The future of learning: Answers!

By the Feathercap team
10 minute read

Do your people have the answers they need?


We think this is the most important question. For employees; the right answers are a necessity to be confident and successful in their jobs. For your customers and partners, gaining confidence with the right answers about your products or services is a necessity before buying and with them speeds the sales journey.  

It’s a simple and key question for every employee, partner or customer as they interact with your organization. Typically, after completing their initial onboarding training, everyone who has a job question simply asks their peers or manager. But this has always been an inefficient way and prone to stigma. No one wants to look like they don’t know what they’re doing. Or worse, the peer or manager being asked may not know the answer or provide the wrong one.

Customers and partners hate having to speak to a sales person or agent to get answers to their questions before they’re ready to buy.


The new normal today


Over the years, jobs in most industries, even those considered unchanging and static in function became more complex, competitive and require more skills to be sucessful. Think of a restaurant server for many decades only needing to know the same wait staff etiquette of generations past as well as that night’s menu to be great at their job. Today they can’t only rely on those age old skills but need familiarity with the restaurants point of sale system, knowledge of using tablet computers,  complete knowledge of the menu in terms of allergies and procedures to answer all customer questions for both the restaurant’s sake of avoiding legal action and their own career. This same skill creep is happening in most every job and industry.

For customers and partners, they have wanted product and service answers to their questions without having to speak directly to an agent or sales people for years. For B2B buyers, they are typically 57% through the purchase journey before they’re ready or wish to talk to a sales person or agent. Call center technologies, which helped call center agents find answers proliferate, but they have focused on trying to improve the customer call instead of removing the need for a call in the first place.

More complex and intelligent systems are emerging: Such as Conversational AI companies like Conversica or Replicant who replicate human agents by phone, sms, chat interface and email. They are able to empathize with customers and with some initial set up and help customers  walk through buying, getting information and ultimately replicating a sales call center. This is where we see learning systems move towards. These systems also show that the mode in which employees and customer interact with such systems is changing also. More of an emphasis on chat interactions that can follow employees and customers where ever they go, SMS and existing chat avenues such as through WeChat, WhatsApp, Slack and Microsoft Teams

In the past, employees or customers could more easily “tap the shoulder” of a colleague, manager or friend if they had a job or product question. We’ve further learned from Covid that customers and employees stationed at home prefer getting answers without having to directly engage with someone by phone or in-person. Chat interactions are preferred with easily finding answers to their questions on their own the best. Greater agility and speed to getting the right answers with less required interaction is now everyone’s goal.

More resources:

What do we need in workforce learning? Speed to the right answers!

Four ways Covid-19 has forever changed workforce learning

Helping students after Covid


Everyone sees the problem


According to a recent PwC survey 60% of the surveyed workforce believes their job roles will not be there for them in the long term because of changing technology, economic and corporate landscapes. 74% of them are willing to retrain to remain employable. According to Bersin by Deloitte, companies around the world are spending $250 billion a year to try and solve for this. They seek a practical way for employees to learn their job while ensuring the greatest number of them stay and achieve success in the shortest time.

For customers around the world, whether B2B, retail or wholesale, the deep desire to fast track sales processes by getting answers before speaking to a sales person or agent is impossible to ignore. Even before Covid, B2B buyers didn’t want to speak to sales until they were 57% of the way through a buying decision. Now, as everyone emerges and starts to work in a less isolated fashion it’s clear that the sale journey is reduced when the answers buyers want about your products or services are available in an automated way.


Existing Learning Systems – LMSs, LXPs, enablement systems


Traditional learning systems, LMSs and sales enablement platforms are great at delivering a crafted curriculum at the beginning of an employee’s job tenure and setting a cultural mindset for employees to begin their role, and follow-up training. All content is crafted regardless of size to be consumed as a whole; varying from 5 – 10 minutes to consume micro learning to longer. Examples of these are Docebo and others like Cornerstone-On-Demand.

LXPs which have of late focused on delivering the right learning and other content to employees are great at letting employees get credit and earn credentials for learning any number of skills. The most advanced also help companies develop a talent marketplace to know who based on newly acquired training credentials is ready to move to another role. Great examples are Degreed and LinkedIn Learning.

The challenge for LMSs and LXPs is they require employees to set aside time they don’t have or while they are doing their job to consume learning content. There’s no question employees need and enjoy these systems for learning. It’s just they’re not designed to provide specific answers while doing their jobs after the initial onboarding or upskilling has taken place.  Employees want immediate answers pulled from their learning content and other useful content. The videos, pdfs and other materials not turned into courses yet but still useful for doing their job. Few have time or the desire to uncover the required answer themselves. The reality is everyone forgets soon after their onboarding or upskilling retaining less than 25% of what they are taught 30 days later. Gaining a credential is great for your current or next job, but if it’s been more than a month you’ll be more  likely just ask peers or your manager if you have a question.

More resources:

The failure of on-demand courses

Three best practices for micro learning 

The case for self-directed learning in the workplace

Three reasons to align user generated content with an LMS


The state of AI driven content curation and search today


Knowledge management and enterprise search systems like Getguru, Talla, Bloomfire, Zendesk and Coveo have come a long way in understanding the relationship of content to all other content. Auto tagging and AI have the potential to take much of the manual curation out of organizing a company’s content. Their focus is on curating in relation to all the rest of an organization’s content and the collective experience of all employees. However, this is not dynamically curated in real-time to specific employee actions and job role and that of their peers within and outside of their organization to improve answer accuracy for a specific job. They lack the high fidelity tracking of everything employees, customers or partners do to interpret a high degree of personalization. This means these systems lack the ability to predict what answers or content snippets users will find most useful at the right moment. Existing systems to date have been most successful for large projects utilizing large teams to deploy or for call center teams where content delivery is matched to questions customers pose to the call center teams.

More resources:

Five reasons content curation is getting more difficult

Five reasons AI will soon curate all your content

Feathercap has AI driven search and curation

Three reasons video search can now rock


Our solution: a predictive answer platform


What we believe makes Feathercap’s predictive answer platform successful:

We track everything employees or customers view

We measure every document, every page, every passage, every second of video they view. All content is tracked as employees create, consume, search and add their content directly or automatically through Dropbox, Box, One Drive, Sharepoint, Google Drive.

We measure a lot to develop success metrics

Where some see a team member or customer searching how to perform a task through existing content, spending a few seconds on one PDF then reviewing a video after they get the right answer to their question, we see these as success metrics that we correlate to the entire team’s available content viewed or been assigned to view. Along with their peers content and behavior both within their company and peers in other companies. Typical success metrics: When did they ask a question? View the answer? How often compared to their peers? How difficult did they find the content based on their viewing behavior compared to their peers?

About Feathercap 

We give everyone exactly the answers they need to do their job and keep moving. 

We built Feathercap to deeply understand your content and every user so they get the right answers to their important questions without interruption. This helps us predict who will succeed, needs help or needs attention and for employees who should be promoted. Our clients tell us this makes for happier, more engaged, better employees and customers.

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