners is based on the quality of their engagement and the sentiments expressed, which enables organisations to also promote their hidden subject matter experts or their advocates, or ambassadors on certain topics internally.
There are also some useful diagnostic opportunities here for the L&D professional to actually delve a bit deeper into the efficacy and engagement of their learning content over time. For example – perhaps the sentiment starts to get more negative halfway through a learning programme.
If so, they can investigate why that is. Is it a natural part of what happens as people move through the programme, is it because there is something wrong with the content, or is it because the depth of the programme of learning is gradually increasing and demanding more of the individual and their input is not aligning and increasing in the intended way?
The training platform also comes with 8 out-of-the-box BI dashboards, covering course performance, completion, comparing groups, and providing a helicopter view of the data. Learning Pool can also work with clients to design their own dashboards as part of their data services.
In addition to that, all data can be piped out of the platform into an external BI engine or data lake, such as Microsoft Power BI or Tableau.
Product Roadmap and AI Conversations
Learning Pool’s roadmap includes developing the event management functionality, covering multi-event booking, and building in manager approvals. This is already agnostic in terms of the meeting software, and includes a nice tutor view where partial attendance, no shows etc can be managed, and which then drives the completion status on the learning object.
Also, the event management module generates xAPI statements that then ping into the learning record store (LRS) and those can then feed into the automation workflows.
An exciting and highly innovative content offering is AI Conversations using Generative AI, which Learning Pool plan to be on general release imminently (at the time of writing). This is part of Learning Pool’s elearning content offering, rather than being an integral part of their platform.
They have collaborated with Mind Tools (a training content supplier) and developed content using speech-to-text and Open AI to help coach people when having difficult conversations in the workplace. The aim is to help develop those soft skills required in leadership and management training, for example when having to raise issues of an employee’s time management and dealing with this in a constructive and non-combative way.
There will be two offers – the first will include general off-the-shelf scenarios generating qualitative and quantitative feedback to the user, and the other will include bespoke scenarios that can be written and developed with the client to develop more specific character scenarios or rules of engagement.
With either offer, you essentially have a live interaction with a character where you need to have a difficult conversation with them, perhaps about their timekeeping. You record your voice, and you get a typed response back from the generative AI engine. The character might become defensive or annoyed depending on what you are saying to them.
The outcome of this AI coaching tool would be then to provide adaptive, personalised learning tools, targeting very specific learning interventions to the individual based on the feedback they have received from the assessment. I’ve seen this in action, and it really is an impressive tool to use.
Learn more about this innovative, all-in-one training platform from Learning Pool over on their website.
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