Organizations use an average of “19 different learning technologies and spend 18% of their L&D budgets on digital,” according to Towards Maturity. In addition, Towards Maturity research has found that 90% of learning and development (L&D) teams do not fully understand the successes and failures of previous learning technology investments before they invest in more.

Is the jump to obtain the latest technology sometimes too hasty? Here are three reasons why great digital learning strategies don’t start with technology and some tips to help you determine your technical requirements.

1. People and Needs Come First

It’s important to have a strong sense of your learner landscape — employees’ needs and challenges — before committing to learning technology. Listening to business leaders’ take on the learning their teams need, as well as performance gaps within the business, is important. But it isn’t enough to create your future strategy or justify purchasing a new learning technology.

Successful learning and development strategies (digital or not) are people-centered. They start and end by working with users to identify problems and opportunities. Jumping into a specific technology before understanding the problems you’re trying to solve could lead you down the wrong path.

2. You Could Build on What Already Works

Your employees are probably already using some technology platforms for learning, whether it’s social sharing, video platforms, intranet pages or other types of technology. There could be a good reason not to break these habits.

In the age of digital overwhelm, adding more technologies can actually hinder productivity and use, not boost it. Think about whether you’re diverting traffic into a new technology for a good reason and how easy it will be to convince people to make the leap.

3. You Might Not Need New Technology

Modern experience API (xAPI) digital learning platforms can track users’ engagement with content that’s held in different places and in different formats. They can also deliver relevant content from different platforms to users.

Ask yourself whether you need to move content and other online learning experiences to a new platform, or if you could use xAPI technology to create a more connected learning ecosystem with what you already have. Rather than looking for a magic new platform that does everything, perhaps you’re missing just one string to your bow.

How to Pinpoint Your Requirements for Learning Technology

Whether you’re investigating learning experience platforms (LXPs), learning management systems (LMSs) or learning content management systems (LCMSs), authoring platforms, curation tools, social learning platforms, or tools that do a combination of these functions, start the process with people-centered consultation.

High-performing L&D teams understand employees and the learning landscape by finding information such as:

  • The daily challenges they face when doing their job.
  • The barriers to reaching their full potential.
  • What factors are in place when they reach top performance.
  • How employees currently learn for work.
  • How employees currently solve problems.
  • Which technologies are currently used and by whom.

Use this research to help identify performance gaps, blockers and opportunities, and then prioritize which initiatives are likely to bring the highest return to the business. It might be that there’s one key digital learning initiative that’s the missing link to releasing maximum performance potential.