6 minute read

The Six Benefits Of Headless Architecture For L&D

Caleb Shull

Former Copywriter

Headless architecture isn’t a terribly complicated idea. By separating the user-facing front-end from the business-logic back-end, and linking the two halves together using API calls, companies have been able to increase flexibility, data access, and the quality of the user experience.

Originally, headless software took off in the ecommerce industry. Platforms realized that they could optimize their websites for very different groups of customers if their storefronts were carefully customized and dynamically assembled to reflect known data about the individual user. The results were wildly successful.

Headless software saw so much success in ecommerce that it’s rapidly being adopted by other technology sectors, like L&D tech. However, headless architecture represents a major investment and a shift in design philosophy. So if you’re decided if it’d be worth the investment, here are six benefits of implementing an effective headless architecture into training management software.

1. Construct Flexible, Optimizable Learning Experiences

Crafting the ideal experience for learners is difficult. Different learners within the organization have completely different needs for content modality, and more.

You wouldn’t approach management training in the same way you approach basic safety courses or onboarding, but is that difference in approach reflected in your learning experience? The content might be different, but are all learners being pushed through an identical website before they get to it?

But by composing the front-end experience learners receive from data that can tailor it to their needs, a headless architecture provides flexibility and customization. Whatever fine-tuning and optimization your learners need, headless software can provide the infrastructure to support it.

2. Build Change-Ready Software Stacks

Training might be mostly a long-term investment. But sometimes business conditions change quickly, and training teams need to be able to keep up. More importantly, the training team may need to take the lead and help the rest of the organization develop new skills in response to sudden changes.

With so much on the line, training teams need software that can reliably scale and pivot while continuing to deliver a high-quality learner experience. Headless software’s flexibility and focus on a standardized infrastructure for supporting training tools helps to provide that capacity.

By streamlining the management of the training tech stack, teams can be much more adaptive when utilizing headless software. The traditional training tech stack, with complex, poorly-integrated networks of learning tech, just can’t match that. That gives your team, and your whole organization, a competitive advantage.

3. Centralize Control of Your Learning Tech

The whole really is greater than the sum of its parts, and the difference comes down to being coordinated. The tools in your technology stack could probably be combined in innovative ways to deliver new capabilities – if only the infrastructure was in place to support it.

A headless architecture can provide a framework to coordinate your existing tech stack for increased capability. Furthermore, the flexibility provided by headless architectures can make it easier to choose and implement best-in-breed software in order to build an all-star tech stack.

With all of your back-end software tools being controlled and linked into a system of APIs, you also gain increased visibility into exactly what your software is doing, how it’s being used, and what could be done to optimize it.

4. Automate Repetitive Management Work

The current paradigm for training management relies heavily on manual work. Simple processes like booking training events often require L&D pros to do a large amount of manual data entry and to manual coordinate mass communications.

A headless architecture lays the foundation for implementing tools that can automate these repetitive management tasks away and refocus employee time onto higher-level strategy. Automation tools need easy access to data in order to function correctly, and need tight integration with other tools to do their jobs efficiently. The current standard for training tech stacks just doesn’t cut it in a lot of cases.

Having a robust headless architecture with powerful, API-driven data management systems in place makes it simpler and easier to support highly-capable automation tools, for tasks as straightforward as sending emails and as complex and time-consuming as scheduling.

5. Create a Durable Software Foundation

The durability of training software is often lacking. Software does not tend to age gracefully, and it’s only natural that systems gradually become outdated. But when it’s difficult to implement and integrate new systems into your tech stack, it’s often necessary to keep systems around long after their prime.

A headless architecture, however, provides a robust support system for your other tools, and specifically makes it easier to adopt and replace tools by standardizing the processes that link smaller systems to your larger framework. If a tool can respond to an API call, it’s a straightforward process to bring it into a headless architecture, iterate on it, innovate with it, and, one day, replace it with something newer and better. That creates a long-term staying power for headless software that most tech stacks just can’t provide.

6. Demonstrate ROI For L&D Operations

Having world-class training operations delivering value to your organization won’t matter unless you have the numbers to back it up. Data linking training operations to business success is often difficult to come by.

Sometimes, that’s because it was never collected in the first place. More often, it’s because it’s inaccessible. It might be distributed across multiple unconnected systems, or it might be buried in a system that only produces pre-generated reports that don’t cover the metrics you need.

A headless architecture, however, creates the perfect environment for managing data effectively. All of the work creating API calls that link your systems together can be applied towards establishing a central data lake or any other data management schema. That makes your data easier to access, simplifies reporting, enables detailed breakdowns of the ROI of training operations, and can power data-driven decision making.

Explore What’s Possible With Headless Architecture

If you want to explore creating a truly headless approach to your training operations, you’re going to need the right tools and the right expertise. Start off well-equipped and well-informed, and you have the potential to build extremely powerful and innovative solutions to even the most complex L&D problems.

For some inspiration, take a look at what one of Administrate’s customers, Ping Identity, accomplished when they implemented the Administrate platform and used it as a jumping-off-point for headless software, an improved learner experience, and more.

Caleb Shull was a Former Copywriter at Administrate.

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