Learning Experience Platform Degreed’s announcement to acquire Pathgather could be a glimpse into the future of corporate learning.

As businesses are increasingly disrupted by technology, perhaps nowhere are they experiencing more talent and HR-related disruption than in the corporate learning segment.

Macro consumer trends that impact the way employees wish to find, access, and share content are having a direct impact on their expectations for corporate learning. Learning and HR departments are rapidly seeking alternatives to the way that learning content can be created, curated, and shared across the enterprise. The stakes are very high. Corporate compliance, customer experience, revenue, and brand are just a few of the critical touch-points where learning can have a significant and measurable difference.

Business leaders are overwhelmed with platform and best-of-breed product offerings entering the market at rapid pace. The corporate learning tech market seems to get disrupted every two years in an effort to keep up. Chief Learning Officers (CLO) are finding themselves in a new circumstance – the front lines of digital disruption and in need of answers that satisfy the rest of the business leaders’ needs for talent at the ready and the employees’ need for find-able and consumable content that helps actually get their job done.

Until recently, the market has largely been bifurcated into two principal product categories: Consumer or independent learning and Corporate learning. Consumer learning includes LinkedIn’s Lynda, and platforms like SharePoint, or even Youtube. Places where people to go to find video content that can teach them just about anything, including work related topics. Corporate learning is delivered to the business via an app or platform. It includes platforms like Skillsoft, Cornerstone OnDemand, or ERP/HCM providers like Oracle or SAP. Corporate learning draws from content that is approved directly, or via proxy, by the business. It’s where the Learning Management System (LMS) resides.

The reason this acquisition is so interesting lies within the approaches each of the vendors has taken to the market.

Degreed helps businesses empower and measure all learning for employees. Whether the content is mandatory from  sources like the LMS or content provider libraries or whether from books, articles, or videos, employee’s take control of their learning, leveraging both formal and informal content. Everything is tracked and measured against personalized learning goals that can be integrated into core talent management processes. Employees and employers alike have rapidly changing expectations of learning and the tech used to enable it. Degreed is one of the only vendors that has had a platform and approach to empower employees to learn both inside and outside the office, then provide employers the opportunity to leverage it into the employee experience.

Pathgather, in my opinion, provides one of the more scalable approaches for employees to create and share the kind of learning content that reflects how people really learn on the job – from each other – based on up to the minute needs, no matter how strategic or tactical.

Both of these vendors are considered emerging leaders in the Learning Experience Platform (LXP) market category, a  category that itself is emerging. Currently the LXP sits “in front of” the LMS and learning content library. However, occasionally (and more frequently) the LXP is looked on as a long term replacement for the LMS. This makes the current position of the LXP seem like more of a safe “beach head” or “soft landing” into the market. Meanwhile the CLO is finding their systems and content more integrated into every aspect of talent related functions than ever before. Integration into the learning process and technology stack is a part of every conversation I’m having with leaders from the business lines to recruiting, to HR and talent management.

It remains to be seen whether Degreed will be the company leading the world to the new frontier of learning, but it is clear they are the leader in vision and plans to get businesses and individuals there together.


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