Learning Ecosystems interview with Fiona Leteney
Opinion Piece
Fosway Group's Fiona Leteney on Learning Ecosystems

Fosway Group: "Focus On Your Learning Ecosystem"

Opinion piece by Fosway Group's Analyst Fiona Leteney
Fiona Leteney

Fiona Leteney

Fiona Leteney is the Senior Analyst for Learning Systems at Fosway Group, Europe’s #1 HR industry analyst. She has worked in the learning technology market since 2000, gaining a wealth of experience by either selling, implementing or managing learning solutions in a corporate context.

Terms such as LMS, NGLE and LXP are confusing for corporate buyers. The definitions aren’t clear and it’s hard to differentiate between the different types of technologies. That’s why in the February 2020 Learning Systems 9-Grid™, Fosway took the bold decision to reclassify Learning Systems as Suites and Specialists with the aim of more clearly and accurately defining the market. Organisations have always had a learning ecosystem of platforms and tools but the acceleration to digital-first ways of working and hybrid working require the ecosystem to be optimised to deliver impact and value.


This blog will explain the reasons why:

  • The new classification is more reflective of the current learning systems market
  • The ecosystem concept of combining suites and specialists is the way forward
  • The connectivity of the ecosystem and circulation of data is more important than ever before
Team talking about Learning Ecosystem

LMS & LXP labels no longer reflect the current learning systems market

Market perception is that the LMS represents traditional ‘tick-box’ compliance and ‘click-next’ content. A new label (LXP) encouraged the market to look to a fresh new future. However, over recent years the lines between the two types of system have blurred and those vendors who thought that formal learning and LMS functionality could be ignored were mistaken. This is true, particularly in the mid-market, where buyers can neither afford nor justify the purchase of more than one learning system. As the market now both accepts and adjusts to the Fosway classification of Suites and Specialists, some vendors have re-evaluated their target positioning and where they fit in the corporate ecosystem. Some specialists have prioritised innovation over backfilling core learning management functionality, often preferring to partner with other Suites instead. Suites have added LXP capability, whatever they perceive that to be.

The ecosystem concept of combining suites and specialists is the way forward

Learning technology has always been an ecosystem with many components, including the Learning Systems (LS), sources of HR data, virtual classrooms, authoring tools, learning content and other resources. Seamless integration has often been an issue, many corporates choosing not to tackle the problem, leaving them as separate, stand-alone technologies and making a single source of truth for data an unreachable goal. This is no longer a viable option even for learning at the mid-market level. However, even more integrations are required as an organisation gets larger, more complex and their core LS does not deliver the depth of functionality in specific areas. So, platforms with specialisms such as training resource management, curation, extended enterprise or programmatic learning might be added to the learning ecosystem.


However, the ecosystem is expanding beyond learning, connecting with the HR System(s) for the learner’s profile has always been a priority but now the lines are also blurring between communication, learning, performance and talent. It’s all about the data flow and the term we use to describe the ability to do this well is ‘Ecosystem-ness’. Vendors will rightly say that APIs solve this problem, but building integrations require integrators, i.e. developers and other experienced people to build and maintain them. In a complex company, that is expensive and non-trivial. In smaller companies it is impossible as they lack the resources and budgets to develop their own integrations. The more that Ecosystem-ness is of the out-of-the-box, the better off all buyers will be.

Business man doiang a training in the office

To deliver value & impact requires ecosystem connectivity and circulation of data

The ecosystem provides the opportunity to deliver a new level of learning impact. Take this scenario for example: an employee is recruited because of their existing skills which are noted, their learning through the onboarding process takes care of the gaps and time-to-value in the new role is measured. Successful performance is demonstrated and rewarded during the delivery of internal or external projects. Awareness of new opportunities for further development and upskilling are at the learner’s fingertips along with collaborative assignments or individual coaching. The manager has access to their team’s progress to ensure intervention is possible when necessary. The organisation can recognise the skills gaps across the whole organisation and initiate reskilling for competitive advantage and growth. Learning is at the centre of this and at every stage!


But none of this is possible in an effective efficient way without all the various HR, talent and learning system suites and specialists being integrated to ensure the data flows unimpeded. Which is why the ability for a vendor to demonstrate ecosystem-ness is crucial.


And if all this can take place behind the scenes, mostly hidden from view and the employee has access to everything wherever they are working on a day-to-day basis then we’ve cracked it!


Find out more about the Fosway 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems and read the full report here  and you can contact Fiona via @fionaleteney or @fosway on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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imc Express and the 2022 Commonwealth Games

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games case study: imc Express

Welcome to the third in our series of posts exploring imc’s project with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. In this post, we will explore how the Commonwealth Games used the imc Express authoring tool to create their own eLearning content in-house.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games organising committee needed a lot of custom content to support their workforce of over 50,000 employees, contractors and volunteers. Ideally, this would be created in-house, meaning they needed an efficient, easy-to-use authoring tool to produce lots of eLearning content in a short period of time.

Why did the Commonwealth Games choose imc Express?

imc Express is an easy-to-use authoring tool that takes the hassle out of content creation. Learning teams can easily import text from Microsoft Word, add multimedia content, drag-and-drop images and build interactive learning activities to build engaging learning experiences. To support the most inclusive Commonwealth Games ever, video content is automatically subtitled, ensuring it’s accessible to the entire workforce.


On top of this, imc Express offers a range of pre-made and customisable design templates, along with didactic templates to help authors convey their content in a didactically meaningful way. Content is adaptive and responsive for all devices, ensuring it’s suitable for the Commonwealth Games’ large, diverse audience who may be accessing training from desktop computers, tablets or smartphones.

Tennis player top view

Creating content with imc Express

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games team has two imc Express ‘super users’ with the overall responsibility for managing the eLearning content creation process. These super users will set up the templates and send them out to each functional area in line with demand for new learning content.


The templated approach will empower more people to create learning content without needing extensive development or design experience, while also being able to create engaging and interactive eLearning content instead of a plain PDF.



Content straight from the in-house experts


The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games only has the budget for a select few highly interactive modules to sit on their LMS, and with no dedicated in-house content provider, imc Express will make it much easier to spread the content creation workload across functional areas of the organisation, ensuring modules come straight from the experts for the best-quality training.

Football team is teaming up

Why Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games needs custom content

With 43 different functional areas (or departments), the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games needs to accommodate a wide range of learning requirements.


There are 279 different volunteer roles within these functional areas, covering everything from transport to media to medal ceremonies; much of which will be unique to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Football player

How the Commonwealth Games is using custom eLearning content

This custom eLearning content will supplement the in-person training which takes place within the Commonwealth Games venues in Birmingham, ensuring volunteers can make the most of their face-to-face time. The modules created in imc Express will help volunteers know what to expect before their in-person training, giving them a useful overview of their roles and the tasks they can expect to perform.


They converted over 50 static documents and plain text resources into engaging, interactive eLearning. This was made significantly easier by the fact that with imc Express, a single plain text input can be converted into multiple outputs, such as SCORM, web content or ebooks. This content was then imported directly from imc Express into the LMS, reducing manual content upload.


Providing this content as soon as volunteers have their roles ensures that they can start to prepare for the games immediately without having to wait for their face-to-face training. They will have access to photos, videos, maps and more created with imc Express by leaders in their functional area, ensuring they can turn up for their face-to-face sessions with a foundation of knowledge.


This primarily self-created approach will also allow the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games team to accommodate inevitable last-minute requests for learning content, as they can all be quickly created in-house using templates and the imc Express tool’s artificial intelligence to pull together accessible, attractive and engaging learning resources for thousands of volunteers, contractors and paid employees.

Curious how the story goes on?

Join us for part 4 when we will take a look at the implementation of imc’s LMS for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, including the challenges they overcame and how they launched the LMS to a workforce of over 50,000…

featured image Commonwelath Games

A future-proof LMS for 2022 Commonwealth Games

A future-proof digital learning solution with multitenancy LMS to train large numbers of volunteers and contractors at the 2022 Commonwealth Games within a short time frame.

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I'm very passionate about digital learning since I joined the imc marketing team in 2020.
I would like to know more about any challenges in learning & development and discuss how we can solve them together.
Francisca Lim, imc
Francisca Lim
Regional Brand Manager Asia
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A future-proof LMS for 2022 Commonwealth Games

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games case study: The solution

Welcome to the second in our series of posts exploring imc’s project with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. In this post, we will look at imc’s solution, including how the design tied into the Commonwealth Games organising committee’s unique requirements.

Following Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games’ public procurement process, imc’s proposed solution clearly came out on top. This was, in part, thanks to imc’s experience with other sporting organisations, such as Australia’s National Rugby League, along with their on-budget, on-brief solution.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games project kickoff

The project kickoff took place in November 2021, with the initial go-live planned for late February 2022 - a very tight timeframe for such a large-scale, complex LMS project, so efficient working practices were a must.



An inclusive learning platform


A key consideration for this project was that the Birmingham 2022 games will be the most inclusive Commonwealth Games to date, with more medals for women and a bigger para-sport programme than ever before. Birmingham is also a very diverse city in the UK’s West Midlands. This need for inclusion had to be reflected in the choice of learning platform. The LMS needed to be simple, accessible and suitable for use by a wide range of learners.



Building an LMS within time limitations


Additionally, it was vital that this programme remained within the planned scope. With such limited time, it was not an option to stray outside the initial plans, so the Commonwealth Games organising committee and imc agreed very early on that this LMS needed a very clear focus with no room for scope creep.

swimmer top view

Designing the programme

With so many volunteers and contractors involved in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, it was essential that the programme ran efficiently and didn’t take up more time than was absolutely necessary. The last thing the Commonwealth Games organising committee wanted was to ask a volunteer working four shifts to participate in a full week of training, so a smart design was extremely important.


All employees, contractors and volunteers involved with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games must attend four-hour face-to-face orientation sessions to help them familiarise themselves with the venues and procedures specific to each location. Therefore, a blended learning programme was quickly established as the best approach, with the LMS providing additional bitesize training and support while protecting limited face-to-face time.



Integration with a workforce management system


The LMS element, B-Bright, takes user data from workforce management system Rosterfy, the volunteer portal. For the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, this takes place through a simple data transfer service, but with more time to prepare for future games, these systems will be integrated. This is one of the advantages of a multi-games contract – lessons learned from this version can be directly implemented in future versions, instead of starting from scratch each time.

Soccer Team celebrating

Managing users

There are thousands of people involved in the Commonwealth Games, all of whom have different learning needs and roles to prepare for, across 43 functional areas and 279 different volunteer roles. The data transferred from Rosterfy to the LMS flags the type of user and automatically gives them access to the relevant training within the course catalogue.


This data also tells the LMS which functional area the learner works in, so they are also automatically enrolled into role-appropriate courses. This removes a huge amount of manual work for the organising committee, and ensures that the user management process is streamlined and efficient,

A future-proof solution

The LMS is built with multitenancy in mind. While this solution will be operational for the six months around the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the platform itself will be reused for future games.


User data for future games will be completely separate from the Birmingham 2022 users, meaning that unique designs and content can be applied to the LMS without affecting other host cities’ experiences.

Volleyball player

An agile approach


This solution has been designed with future games in mind right from the start of the process. While the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games requires a quick, on-brief solution, there will be much more time to automate more elements of the platform for future games. Owing to this agile approach, the larger scope of more complex learner journeys and close integration with other systems can be iteratively rolled out over time. Getting started with what is required now with built-in flexibility means that the solution will be ready to adapt to what is needed in the future.


Curious how the story goes on?

Join us for part 3 when we will take a look at how the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games organising committee used the imc Express authoring tool to create their own customised eLearning…

featured image commonwealth games

Part 1: An LMS for the 2022 Commonwealth Games

The challenges to designing a digital learning solution for a large & diverse audience at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

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A podium spot with eLearning

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I'm very passionate about digital learning since I joined the imc marketing team in 2020.
I would like to know more about any challenges in learning & development and discuss how we can solve them together.
Francisca Lim, imc
Francisca Lim
Regional Brand Manager Asia
imc Commonwealth Games-
The perfect LMS for 2022 Commonwealth Games

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games case study: The challenge

Welcome to the first in our new series of posts exploring imc’s project with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. In this post, we will reveal the challenge faced by Birmingham 2022 Games, and what they needed from their new learning management system.

What is the Commonwealth Games?

The Commonwealth Games brings nations together in a colourful celebration of sport, human performance and culture. Birmingham 2022 will see around 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories compete in 19 sports and eight para-sports. Much like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games takes place every four years, moving cities for each event. As the biggest event ever to be held in the West Midlands, Birmingham 2022 is expected to attract more than one million spectators to the city and have a global TV audience of 1.5 billion.

sport fans celebrating in the arena

The training requirement

With each event comes a mammoth training requirement. With a workforce of over 50,000 volunteers, paid employees and contractors to rapidly upskill, Birmingham 2022 needed a learning management system (LMS) to streamline the training process for their diverse team.


To find a new LMS, Birmingham 2022 went through a public procurement process to find the right vendor. Birmingham 2022 has pledged to be the most sustainable yet, so sought a solution that could be reused across a multi-games contract, by Birmingham 2022 and future committees.


For Birmingham 2022, it was vital to ensure efficiency and value for money, so it was crucial that they chose the right LMS from the very beginning. The Commonwealth Games Federation’s vision was for better knowledge transfer between organising committees, with systems and contracts carrying over from one Game to the next to reuse as much as possible.

Plans for a blended learning programme

Birmingham 2022 knew that they wanted a truly blended learning programme, comprising eLearning, digital resources and live face-to-face training sessions. The addition of the online element was relatively new, and driven in part by the challenges posed by COVID-19. This would be in contrast with the very simple LMS used by the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, which was essentially used for ‘click next’ learning with no tracking or reporting.


The shift in focus to blended learning would enable Birmingham 2022’s training team to ensure that valuable time wasn’t taken out of face-to-face sessions to deliver soft skills training. This meant that workforce would receive their venue-specific training in person, while accessing role-specific and customer service-focused training online for more efficient learning.

Sport team are supporting each other

Designing for a large, diverse audience

An important part of this project would be the huge learner audience, of 35,000 contractors, 14,000 volunteers and 2,000 paid employees. Additionally, this would be a very diverse audience, comprising different ages and levels of technical ability, meaning the LMS needed to be extremely accessible and user friendly.


With so many volunteers and contractors, Birmingham 2022 needed to ensure that their event scheduling platform, Rosterfy, would communicate with their LMS. This ability to transfer data from Rosterfy to the LMS would save Birmingham 2022 a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on manual data entry.


Finally, the LMS would need to support multiple different user groups over the course of the contract, along with different branding and content, so the chosen LMS needed multitenancy functionality.

Following an extensive tender process, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games selected imc as their enterprise LMS vendor of choice. The project commenced in November 2021 – nine months before the start of the games. With this in mind, it was time to get to work on creating the perfect solution in a limited timeframe.

Join us for part 2 when we will take a look at the solution imc created for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games…


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I wanted to be a fiction writer when I was a child but became a marketing person after graduating from university. Instead of a slick person in a suit, I'm a beardy nerd in unironed t-shirts who like to creatively solve problem, analyse data and reach out to the right people.
Running will help me de-stress after a hard day's work, and I listen to rock music instead of jazz.
Gijs Daemen
Gijs Daemen
Global Marketing Manager
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Job Slot
Interview with a Software Architect

What Connect Four and Software Architecture Have in Common

I’ve interviewed quite a number of imc colleagues about what exactly their job involves. I’ve put myself in the shoes of software developers, taken a peek behind the scenes in product management, and quizzed colleagues from marketing.


But I’ve never encountered anything as complex as what my colleague Eric Andre does for a living. Eric is a software architect, responsible for the imc Learning Management System (LMS). In our interview, he told me what Connect Four and his job have in common, how he trained as a software architect, and what the distinction between happiness and joy has to do with his work.

Eric Andre, Software Architect at imc Learning

Eric Andre

Job | Software Architect

Working in | Saarbruecken, Germany

Worked at imc since | 2021

Super power | Transfering knowledge to new situations

Favourite food | Pizza 

Job Slot office life, seperator

Hi Eric, thanks for making time for us today! I suspect your job description will be pretty meaningless to most laypeople. How would you describe your job to your grandparents?

Hi Nadine, the pleasure’s all mine. I would describe my job to my grandparents simply by saying that my boss gives me a whole lot of brightly coloured Lego bricks which I then put together to make something resembling a house.

Well, that actually sounds pretty simple. Can you explain it a bit further?

To understand what a software architect does, you first need to understand the function of architecture in software. Architecture refers to the fundamental way in which an entire system is organized – the basic framework. It specifies both the individual components that make up the system and the relationships, or dependencies, that exist between them.


Hence building a house is an apt metaphor. When you’re planning a house, there are certain things you must specify clearly at the outset. You can leave room for future additions, obviously, but if, for example, you want to be able to add another level at some point, you’ll need to allow for that when planning the foundations.


Software is similar in that sense. On the one hand, it must be flexible and open to change rather than static and ossified. But on the other, certain limits and properties must be maintained in the system at all times.

Connect Four is also a good metaphor. Here, architecture is like the blue grid of the game: it provides a structure within which the individual tokens are flexibly arranged and re-arranged. But it only works if the grid is designed to support this.

Job Slot, Connect Four

So, in other words, you have to plan something that doesn’t even exist yet?

Yes, that’s part of it. But I also have to make decisions very early on as to what might be important later on. That’s always a bit like gazing into a crystal ball. But with software architecture, it’s also like a house: if everything is working properly, you don’t give it a second thought. If it’s well planned, there won’t be any problems up front.


But planning doesn’t end with the initial build. It’s an ongoing process. It costs time and money, with no immediately obvious benefits. But if you don’t plan, and you just keep on building, then sooner or later things can get really expensive. There’s a great quote from Brian Foote that sums it up beautifully: “If you think good architecture is expensive, try bad architecture!”

Sounds like rather a lot of brainwork. What does your average working day look like?

I usually get up fairly early, sometime between six and seven, and go running for an hour. Then I have a coffee, preferably outside in the garden. That’s when I start thinking about my day. I have a not to-do list, and every day I jot down what I want to achieve and how I intend to go about it. In doing so, I always have our roadmap in the back of my mind.


Most mornings, work starts with our team meeting, with me generally pacing back and forth. I prefer to work standing up anyway, and I’m always moving around because I always have a lot to think through, and movement helps me order my thoughts.


In the late afternoon, I often go for an hour’s walk or do some gardening, after which I go back to my (standing) desk. My working day ends once I’ve done everything I set out to do that day. This flexibility and the freedom to switch between periods of high intensity and relaxation is very important to me.

So a large part of your work consists of planning. How do you know when a plan is finished and the architecture is ready for implementation? And what happens next?

Good software architecture demands an incredible amount of time and effort. And even then, sometimes you just have to accept that what you’ve come up with won’t work, and that you have to tear it up and start again. Only when I’ve thought everything through in the minutest detail and looked at it again and again from every angle do I know that I have given it enough thought.


That’s when the real work begins and I start defining processes and process flows, document requirements, and talk to my team, the developers and other teams. That might sound simple, but believe me, there are a lot of people and departments involved. The Executive Board, too, needs to sign off because the architecture affects the entire system.

imc Job Slot seperator job and career

How does one actually become a software architect?

Not through any classic apprenticeship or any one course of study. There are usually various certificates and modules involved. In most cases, including mine, you end up in this role at some point after starting out in software development. Software developers progress through various stages from junior to senior, at which point career paths branch off in various directions and you’re referred to as an individual contributor.


If you want to continue along the hands-on technical career path, you can work your way up to fellow engineer. Alternatively, if you prefer a management role, your career and further development options range from engineering manager all the way up to CTO. Or you can go into software architecture. The journey probably varies from company to company and industry to industry. But ultimately you progress from being a software developer to being an architect who must learn to delegate some of their previous responsibilities as a developer.

These days, there are various kinds of software architect, and each has a different focus. For example, there are enterprise architects, who are responsible for verifying that the organisation’s IT strategy is aligned with its mission. It’s their job to analyse both business properties and the external environment and to define all business needs.


Then there are solution architects, whose task is to evaluate all business needs and develop solutions in the form of products or services. They are the interface between business analysts and IT experts.


And finally, there are domain – or technical – architects, who mostly work as part of a team and tend to specialize in one particular technology. They can also work as technical project managers. These software architects work collaboratively to ensure the overall system has the flexibility, scalability and security required in order to meet business needs.

Job Slot, directions

And what is your specialism?

I tend to see myself as a solution architect who doubles as a domain architect from time to time. The distinction is somewhat fluid, which is due to our organisational structure. My specialism is in platform architecture. I distribute systems and ensure their interoperability, and I’m passionate about service orchestration and choreography within distributed and reactive service-oriented architectures.

What key skills does your job require?

Adaptability, the ability to transfer and apply knowledge to new areas, and analytical skills. I need to be able to familiarise myself with new subject areas and problems very quickly and transfer my existing knowledge to new situations.


For instance, I’m not the best developer by any stretch of the imagination, but I know enough to be able to understand problems and quickly get a handle on the issues involved. Good communication skills are also very important, as I deal with a wide range of stakeholders.

In what respects does imc differ from other employers?

I used to work at a large US corporation, and things were done very differently there in several respects. For example, decision-making processes are much shorter there, and people are more inclined just to give something a try. Here in Germany, there’s generally a lot more discussion and planning before something gets implemented.


I’m very happy with the overall situation here at imc. The people here are very open and honest. That came across right from the outset, during my job interview and the onboarding process. But I also like the way people deal with one another. And then there are all those in-house events and knowledge-transfer opportunities.


I also really like our approach to design here – it’s all so cohesive. Plus, I like the painstaking attention to detail here, and the fact that people notice when you go the extra mile. It’s not all strait-laced and serious either – people know how to have a bit of a laugh without being puerile. I suppose it’s a little like working for a start-up, albeit one with more structure.


Also, in my role, I’m able to work with a very wide range of information and levers, and imc always gives me really good support in that regard.

breaker job slot about me

Now let's go on with some random, personal questions. If you could have your time again, would you still choose to work as a software architect?

Yes, in a heartbeat. I love the challenge – it gives me great joy. And I believe that if you do something that gives you joy, then that’s the key to happiness. If something fills you with joy, you cannot help but be happy.

Please complete the following phrase: For me, digitalisation means...

...that you can’t make a bad analogue process better simply by digitalising it.

What do your colleagues value most about you?

They value my willingness to help and my openness, and also my direct manner. At least, I hope they do!

Do you have any role models, professionally or personally?

Professionally, several. At a personal, human level, the actor Keanu Reeves springs to mind. Despite his immense success, he remains grounded, uses public transport and stands up for others. I find that truly remarkable. Amid all the rapid changes of our modern world, it shows that there are still immutable principles and values that we all share, or at least should share.



Indeed! And that wraps things up nicely. Thank you for your time, Eric. Here’s wishing you continued joy in your work!

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Living the dream as Hosting Engineer

Hosting is a male domain? Our interview partner Suwhathi proves this wrong! She reveals how she became a Hosting Engineer at imc and what she think about supposed male domains.

Conductors of the Software Orchestra

Conductors of the Software Orchestra: That is how Product Manager Lia from Sibiu explains her job. Find out more in the interview.


Would you like to know more about imc as an employer? Then take a look at our career section, maybe there is a suitable position for you.

We are also always happy to receive unsolicited applications!

imc Job Slot: Unique people. Random questions.

Random questions, regularly new faces and jobs – that's the job slot of imc.

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Contact person

I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creating unique content and social media are my passion.


"One can not not communicate" - Paul Watzlawik.

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.


Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

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Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
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LMS Hot Topics
Self-Directed Learning Like Netflix

The Netflix Factor in Self-Directed Learning

How self-directed learning can be used in companies, what it adds, and where its limitations lie

seperator image remote control

Few things are exercising the minds of today’s L&D managers more than the question of how to give employees greater flexibility in their learning. This is part of a trend in many companies away from formal and towards informal learning. And from informal learning, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to self-directed learning.


Self-directed learning, in a nutshell, is about giving employees the flexibility to decide for themselves what, when, where and how they learn. That sounds simple, but it actually requires a great deal of conceptual design work and careful technical implementation, not to mention trust in one’s employees. But it’s worth it because, planned properly and implemented strategically, self-directed learning can be a valuable complement to classic top-down learning.


This key fact is not lost on Mercedes-Benz Group AG’s Michael Temme and imc Learning's Marion Sander-Feld, who are currently working on ways of integrating new self-directed learning components and functions directly into the imc learning management system (LMS). In this article, we explain the benefits of self-directed learning, what its limitations are, and what Netflix has to do with it.

The question is not how much someone has learned, but how much they retain
Michael Temme
Manager Innovation Projects
Mercedes-Benz Global Training

The case for self-directed learning

Given the current skills shortage, employee upskilling and professional development are matters of top priority for all companies, regardless of size. Automotive giant Mercedes-Benz Group AG is a case in point. Its approach to employee learning is guided by five key questions: what, who, where, how and when.

Mercedes is also looking closely at how face-to-face training can be translated into online learning. This requires new approaches because it is not possible to take analogue training digital without careful modifications and workarounds. Anything short of this will serve only to turn employees off.

Michael Temme, Mercedes-Benz Group AG

Michael Temme, who manages innovation projects at Mercedes-Benz Global Training, is an expert on this. He has no doubt that for a training course to be effective, learners need to be able to see and understand how it is relevant to their work.


“We need to face the fact that what matters is not how much an employee learns, but how much they retain”, he says. “We know that learning content is more memorable if learners are able to apply their learnings immediately and are free to select the learning method that works best for them. People have to be able to decide for themselves what, when and how they learn. That’s why we use self-directed learning methods.”

No obvious benefit = no lasting learning

According to Temme, one of the major challenges with self-directed learning is that it requires both different skills and different (digital) systems from those required in conventional learning. For example, when trainers are in the same room as all the course participants, they can ask whether everyone has understood the material and, if necessary, can provide additional details or explanations.

This learning-reinforcing element is a lot more difficult to create in digital settings. To make up for this, Mercedes is employing a number of approaches, including the use of sharing and learning-specific networking (social collaboration) in the LMS.


Self-directed learning also requires employers to place a great deal of trust in their employees, in return for which the employees need to be extremely self-organized and highly self-motivated. The point is that employees will only feel motivated to learn in the first place if they can see that what they are learning is relevant and will benefit them in their day-to-day work.

Just as importantly, they will only retain what they have learned if they are able to apply and reinforce it in their day-to-day work very soon afterwards, as Ebbinghaus’s Forgetting Curve shows.


The Forgetting Curve produced by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus shows that after 20 minutes, you will recall only 60% of a text you have learned. The loss of retention continues over time, so that after 60 minutes, you will recall only 45% of what you learned, and after 24 hours only about 34%. Long-term, you will retain only about 15% of the text you learned.

Paradox: More courses, poorer learning outcomes

Temme also notes that the vast amounts of digital learning content generated during the pandemic resulted in many learners feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of courses and unable to tell which ones were actually relevant for them. In other words, offering more courses does not necessarily lead to greater initial learning or long-term retention.


For this reason, Temme increasingly favours problem-based learning over classic ‘ready-made’ learning content. Learners engaging with a real-life problem or question can, by using the right social collaboration tools, for example, quickly and easily work their way towards a real-life solution with support from other learners and/or from experts.

By using social collaboration in this way and by learning in the moment of need, learners retain their learning for much longer. They progress from inert knowledge to understanding and, by applying that understanding immediately, they achieve specific competencies.

Netflix-style learning with channels

This leads into an important new feature that imc AG is currently developing for its LMS, the imc Learning Suite, in partnership with Mercedes: channels. The idea of channels is to make learning as easy as watching Netflix or YouTube: learners simply select topics they find interesting or that are relevant to their needs and are then presented with matching content recommendations.


It doesn’t matter what a topic’s form or scope is. The learner is shown everything that matches the topic: everything from short learning nuggets to in-depth explanatory videos to learner-made tutorials. The main focus, however, is on learning nuggets that are readily consumed as part of independent research and can be created without too much investment of time and effort on the part of experts.


These short learning units offer the added benefit that they can be quickly consumed in the moment of need and on the job, which leads to improved internalisation and retention of knowledge. Consequently, the learning outcomes are superior to those achieved in situations where employees first learn and then try to recall the knowledge months later when they need to put it into practice.

Channels in the LMS

Users receive notifications whenever new content is added to the topics to which they have subscribed. Marion Sander-Feld, Head of Product Management for imc Learning Suite, explains: “Channels are topic-based containers. They are represented on screen by tiles and can contain various didactic learning nuggets, such as videos, links or PDFs. The scope is not limited to highly professional and expensive-to-produce training courses.

This is intentional, because we also want the channels to provide content that can be produced quickly in order to meet urgent learning needs. In providing this new feature, we also want to enhance the learning experience because making it faster and more intuitive to navigate the LMS and find the desired content significantly improves learning outcomes.”


By expanding the learning offering beyond the usual highly polished web-based training sessions and enabling all users to post their own learning content, channels will make learning a more bottom-up and accessible experience for all. This addition of user-generated content, which all subject experts will be able to create with ease, will help to reduce knowledge loss.

Limitations of self-directed learning

So far, so good. But as is so often the case, self-directed learning is not necessarily the one and only solution that’s needed. There will always be content that employees are loath to engage with – courses on data protection, compliance or IT security, for example.


These are extremely important topics that require not just learning, but genuine internalisation, so it’s best not to leave that entirely to voluntary self-selection. But even with compulsory training like this, the managers responsible should still apply the problem-based strategies of self-directed learning.


Thus, if the topic is cyber security, the content should present concrete examples and real-life problem scenarios that show employees how they can help prevent cyberattacks. And if this approach works with less-than-popular courses, it is sure to be a major success when it comes to self-selected content. Because learning should be like watching Netflix: child’s play.

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Diary of an LMS

If an LMS wrote a diary - what would it say?

We thought about that and share some tips for LMS professionals, told a little differently...

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Informal learning: Everyday hero of work

“Formal learning is like riding a bus. Informal learning is more like cycling.” We explain what this means and share some key facts and recomemndations

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Topics, Trends and Tools all around LMS.

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More about our LMS

If you would like to learn more about imc's Learning Management, check here for more information.

LMS Hot Topics

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I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creative content and social media are my passion. "KISS - Keep it short and simple" is my credo.


To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.


Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

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Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager
Young Business woman uses Compliance Training
Compliance Training

The Role of Compliance in Digital Learning Transformation

Here we look at the important role of Compliance within digital learning transformation projects. Whether you have an Audit / Compliance or L&D role, digital transformation is likely impacting your plans, especially if you work for a large, forward-thinking organisation.

According to Gartner, global IT spend will hit $4.4 Trillion in 2022. Despite geopolitical uncertainty and residual pressures from the pandemic, business and IT leaders are actually looking to invest more in digital technology, in order to ensure greater flexibility and future-proofing of their organisations.


In fact, “Investment in direct digital transformation projects is projected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 16.5 per cent from 2022 to 2024according to the International Data Corporation.


When it comes to digital transformation programmes, leadership teams are often sold on the ideas of faster processes, cost-savings and slicker sales enablement. For L&D, the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the trend towards digital learning, as the face to face classroom environment became impractical.


What tends to get neglected within digital transformation is the area of Compliance. Legal and regulatory compliance is often seen as a tick-box exercise - “make sure passwords are secure for that new software”, “make sure the new guy gets his health and safety walkthrough before he starts” etc.


However, digital transformation can deliver as much in the way of improvements and efficiencies for Compliance teams as for any other department, while embedding compliance considerations can streamline every department’s processes by automating many recurring tasks related to training.


If you are involved in a digital learning transformation project, here we look at some of the key compliance considerations and potential benefits.


Business colleagues using the compliance training

Automated alerts to new laws and regulations

A key role of Compliance teams is to keep track of the latest applicable laws and industry regulations, then liaising with L&D and / or relevant departments in order to roll out training accordingly.


When a robust, well-integrated learning platform is in place and you have an easy to use elearning authoring tool, the Compliance department may be able to update or add relevant information to the platform themselves so that push notifications will get sent to the appropriate employees automatically and if necessary, instantly.


Alternatively, Learning and Development teams can integrate the new information into the next round of training made accessible in the right place, at the right time.

Hassle-free audits

You may be quick and diligent when it comes to delivery of compliance training, but when it comes to an audit from external bodies, this needs to be proven.


Digital learning transformation reduces or completely removes the need for certification paperwork, so that demonstrating the appropriate level of training and accreditation becomes much quicker and easier. Gone are the days of lost certificates - hiding in the wrong file.


A good learning management system (LMS), such as the imc Learning Suite, makes all training and certification information easily navigable and searchable.

Personalised learning and refresher training

Often, compliance training is required when an employee joins a company or starts a new role. This means that revised or refresher training is required on a very individualised schedule.


Digital learning solutions enable these requirements to be managed for each employee as they progress through an organisation or take on new sideways responsibilities.

Young Business woman uses Compliance Training

Powerful data

Compliance teams are often under pressure to do their jobs while staying out of the way as much as possible in order to allow employees to get on with their day to day responsibilities, such as customer service, operational work or revenue generation.


A digital learning platform gives L&D and compliance teams access to useful data so that trends can be seen in where an individual might need additional support for certain aspects of training or where a certain course is causing strange delays or roadblocks.


Such data can enable personalised learner interventions rather than bombarding a whole department with additional training that only a few people need to stay compliant. It also allows Compliance or L&D teams to improve training content that causes bottlenecks for a whole cohort of learners.

Risk mitigation

The whole point of the Compliance function is to allow an organisation to run fluently while staying on the right side of the law or industry regulator.


Through access to data generated by digital learning systems, a Compliance manager is empowered to better manage risk across the company. An effective digital transformation programme integrates every department and a great deal of their training.


Without acting like a ‘Big Brother’ presence in the company, the Compliance team can look into the development of processes and related training, offering guidance and risk mitigation processes along the way.

In Summary

The five principles above offer a guide to how Compliance teams and their collaboration with L&D can make digital learning transformation a fundamental part of a progressive, digitally-savvy organisation.


For those companies on a broad digital transformation programme, Learning and Compliance can help every department to run ever more smoothly and efficiently while managing the risks that come with any change much more effectively.

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Don't call it compliance

Most of the time, employees are reluctant to complete mandatory compliance training since it's always unengaged and dull. We give some tips of creating an interesting training instead.

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Efficiently implement compliance topics

Discover how to improve employees motivation and learning experience by using a modern learning management system platform.

Our Success Stories

Various organisations have been using imc Learning Suite to improve their business performance.

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I'm very passionate about digital learning since I joined the imc marketing team in 2020. I would like to know more about any challenges in learning & development and discuss how we can solve them together.
Francisca Lim, imc
Francisca Lim
Regional Brand Manager Asia
Two Co workers Planing Successful eLearning
Defining Your Needs: How to Plan Successful eLearning

Delivering Measured eLearning Results

Here we look at how to plan successful eLearning that will transform results across your organisation - and it all starts with defining your training needs in the context of wider business goals.

Get the planning stage nailed, with buy-in from all your stakeholders (including your learners), and the rest can fall into place and feel like a breeze.


The problem with many eLearning projects though - as with many technology projects - is that so many people leap straight into choosing the solutions before they’ve really identified and agreed on their current and future training requirements.


So here we’ll offer a step by step guide to successful eLearning for L&D managers so that your colleagues and learners will love you.

Team is Planing Successful eLearning

eLearning is Now an Expectation

eLearning is now a common way for organisations to deliver training and your employees are likely to have used it in some capacity - even if it’s just during their education or a company onboarding process.


It has now evolved into a standard way of making training content available any time and anywhere, enabled by ubiquitous internet access by mobile or WiFi, and by websites or learning platforms making it accessible on phones and tablets, as well as a desktop computer.


During and post-pandemic, eLearning will be the only way for training to happen at all for many organisations.


So as there are now fewer barriers to delivering eLearning and it has become so important, here are key steps for making it effective:

1. Needs Analysis and Consultation

Arguably, this is the most important part of an eLearning project, because if done well, it gets everyone on board to help you and gives you the reasoning and structure for every subsequent stage.


  • Why this project? What are you looking to achieve? If you have eLearning in place already, what improvements are you looking for, and if you don’t - what do you want this project to bring?
  • Is eLearning suitable? Usually, the answer is yes - as knowledge-based content allows learners to consume it at the time, place and pace that suits them. However, for some manual / skills-based roles, it may not be the case, so could traditional, face to face training or a mix - blended learning - be the best choice?
  • Cost-benefit analysis - what might this project cost and what are the expected business benefits in terms of cost-saving, efficiency or revenue generation?
  • What do your learners want and need? Listen to their views on knowledge and skills gaps, and where there is an agreement, look at a bottom-up approach to complement top-down from L&D and HR management. If learners feel that they have contributed to the process, they are much more likely to engage when the eLearning is ready.

2. Resourcing the Project

However small your L&D team, delivering an elearning project should always be a collaborative project and involve multiple professionals.


The same person may perform more than one, but rarely all of the roles below, so the L&D manager will need to resource at least the following:

Project Manager

Project Manager

Who will lay out the milestones and timescales and work to keep everything and everyone on track?


Subject Matter Expert (SME)

Depending on the nature of the training, the person or people who understand the subject and can lay out the curriculum and materials.

Instructional Designer

Instructional Designer

The person who can translate the content into the storyboards and course progression to help people learn in the most effective manner, with an understanding of what works in an electronic format.


eLearning Developer

The technician with the skills to turn the plan into the reality of an eLearning course, including text and images, audio, videos or any other media, along with the ability to track, measure and collate data on learner progress.

Unless you work within a very large L&D team, you’ll need to look outside your organisation and outsource some or all of the above roles. A specialist eLearning company will tend to have skilled professionals with experience in working well with clients or taking responsibility for the entire project efficiently.


So how do you choose the best eLearning company for your needs if you go down that route? Many will have slick sales professionals and showcase multiple awards, but what matters most is experience working with companies like yours.


If you are part of a large, global organisation, does the eLearning provider have experience at that scale and of multinational, even multilingual projects?


Do they have experience in your sector?


These details are much more important than a sales presentation!

3. Design & Development

Again, planning this stage in advance is key. Does your project need to run within a specific timescale or a particularly tight budget? Both these factors will affect the nature of the eLearning that is feasible.


What mode of delivery is most suitable for the nature of your training and your group of learners? Text and images might work well for purely informational content and knowledge retention, whereas training the ability to adapt to on-the-job situations like customer service may lend itself to scenario-based training and something more interactive.


Close collaboration between the subject matter expert and the instructional designer will allow for the content to be delivered in the best possible way while adhering to any technical constraints.


The instructional designer then needs to work closely with the eLearning developer to bring the content to life, ensuring that it works well on any device that may be used and that it is accessible for any type of current or future learner.

4. Quality Assurance

An important point here is that quality assurance (QA) is not a task to be done only by the developer as a final step. Good QA is done independently by someone external to the design and build process, as those people may have become too close to see all the potential real-life issues.


Ideally, the project managers, SMEs, and end-user managers and even selected learners will all have the opportunity to offer feedback on eLearning before it is signed off and rolled out.

5. Roll Out & Implementation

Most technology-related projects that fail do so not because of an issue with the product, but with the communication and implementation process.


New systems often turn up as yet another piece of work - something else to think about and squeeze in around the existing workload.


If there was adequate consultation at all levels during stage 1, the implementation of eLearning should arrive not as a surprise and even as a welcome addition, because the benefits to learners and managers will have been communicated and expected.


Rather than having to convince employees to engage with your new eLearning, the focus can be on guiding learners and managers in how to make it work well for them.

6. Measurement & Evaluation

How will you measure the benefits of your eLearning project? 


What metrics will the L&D team measure to judge effectiveness?


What metrics do other stakeholders care about?


Along with your own learning outcomes, taking the targets of other departments into account will help to make this a more collaborative and successful eLearning project.


Don’t neglect subjective feedback alongside the quantitative results in terms of learning outcomes and business impact. How much your learners enjoy and engage with the training is an important factor when looking at how well it will work for future learning needs, and what you might want to change or tweak.


All eLearning projects are unique, but by following each of the six key steps above, you can help to minimise the common risks and maximise the benefits and overall success.


How much does an LMS cost?

How much does a Learning Management System cost? And which will appear after the implementation? We share some insights and explain, what these questions have in common with buying a house.

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"The users decide whether or not a learning offer is successful'

"The goal of a learning platform must be to help people do the tasks in their job better," says Uwe Hofschröer from Learning Strategy Consulting at imc. In the Job Slot, he explains what he means by that.

More insights about the LMS? Check out LMS Hot Topics!

E-Learning Punk is an article and talk series for all L&D Pros who want to dare something and believe that digital training has to be colourful and loud.

Contact person

I'm very passionate about digital learning since I joined the imc marketing team in 2020. I would like to know more about any challenges in learning & development and discuss how we can solve them together.
Francisca Lim, imc
Francisca Lim
Regional Brand Manager Asia
imc setting up a Digital Learning Platform for Customer Education
A Digital Learning Platform for Customer Education

Increase Customers Live Time Value and Earn Their Loyalty

Here we look at how to improve customer service, retention, satisfaction and live time value with Customer Education.

Business leaders know that, on average, it is 5X more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain existing ones. Furthermore, it is usually far more profitable to upsell and cross-sell to existing customers than it is to simply increase your number of customers.


Customer education can be a powerful tool in helping you to build trust, retain existing customers and ultimately, increase customer lifetime value (LTV).

Customer ready for the meeting

What is Customer Education?

Customer Education is learning content designed to engage new or existing customers and help them to maximise the effectiveness of your products and services.


When it's done well, it can help to reduce customer service calls and in turn, reduce costs. It can help you to retain existing customers, and even turn some of them into enthusiastic advocates of your brand.


Customer education, also known as customer training, is so important that, according to a Salesforce survey in October 2020:


“80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services.”

Customer education tends to be most relevant for product-based companies, whether that’s physical products or software. It can be of most benefit if your product:


  • has a learning curve, where it’s common for customers to make mistakes or get stuck
  • requires people to change existing behaviours
  • generates frequent customer support calls
  • is used by people with a wide range of needs or in diverse contexts
  • is updated regularly with new features (very common in software)
  • lends itself to cross-selling or upselling (customer education can be a great sales tool!).

While customer education can be delivered face to face, online training enables any time, anywhere learning that is accessible at the user’s convenience. The Covid-19 pandemic greatly accelerated the trend towards online, helping many companies to deliver up to date content even when face to face was not possible.


Online customer education provides greater opportunity to deliver training across multiple formats, including any of:

Video guides

Hosted on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, or on your own learning management system (LMS).

Icon Recording

Live or recorded webinars

Guide new, existing or potential customers through your product usage. When live, you can respond to any questions on the fly, and for those who want to watch it later, the recorded version can act as a useful, video-based FAQ resource.

Icon Graphic Image


An engaging, fun way to present facts and figures in a creative manner.

Selection Slideshow Slide


A common way to quickly convert traditional, face to face presentations into an always-accessible digital format.

Games and quizzes

An excellent way for customers to test new knowledge and see if they need to return to materials or seek additional support.

Customer Education Benefits

Here are just a few of the many customer education benefits to your business:
Reduced customer support calls and tickets

This can greatly reduce the cost associated with large support teams and the frustration customers feel when waiting in queues.

Faster onboarding

Customers get up and running with your product quickly because they have learning materials to hand if, as and when they need it most.

User adoption

A huge issue in the field of IT and software products, which inevitably come with some learning curve. Most IT implementation projects fail, not because of a weakness in the product itself, but due to inadequate customer training and in turn, user adoption.

Cross-selling and upselling

The point at which customers are engaging with your product is often the best opportunity to highlight your related products and services. If you can win their trust in and enthusiasm for Product A and make the customer confident that they can use it, that’s a great time to draw their attention to Product B, C, D….

Customer retention

This is frequently the greatest benefit to a good customer education programme. A customer who is happy with your solutions because you helped them to maximise the value of it, is much more likely to renew or upgrade when the time comes.

So clearly, there are numerous benefits to making training available to your customers, but how to make this easy and cost-effective? That’s where a customer education platform can make things efficient and highly scalable.

Customer Education Platform Features

The best customer education platforms will help you to not only upload training materials to make them accessible online, but will offer a range of useful features and attributes that include:

  1. Integrations with popular software products like eCommerce payment gateways (such as PayPal) or CRMs (such as Salesforce) to reduce admin, while ensuring data security.
  2. Scalability: You’ll want your platform to handle a growing customer base, and not become a limiting factor.
  3. Multilingual capabilities - if you run an international company, you’ll want to make eLearning content available to customers in multiple languages
  4. User analytics: Data and reports will help you to learn what content and formats are engaging your customers and where people seem to struggle or switch off. This can help you identify weaknesses in your learning materials - or even the product itself. It can also help you to intelligently signpost customers to areas of your platform for additional support.


Well-designed training materials that are kept up to date and made available via a good customer education platform should be seen as an investment in customer success, retention and new business development, rather than just a cost.


Guiding users in making the most of your products should deliver increases in customer lifetime value / LTV, win you new fans, and strengthen the reputation of your brand.



Happy to help

For 25 years, imc Learning has created eLearning solutions for customer education and staff training at companies and public sector organisations across the globe.


Our clients include the likes of Deloitte, Vodafone, BASF and Audi.


If you’d like an informal chat about how we could help you leverage customer education to improve customer service and retention, get in touch with us here at imc Learning.



LMS for Membership Organisations

Make an effective LMS platform for your membership organisation with key features such as eCommerce, adaptive learning and analytics.

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Learning Ecosystem: A Universe of Learning

Create a learning ecosystem in the LMS that promoted self-directed learning in the long term.

More insights about the LMS? Check out LMS Hot Topics!

Check all Topics, Trends and Tools all around LMS

Contact person

I'm very passionate about digital learning since I joined the imc marketing team in 2020.
I would like to know more about any challenges in learning & development and discuss how we can solve them together.
Francisca Lim, imc
Francisca Lim
Regional Brand Manager Asia
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Benefits of Extended Enterprise Learning

How to Increase Channel Sales Revenue with Extended Enterprise Learning

Here we look at how to increase channel sales revenue with extended enterprise learning, whether that’s via franchisees, resellers / affiliates, distributors or even your existing customers.

If your company has a sales team, it’s common to focus your efforts as a manager on equipping your employees with the strategy, knowledge/skills and assets they need to maximise new business. However, few companies operate in isolation and there is often an extensive network of partners that could work better to help you sell more of your products or services.


That network potential is known as the Extended Enterprise....

What is Extended Enterprise?

Extended Enterprise is a term coined by Chrysler in the 1990s to describe the collaboration between a company and its supply chain to gain competitive advantage. Since then, it has broadened to encompass a company’s entire network of collaborative relationships from suppliers to logistics, retail partners and end-users or customers.


Paying attention to the entire extended enterprise (sometimes referred to as the ‘Value Chain’) allows managers to see opportunities to improve efficiency, elevate sales and maximise profits.


The concept can be applied to any 3rd parties who can directly influence the success of a business. So, by fostering more collaboration at all levels outside your own company, potential partners can be leveraged beyond them just performing their main role (i.e. doing the bare minimum).

Ways to Increase Channel Sales Performance

Here are 5 ways to increase channel sales performance that can be adopted by any marketing or business development manager with a network of partners:

1. Measure performance frequently, and from the outset

Before diving straight into a new programme of activities to boost revenue, it’s important to measure existing performance so that you can see what partners and tactics are seeing progress over time.


Establish your current baseline, then track changes consistently so that you can see patterns across activity and new business generated.


Sharing performance data with your channel partners will build trust as it will show you are invested in their performance, and will help both you and them to see what is working.

2. Incentivise channel partners

Your internal sales team is likely compensated based on business development performance. However, suppliers and logistics providers may be doing business with potential new customers. Give them a strong reason to think of recommending you - don’t limit revenue incentives to traditional sales channels, such as retailers.

Icon representing virtual rooms

3. Provide assets that communicate your brand and sales messages

Sales teams are always provided with marketing materials that communicate the latest messaging to reinforce your unique selling points and branding. However, external partners are not always given the same benefits.


By viewing every member of the extended enterprise as part of your team and as a potential salesperson, you’ll naturally think to give them all the latest materials and insights.


In the world of web hosting for example, affiliate schemes are extremely common. Website hosts often provide affiliates with a login area containing a knowledge hub of sales advice and a wide range of adverts for use on an affiliate’s own website.

4. Create bite-size learning content

If it’s your own sales team, it’s their job to study and absorb your new, 50-page product brochure. If it’s your logistics provider - they’ve got their day job to focus on and an in-depth manual will be too daunting.


Be selective and give them some bite-size learning materials that will allow them to further their knowledge of your products and services to the level where they can be a good advocate for your company.

5. Communicate proactively

Don’t just hand over new learning materials and expect the new business to start rolling in. Check-in regularly with all aspects of your extended enterprise and make sales performance a key part of the discussion. Not only will it show partners that you are serious about their sales potential, but you’ll learn about what aspects of your extended enterprise learning content is working for them. Maybe affiliates love it, but suppliers find it cumbersome. Listen, learn, tweak and repeat.

So, if you think following the 5 principles above might work for your company and your existing or potential channel sales partners, how do you make communicating and sharing knowledge and assets with them easy? That’s where an extended enterprise learning platform comes in.

Extended Enterprise Learning Platforms

The extended enterprise learning platform creates an environment for sharing knowledge and best practice, and making the latest materials available for your channel sales network wherever and whenever they need it.


Also known as an Extended Enterprise LMS (learning management system), this platform should make it easy to add or update partner training materials with little to no duplication of effort across different internal or external user groups.


Here are some of the key features of the best extended enterprise learning platforms:

Centralised Management

Whoever creates and distributes your knowledge and sales materials for your internal and external audiences should be able to do so via a single user area.


A multi-tenancy LMS enables you to create different user experiences for different types of external partner, such as suppliers, franchisees or distributors without being distracted by irrelevant training pathways or materials. You can even create a unique ‘tenant’ area that is set up with your partner’s branding (or co-branding with theirs and yours) to make them feel at home.

Community and Collaboration

Rather than handing over some learning materials and leaving partners to get on with it, you can really increase channel sales revenue by offering ongoing support and, if appropriate, allowing a level of interaction across user types. This can lead to knowledge-sharing that breeds new ideas, collaboration and synergies.

IT System Integration

You don’t want an extended enterprise learning platform to be yet another piece of software to get to grips with and that adds another layer of logins and admin duplication. A good extended enterprise learning platform will integrate seamlessly with your existing IT systems.


While ensuring data security, system integration will allow user data sharing with HR system for internal staff and your CRM for channel sales partners for example. Single sign-on (SSO) eliminates the hassle of logging in and out of various systems with various passwords.

Powerful reporting and analytics tools

If you’re rolling out an extended enterprise learning platform to help boost channel sales revenue, you’ll want data on how it’s affecting performance across each part of your partner network. A good platform will give you reporting and analytics tools that give you actionable insights across geographies and partner types.


Find which content is not getting looked at to understand what is not engaging partners. See which partners are driving the most new business and align that with their use of learning and sales materials to then use them as the benchmark for best practice.


This information will help you to turn extended enterprise learning into a machine for driving new business via channel sales - whether that’s from existing partners and distributors or leveraging the potential of your supply chain.

Centralised Management

Whoever creates and distributes your knowledge and sales materials for your internal and external audiences should be able to do so via a single user area.

Can we help you to increase channel sales revenue with an extended enterprise learning platform?


Get in touch with us here at imc Learning for an informal discussion about your needs and performance goals.


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Set online training up for success in such an extended enterprise learning scenario, and how to turn a learning curve into an earning curve.

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Make your platform effective for current and future training needs for your membership organisation.

More about the LMS? Check out LMS Hot Topics

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Contact person

I'm very passionate about digital learning since I joined the imc marketing team in 2020. I would like to know more about any challenges in learning & development and discuss how we can solve them together.
Francisca Lim, imc
Francisca Lim
Regional Brand Manager Asia