The biggest myths and misconceptions about learning platforms (LMS, LXP & more)

Gary Stringer
May 14, 2021
July 20, 2023
Learning And Development

When it comes to learning at work, we’re all products of the environments and offices we’ve tried to build new skills in. If you’ve only ever seen those click-through compliance courses or an LMS that’s not interactive, uninspiring and detached from how you work, you wouldn’t know there was a whole different side to learning solutions.

So, in some ways, we’re not just dealing with myths and misconceptions but the hangovers from people’s past experiences with other platforms – which often means the LMS. The truth is that modern learning platforms offer so much more and to help people understand that, we’re tackling some of the big issues here.

Learning solutions take too long to get up and running

It depends on the platform you pick! If you want to hit the ground running, seek out a platform that works for you out of the box and can tick the right boxes. Imagine you’ve got a spare ticket to an event and need to leave in five minutes, do you call the friend who takes that long to get ready or the one who’s always late? Pick the former and you’re less likely to be disappointed.

That’s why we’ve seen a trend for learning platforms that are far simpler to set up and use. In HowNow, for example, we developed the Nugget, which is such a simple way of creating content that countless people are using it on launch day – our Gymshark customer story is a prime example of that. It’s as simple as clicking create, typing in, attaching or linking your content, choosing where and who you share it with and hitting publish.

And that goes back to the idea of layout and interface, if something isn’t easy to use then people won’t use it. Hopefully, you’ll excuse the self-promotion, but let’s take HowNow for example.

Before anyone needs to even scroll, they can find the vast majority of things they need. Recent recommendations and key announcements are front and centre, the left-hand column organises their content in an easy to navigate way, and they can either search for or create content with the side by side search bar and ‘plus button’ in the top-right corner.

HowNow layout

It’s too hard to curate or create content

Hopefully, the GIF above shows you that this really isn’t the case! As we’ll come to later, creating content is only hard if you choose to make it hard. Although, when people are starting from scratch and perhaps don’t have a lot of existing resources, it can seem like a content mountain to climb in order to get sufficient materials into your platform.

And that’s where the idea of curating content comes into play. It also takes us to a quick side myth, which is that it’s a choice between curating external content or populating it with your own, the best situation and one many LXPs or learning platforms offer today is a combination. The best of both worlds is particularly helpful for those people we mentioned without too much of their own content ahead of launch.

If you’ll indulge us with another glance at HowNow, we enable you to select which content providers you switch on and populate the platform with. If we break it down another level, when people want more control over what they’re seeing and learning from, they can subscribe to channels relevant to them. And then alongside all of that, you’ve got artificial intelligence (AI) recommending relevant content to those people. And AI is a big myth-buster in itself, because if you do believe time is a barrier then it really breaks it down for you.

Switching on content sources in HowNow

The content has to be absolutely perfect from the offset

Imagine your phone breaks and you’re really desperate to get your hands on a new one. A kind friend offers to buy you a replacement but claim they can’t give it to you until they find the gift box that’s just right – and it might take weeks or months. The phone is what matters, not what it’s wrapped up in! And we find ourselves in a similar space when it comes to content.

If you wait until the design and packaging of the content is perfect, you might miss the moment that it’s actually useful. A HUGE myth is that it has to be a polished work of art when you send it out – people will appreciate the content a lot more if they have access to it without a six-month delay for design sign off. Bullet points now are better than a polished book later, which is hopefully what you saw in our Nugget example.

All your content has to be uploaded for day one

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your learning platform won’t be either – because it’s a living and breathing thing. There will be content that people need on launch day and stuff they won’t need for months to come, think about what’s going to be useful and when! By the same token, you’ll find new problems arising over time and will need to deliver content that caters to that. That’s something you’ll have to manage as it moves along and it’s where that idea of delivering content when it’s useful comes into sharper focus.

People often put too much pressure on themselves when it comes to the content they need, and that perpetuates this concern or myth that they’ve got a huge hill to conquer to get everything together at once.

They’re only for certain types of content

Now, this could well be one of those hangovers from using an LMS we mentioned at the start. And it’s because they’re typically associated with a limited set of content types that leave people feeling disenfranchised. Compliance training tends to fall into that category because you often see them in the long-read and click format or structured where people need to watch long videos and answer a few questions.

The problems are that this doesn’t reflect how people learn in the world outside of work and that it’s a format people can’t apply in the flow of work. This leads us to the ideas of including all the content we encounter in everyday life and incorporating microlearning into your strategy.

If somebody’s had a long week and wants to make a cocktail on Friday night, do you think they’ll sign up for a course or head over to Google or YouTube? It’s almost certainly the latter (who wants to delay their favourite tipple!?). So they should be able to replicate that behaviour at work. YouTube videos, blogs, podcasts – they should all be a part of your learning strategy and content catalogue. It’s all about that idea of working with people’s existing habits, not against them.

Now, by the same token, that also applies to where/when they can access and apply that information. A traditional LMS would force people to head out of the workflow and over to the platform to learn what they needed. Today, people need learning platforms that integrate with apps they already use and then offer digestible content that can be understood and applied at the point they need it. That’s where microlearning meets the points of need…

They encourage a top-down approach where a select few control learning

This one is definitely a hangover from the days of the LMS, where a select few people in the company controlled who was learning and what the content was. Forward-thinking learning platforms give everyone a voice to democratise learning because we recognise that everyone has wisdom to share and individual learning needs.

Social learning and knowledge sharing are centred around the idea that subject matter experts exist at all levels of your organisation, so you should be able to tap into that and connect them with others. Most importantly, you should be capturing that and making it accessible to everyone, on-demand.

HowNow can be that single front door for your company’s knowledge and resources, where you can capture and share it across your company and make it accessible in one place. We’ve got an on-demand product tour if you’d like to see how it works, but if you’d prefer to have a chat just complete this form.

Check out our other learning experience platform (LXP) resources