Learning by Design – Italian Style

Some of the world’s leading design ideas emanate from Italy. It turns out that this national obsession with beauty includes learning technology.

From cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini, motorcycles like Ducati and MV Agusta, or fashion houses like Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, and Gucci, there is no denying that some of the world’s leading design ideas emanate from Italy. It turns out that this national obsession with beauty continues right on through to learning technology. It’s not as strange as it sounds.shutterstock_277190066

I spent a little time in Italy last week looking at the learning platform developed by software company Docebo. As learning technology is shifting to a more “user-centric” design, Docebo continues to deliver an incredibly user-friendly platform that, to put it simply, looks good. While that may not be stellar praise in the world of luxury sports cars, it is a relative rarity with the LMS market.

This really got me thinking about what our most recent research is telling us. According to Brandon Hall Group’s just-completed Learning Technology Study, 44% of companies are planning to replace their current LMS platform. This is relevant because the number one reason they want to switch is to get a better user experience, cited by 87% of companies looking to make a switch. Nothing else even comes close. To drive the point home, 83% of companies say that an intuitive, user-centric interface is either essential or critical for their learning technology.

To this end, Docebo has been taking design cues from the commercial app world. Looking at how people interact with the technology they use every day helps inform them as to how to deliver an intuitive experience. That means allowing learners to browse learning content much the way they would browse Netflix, complete with suggested titles based on a profile and viewing habits.

According to Donato Mangialardo, Docebo’s senior director of marketing, the company is constantly looking at commercial apps to see how they could improve the learning experience. Mangialardo says he can imagine a learning platform where learners communicate and share media much the way people do on Snapchat or Periscope, for instance.

The other parallel between Docebo and Italian design is that the company is truly global. The Italian brands I mentioned earlier are a standard for high design anywhere in the world. Docebo has offices not only in Italy, but in Dubai and the U.S., with staff that speak almost as many languages as the system supports.

It was refreshing to speak with a team that is so truly dedicated to design from a user stand point. Like many design houses, they are also forward looking. Docebo is working on developing an increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence as well as looking at the role augmented reality can play in organizational learning. Here’s hoping more technology providers can become similarly unabashed about their love for elegant design and embrace of the future.

David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group



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David Wentworth