The learning management system (LMS) offers opportunity for organizations to progressively enhance the effectiveness of their workforce. An advanced LMS can be more than a digital version of an organization’s training programs for specific jobs or to achieve compliance with policies and regulations. It can provide dynamic yet informal learning that business units can create, deploy and sustain through their own efforts. Last year I outlined the benefits of this new generation of learning management systems.
One vendor focused on a comprehensive approach to learning management is Docebo, which with 930 customers in 70 countries has been expanding globally to deliver its products to its customers and their own communities of customers. Recently I had a chance to get familiar with the company through briefing and an online trial of its cloud-based software and then more deeply with its organization, products and customers at Docebo’s analyst summit in Italy. Although its origins and headquarters are in Italy, the company has a global presence that includes Canadian investment and more than half of its revenue derived from the United States; it has customers and local sales, support and services spanning Europe, the Middle East and Asia. That’s impressive for a software company of this size and representative of its commitment to meeting the needs of global organizations for learning software available anywhere at any time.
Docebo has an ambitious strategy that not only shifts focus from formal to informal learning that is flexible in its configuration and deployment but also aims to maximize its potential in modules for coaching and sharing of learning-related assets to increase workforce engagement. CEO Claudio Erba intends to use artificial intelligence and predictive technology to make learning more intelligent in its interactions with workers. This ambition is reflected in adapting its product roadmap and design to be more direct and engage with individuals in a manner that might be found in Netflix or YouTube. Those consumer-centric sites rely on video that is promoted generally but also personalized for individual users. Docebo’s roadmap for 2016 and 2017 includes advances in its existing products but also begins its evolution of releases to support its CEO’s vision of more intelligent learning management systems used throughout an organization.
Docebo Learn, its core LMS product, is easily identifiable through a user experience that makes it easy to understand and administer. It enables companies to brand and adapt the LMS to their own look and feel. Its instructor-led training (ILT) integrates with Web conferencing technology such as Adobe Connect, BigBlueButton, Cisco WebEx and Citrix GoToMeeting and will include Zoom in its upcoming release in 2016. It also provides a range of APIs for embedding its technology with content management systems such as Drupal, Joomla and WordPress that are free or for a charge through salesforce.com; it also supports single signon (SSO) technology. Customers are asking for direct URL access to specific learning assets that can be embedded and used outside of a learning path or a course for replay as the individual needs.
Docebo’s LMS also supports structured certification, retraining and learning plans. It supports e-commerce capabilities for organizations looking to charge third parties such as customers and partners for use. For these types of expanded deployments it supports multiple but unified administration and domain management and a range of authentications across deployments such as portals or secure URLs. The LMS also supports access from mobile devices from smartphones to browsers and shortly will do so through native applications and HTML5. Our next-generation learning management benchmark research finds that use of mobile devices is going mainstream as nearly half (43%) of companies plan to use it or will in the near future. Docebo supports the MOOC, SCORM and XAPI standards to help with access, tracking and learning objects. I like that it has an offline player for users who are not connected to the Internet or may have a slow connection at a location.
Docebo offers in-depth information about additional features on its website along with documentation and incremental pricing. One of its layered-on capabilities is gamification that provides badges and awards to create a sense of achievement and pride among the workforce. Such recognition is increasingly important to engage the workforce and support finding of experts and knowledge to increase their responsiveness and effectiveness.
Docebo is enhancing its portfolio with two new modules currently in beta version. Docebo Coach uses a collaborative approach to provide expert sourcing, help in getting answers, creation of new knowledge assets and tracking and rewards. I like its question-and-answer collaborative environment, an “ask the expert” approach that can make it easy to get human assistance in the learning process. Its other new module is Docebo Share, which can capture and upload video recordings from smartphones or files on computers that then can be placed in what the vendor calls its Knowledge Hub. The content can be validated through a peer review process and edited, curated and published to its Knowledge Library. It is easy for any business person to perform this process and add comments or tips to video content. Our research into next-generation learning management finds that sharing courses and content is the most common need in more than three-quarters (77%) of organizations. The learning assets can be categorized, tagged and shared in specific channels including courses, libraries and content management systems. The content can then be tracked and individuals rewarded for their contributions. Both of the new modules will be released in 2016 with incremental releases later this year and in 2017. Docebo Coach and Share are responding to the need to support communities of practice around courses and topics and the ability to have discussion forums with moderated content, which our learning management research finds to be top needs from an LMS.
At the Docebo analyst summit, I had a chance to view examples of its global deployments. Appian, a business process management vendor that has millions of users, has adopted Docebo to invigorate its training and learning that is part of formal certification and also for informal learning to expand skills in its organization. Appian’s users of Docebo include its employees, customers and partners. Presentations from Sealed Air and Optimizely demonstrated the importance of usability in an LMS and blending of it with business processes in their organizations. All three are examples of the need for an adaptable LMS that can be embedded and used for multiple purposes.
Docebo as a dedicated LMS has great potential as most of the main providers have been acquired and absorbed into human capital management (HCM) portfolios. Its Coach and Share modules make it possible to engage into learning anywhere in the organization and engage the workforce in the process in a self-sustaining manner; both should contribute to the company’s growth. Docebo is part of a broader HCM strategy that encompasses learning as I have pointed out. Today’s organizations need an LMS that is easy to use and adaptable to a community of customers, partners and third parties. The company has enthusiasm for learning software and has demonstrated its success through customers and continued innovation in its products. Its focus on the user experience is validated in our research, which finds that this is the evaluation criterion most-often very important, to 61 percent of organizations, compared to functionality at 50 percent. Our research finds a variety of reasons to invest in this new generation of social learning, the most common being to improve employee engagement, increase collaboration among employees and increase effectiveness of learning management. Docebo should be part of any consideration of learning management software to meet business, human capital management and needs of extended communities of customers and partners.
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