Lots of technology exists today to support the HCM function, and one of the areas that is fairly mature is the learning management system, or LMS market. These tools have been around for years and are usually leveraged to deliver eLearning and track completions/compliance. But that’s not the only tool in today’s learning technology stack. In the last month I’ve been reviewing other tools and tech and have run across three very interesting solutions that are solving major problems within the learning world.

Finally! Focus on Skills and Mobility from a Learning Perspective

Every company knows that learning isn’t about completing courses–it’s about gathering skills and improving performance. Pathgather has set out to do just that with its system. World class customers such as HP, Visa, and T-Mobile all trust Pathgather’s technology to help manage employee learning not in the traditional sense, but by giving employees the ability to capture their learning activities on a broader scale (read an article? watched a video? it’s all in your profile).

I’ve said for quite some time that curation is the new creation for L&D professionals, meaning that L&D leaders need to get comfortable with helping to curate and find great resources instead of trying to justify their value purely through the creation of new learning objects. This tool gives L&D leaders a leg up on that challenge.

The piece that really excited me was their focus on actual talent mobility as a measurement of success. Too often learning sees quantity of content delivered as its measure of success, when in reality it should be the improvement of the people and the organization. Very, very interesting solution and one that I am going to continue to watch.

Instructor Led Training is Important and Valuable: Manage it Well

In every study I’ve done over the years, instructor-led training shows up as the most common tool and one of the most highly regarded in terms of effectiveness. Yet enterprise firms spend millions to send people to physical training sites and there’s often so much waste and ineffective use of resources. If you’re lucky, your LMS allows you some basic tools to manage this, but in reality it wasn’t built to run an ILT training organization.

The team at Training Orchestra is solving this problem and helping employers to see the business value in the change, and their clients include firms like PwC and Capgemini. For instance, clients come to TO for help with optimizing an existing ILT operation, and they can see up to 25% optimization in resources in the first year of operations. This means more efficient scheduling of people and resources, making sure the right talent is on hand at the right time in the right place. While it sounds simple, it can equate to millions saved for very large training operations. Instructor-led training isn’t going away any time soon, and smart companies with big ILT needs should think about optimizing their approach.

Training Your Customers and Partners with a Dedicated, Purpose-Built System

Training in today’s world often means something more than just employee-focused learning. Yet many systems are built just to deliver training content to internal workers. How should companies train their partners and customers, then? And what about paid training–can the system handle the ecommerce aspects?

That’s the problem Thought Industries was created to solve. This system focuses on powering the business of learning. The part of the conversation that most excited me was the difference in how training is often developed for internal audiences versus how it needs to be developed for external audiences, especially paid ones. For instance, we’ve argued about the importance of learner experiences, because we need to “encourage” internal workers to take training. When we’re selling training to external audiences, we have an even bigger hurdle to make it engaging and valuable, because the downside isn’t just a lack of voluntary participation–it’s a lack of revenue. In other words, these are consumers with choices, not captive employees subject to our whims as an L&D team. TI would be worth a look if your company develops training for external audiences and needs a system built to handle those specific needs.

While these aren’t the only learning tools out there, they are some of the more innovative and interesting ones I’ve seen lately. What about you?