The Latest LMS Insight

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This week, rather than focus on one specific topic, I went wild and hit upon a few.

Responding to Consumers

I believe that

  • Every E-Learning vendor should want your business and treat you as they would want to be treated
  • Every LMS vendor should have a standard regarding response times, when they receive an inquiry via the internet. I know of one vendor who responds within 30 minutes of receiving an inquiry
  • That every e-learning vendor who receives an internet inquiry, responds in a personal nature – rather than responding with a canned message, a pre-sales pitch or a pre-something pitch.  Oh, and for added value – ask if the person (respondee) wants to receive information initially via e-mail or via the phone. 

In other words, let the person who seeks the information to decide on how they are to receive it. 

Tradition!  Tradition!

Part of the confusion is the usage of the term “traditional”, whereas I think that people who use that term are focusing on vendors such as Cornerstone or Saba, for example, and assuming that all vendors are like them.  Whether you see that as good or bad, is up to you, but the point is – that the vast majority of vendors are not like them.

The term “traditional” is also being applied to established systems, in terms of length in the industry, and thus if you have been around a long time – you must be traditional.

Using that argument then, if you are driving a classic car, you must be in the “traditional” category.  Have a house that is more than 50 years old? Traditional. 

Trust me, the term “traditional” is not perceived as being awesome.  So if someone says your system is traditional, I’m pretty sure you do not want to use that as part of your marketing.

The Latest

  • There are more LMSs who do not have built-in talent management components (360 feedback , succession planning, etc.) than those who do.  This means that even if the person selecting the system is from HR, the platforms are being used first and foremost for learning/training.
  • “Enterprise” should be kicked off the planet; with SaaS as a whole, at least from my take, it doesn’t apply – yet many LMS vendors still feel the need to state it
  • Gamification is super hot, video is hot (as in the course is a video and not in any authoring tool wrapper), m-learning is strong but not with certain features

Specifically, on/off synch is still low (WHY?), self-contained app (needed for on/off synch is low too) and believe it or not, there are still vendors out there who do not support iOS or do not support Android. 

And yet there are vendors who still support Blackberry.  I want to ask them do they support Palm too?  I should mention I found one vendor who did.

On the flip side there is one vendor who supports iOS, Android and Kindle Fire.  Very cool.

  • There are over 625 systems in the world (and growing)
  • An increase in the number of LMSs that have built-in authoring tools, this includes those who have struck partnerships with AT vendors. But of those who have the built-in, the majority are not with an AT partner.
  • There are systems who have had the same features as they did a year or even two years ago; this in turns makes me wonder, whether there will be vendors who hit the stagnation level with features/capabilities within three years; my gut says yes.

I should note I am not saying universally this will happen, rather there will be those that hit the wall in terms of the “next” tier of features, whatever that tier happens to be.

  • Modern UI is showing up more and more;  as someone who sees a lot of systems I say “Thank you”.  There is nothing worse than seeing a great system whose major minus is that UI is dated.  Think of it this way, what are you more likely to play, a game that looks cool or one that reminds you of something you played on a Commodore 64? (for those of us, who remember these babies)
  • Increase in the active vs inactive user market; really the best way to go, especially for the B2B and B2C markets
  • Vendors who realize the revenue potential of B2B, B2C markets; to the degree that their LMS (Vendor ABC) targets consumers who sell content or whatever to the B2B/B2C markets

OOh that is hot to touch

One of the hottest markets, starting in 2013 and expanding in 2014, are content providers who need a LMS to sell their own content, whether it is for their clients B2B or in some cases B2C direct.  And when I say content providers, I mean businesses that might be only one person who has created content – courses and then wants to sell the courses.

Another growth space that I see, going back to B2B and B2C, comes from companies who sells a product and thus provides some form of product training to their own customer base.  The challenge that these companies face, and the same with content providers are the lack of an extensive list of vendors to choose from.

Answer Says – “What is your potential LMS vendor’s customer focus?”

Take a look at your current system.  What is their focus?  Internal, External or both?  I see a lot of internal and an attempt to be both internal and external.  But the number of vendors who are pure external driven are not as a high as it should be.  Especially when you look at today’s global marketplace.

Before you say, “Hey Craig, our system does both”, I would ask you to look at your customer base and your features.  Just because you offer e-commerce (for example) does not mean that you are external focused.

That is why, I always tell people to ask the client make-up with your potential LMS vendor.  If you are going B2B only, ask them how many of their clients are B2B only.  If you are going B2C, same thing.   You want at least 50% at the minimum.

The same would apply if I was doing only internal training.  If the vendor I am talking to, has a client makeup of 45% external training, 35% internal and external, and the remaining internal, I might want to re-think my decision.

Gamification Details

I am in the midst of creating a “Gamification in the LMS Industry” report.  Before I get to some early data numbers, I will ask if you can take the survey.  The survey runs for another week.

Quick Hits – Early On

The survey has nine questions, but for the quick hits, I present only three.

What Gamification Features would you like to see in a LMS? (Respondents could select as many as they want)

70% said Badge Library and  70% Badge Builder.  The Library means that the system comes with a pre-built badges and the builder means that the system comes with a tool that builds badges.   The percentages will be presented in the report.

Should you be able to attain points by? (Respondents could select as many as they want)

The top two so far are:

91% Attain a passing score in an assessment or quiz

89% Complete a course

What should your reward be by having the most points at a given time?

Right now, the leader is “gift cards”. 

What can you take away from that?  Simply put, that learners want a tangible reward.

Bottom Line

There you have it.

Insight tied to several topics.

Complicated, perhaps.

Simple, it never is.

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Friday – Latest with the Authoring Tool Industry