digital-learning-platforms
Training & Learning

Digital Learning Platforms: What UK Organisations Need to Consider

We’re in the midst of an explosion of online learning. The UK eLearning market alone is expected to grow 15% every year from now until 2026.

This growth is great for you and your learners because it gives you a wider range of options. Unfortunately, it also makes choosing the right platform more challenging than ever. It might be tempting to select an online learning platform with lots of fancy features, but if you don’t use them, you’re wasting money.

To help you find the right online learning platform, we’ve compiled a list of questions you should ask before making a final decision.

What type of digital learning platform will serve your company best?

Digital learning platforms provide solutions for creating, managing, and measuring the success of educational content and are ideal for organisations that need to quickly produce learning content to fill skill gaps.

The system you choose should be a lot more than a simple tool for storing your company’s learning materials—it needs to actively support your strategic learning objectives. For example, if your company is operating in multiple countries, you’ll need local language support, which some all-in-one platforms offer. In contrast, a specialised tool might suit your needs better if you have one specific learning objective you want to address through the use of technology.

Looking for more tips on selecting a digital learning platform? Download our checklist: What to Consider When Choosing an LMS

What to consider when choosing an LMS

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The most common types of digital learning platforms

The term “digital learning platform” covers a wide range of software, from formal eLearning courses to informal learning apps (and everything in between). 

It’s helpful to start by exploring whether you need a basic tool, an ‘all-in-one’ solution, or a specialised digital learning platform to maximize functionality. The most common types include:

  • A Learning management system (LMS) is software that’s purpose-built to manage every aspect of your learning programmes, including course creation, registration, assessment, and reporting. It can also be used to control content access across multiple devices and platforms.
  • A collaborative learning platform is an integrated learning platform that takes an LMS to the next level. It not only lets you create and distribute courses; it enables your learners to continuously collaborate and upskill from within via course creation, knowledge sharing, microlearning, and continuous feedback.
  • Learning destination sites are hosting platforms with learning courses created by third parties. These sites typically feature a wide variety of courses, which is great if you don’t have the time or resources to create courses from scratch. On some of these sites, you can host your own courses, but if you’re relying on existing courses, you won’t have control over the content.
  • Online course creation platforms host your course content, allowing you to quickly author, distribute, and manage course materials. Although they often include quizzes, assessments, and templates, they are not as comprehensive as an LMS. Additionally, their tracking and reporting options may be limited.
  • Video platforms like Zoom or Vimeo aren’t digital learning platforms per se, but you can deliver live workshops or pre-record course content and store them for later viewing on demand. 

Does the digital learning platform support your most common use cases?

There’s no one digital learning solution that will fit all L&D departments—only you know your specific needs—but you can narrow down your choices by considering these four areas:

Content format: What types of content do you need to create—video, text, or images? Are there short-form as well as long-form options? Will you be creating alternative types of content, such as podcasts? 

Content accessibility: How will your learners be accessing your course content—web browser or mobile devices? Will your learners have the option to download content for offline viewing? 

Content creation tools: What tools are available for creating content? How easy or difficult is it to use their creation tools? Can course content be created and edited collaboratively?

Content tracking: How far do you want to go with tracking? Can your administrators track who has completed each course? Does the tracking include additional features to identify trends and help improve content quality?

Will your digital learning platform scale as your learning programmes grow?

Another aspect to consider is whether the digital learning platform can adapt to your long-term L&D strategy. You may not have the budget right away, but as your organisation scales and your needs increase, you should consider whether an enterprise-level solution will serve you better in the long run.

Take a look at your existing roadmap or long-term strategy to determine which features you'll need now and in the future. The key is to futureproof your digital learning as much as possible.

What kind of reporting features do you need?

Your digital learning platform should be able to track learners’ progress and see how your courses are performing. This helps you make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment and always have eyes on the ROI of your learning initiatives.

The type of data you need to collect will determine the features you need. If you want to track basic information like how many learners have interacted with a particular piece of content or how many times they’ve signed into a course, it will probably be enough to have a simple dashboard that gives you an overview of how many learners have accessed which courses and activities.
If you need to keep track of more complex or granular data, such as whether or not learners have successfully completed certain activities within a course or if they’ve reached certain milestones within a programme, you’ll need something more robust.

How much customisation will you require?

Customisation options should also be carefully examined. Using a flexible platform will make it easier for your developers to integrate it with your existing systems. For instance, if you need to integrate your digital learning platform with your HR system, look for a platform that offers an API or pre-built integration.

What’s the vendor’s reputation?

Before investing in a specific online learning platform, conduct a thorough search and comparison of the vendors you’re evaluating. This includes checking out user reviews and comparisons to other platforms. The platform you choose should have a solid reputation for providing quality customer service and support and be able to provide evidence that they’re committed to keeping their platform stable and functioning. 

Ask about their experience providing support, training, and development and implementation services for other companies in your industry or market vertical.

In addition, make sure you understand the provider’s security and privacy policies. Does their learning technology use data encryption to protect your users’ information? If so, what type of encryption does it use? Can you view a copy of their privacy policy before signing up with them? Security may be an issue if the vendor’s policies are unclear.

Selecting the right digital learning platform is one of your most important decisions

As you weigh your options, keep in mind that the digital learning platform you choose will have a big impact on your success. The right platform will help you create engaging learning paths that users find easy to navigate and enjoy using. A mismatch will slow you down, make it harder to track engagement, and frustrate your learners.

Digital learning is now the norm, and a solid eLearning infrastructure is now table stakes. 360Learning’s user-friendly learning management system lets L&D teams create interactive and collaborative learning experiences that empower employees to upskill from within.

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