Where the LMS is Heading

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It seems that every day I have been seeing articles on where is L&D heading, what will happen with the LMS market, the LMS industry, how much the LMS industry is worth and so forth.

Especially when some of the folks now touting the LMS space were the same people writing about its demise.

Well, I for one, never saw a demise.  I never saw anything close to it.

What I saw and what I do see is a refreshing solution that is still not at mature stage.

Refreshing you say?

Yes, allow me to explain.

Big Data

Here he, here he – announcing Big Data in LMSs.  Okay, in one system – who does truly, duly have it.  But, that is going to change – and where you might ask?  (go ahead ask)

By 2017.

And how is it going to provide a refreshing take?

By being utilized within deep learning.


Deep learning (aka predicative analysis) is that feature you see whereas the system recommends a course or courses based on what the learner is working on/has completed and so forth.

A few systems have added skills, profiles and other content to the mix. In the output besides courses, content too has arrived at the scene.

The challenge to everything though is a)vetting on the admin side (one vendor says it now offers it) because, if the learner states A in their skills when it is really B, a skewing of data is going to occur.  And anything thereafter is skewed.

When you add big data to the mix – as tied to deep learning – the analytics output is going to hit scream mode – and in a good way.

Not just for HR folks who will be able to hit throttle mode, but also any L&D and training professional who wants more than just a histogram here or a graph there.

The level of analytical information will push the learning boundaries:

  • By adding multiple variables into deep learning thus tailoring not just a better personalized learning experience but one that generates metrics that backs it
  • With a personalized learning experience, first comes a learning path outputted by the system, then comes one that offers not just “this and that”, but one that delivers it by providing “why”
  • Offering each learner, the next level of learning, 100% learning centric – in everything – not just the path – everything – (by 2025)

For anyone who is a lover of statistical information, the metrics that can and will be extracted will like winning Powerball (okay, I’d rather want to win that, but you get the picture).

On the other hand it will do something else, expand the gap of info on behalf of the system.

Additional Explanation

Take a look at the LMS market today.  You have systems that a streamlined with the basics. Systems that are robust.  Systems that offer modules. 

Systems that try to be one thing when in fact they are another. Systems that are all about TM or HCM, but offer learning as a component, making it in my opinion not primary, but secondary.

Regardless to all that is the output of the data.  Some systems show a few histograms, graphs, where you might be able to click on them to extract additional information – but it is one click here, another click there.  On the other side of it, you have systems who allow you to select multiple variables if you so choose to and see the information in another light.

While each may offer ad-hoc (a must feature by the way), and have canned reports, the level of those fine details of data are clearly on the side of the robust solutions, which are not just those with modules or TM driven, rather a strong tier of LMSs across the board (just in case you were wondering).

And therein lies the gap.   Strong analytical extraction on one side;  give me the “basics” on the other side.

For customers right now that is fine, they can have it either way.

When you add Big Data and deep learning to the mix, something has to give.

I think most people will want deep learning in their system. 

They will want the first piece of it (this is starting to be seen already) and eventually, I believe, they will want more.  With that “more”, you would expect, heck, want, more data.  And in doing so, want the system to be able to add more variables into the mix (whether it is via yourself as the admin helping out or not).

Yet not every LMS will offer it.

Hence widening of the gap.

Expect its full arrival by 2020, but it is already here – in other ways – and for those wondering, it has nothing to do with price nor type of system.

Legacy Systems

Do you hear it?  Turn up your computer sound.  Do you hear it now?

Its the tolling of the bells.

For the end of legacy systems is upon us.

Doubt it?

Allow me to explain


Let’s go to the tape.

  • Over 95% of the LMS market offers a SaaS (in the cloud system) – and for those tech snobs, quite a few are actually PaaS (Platform as a Service)
  • There are systems who offer SaaS or nothing
  • Some big name vendors have said “see ya” to Legacy;  heck one sent out a notice announcing it will stop supporting Legacy customers by 2017
  • Legacy is ideal for those holding onto the past;  e-learning is about the future – you can’t have both

There are going to be folks who would rather see the return of the C-64 then give up their legacy system.   I get it.  And I can see why.

But the times are changing and when the market is pushing in the cloud, including some stalwarts you never would think would say “cloud” yes, legacy “no”; the time has come.

Actually it is coming.  It’s starting now.

The impact of the market will be by 2018.

Yeah, you can still have one, but good luck finding support for it.

Then again, there are folks who still probably have a mainframe sitting around somewhere.

Talk to them.

Quick Whammies

I’ve talked about these in recent posts and at speaking engagements. Although a couple are right off the presses – well, as in – first time to be seen.  Time to go short and sweet.

  • Coaching via the Q/A cycle for now, mobile coaching thereafter,  interactive – by 2017 (for a few), toss in future tech and.. (sorry, have to wait until my book shows where it is moving to)
  • Curating content –  Bookmarklet there, mobile here, building blocks with video – check me out! – VR does. – And yes, social and collaboration are part of it – 2016 vendors jump in, 2017, they are swimming it, 2020 – they have – many of them – moved on – to something more –
  • Mobile with video –  Yeah parts exist now, but the refreshing, cool experience is yet to come – 2016 you will see some vendors offer a new take on it; in 2020,  mobile devices will have changed, 2to1’s I believe will outpace tablet only; and with that video and mobile takes on a whole new style;  but those smartphones are not going anywhere, display size – yeah they are changing;  and if you haven’t paid a lot of intention – digital video cameras be pitched – advertised is not as strong as smartphones with stronger video capabilities. 

I have an awesome digital video cam, but I readily admit, when I go to places outside of the US on my speaking engagements, I take my smartphone with video oomph. 

Not my digital cam.  And I think many do.

When I was in London, just a few months back, I saw a lot of people using either their smartphone or their tablet to shoot video and take pictures.  Yes, cameras themselves were aplenty, but video cams – sorry, not even close.

With the power of apps – yet to be fully utilized in e-learning, let alone the LMS space – mobile can go beyond what is being done right now.

  I expect the next level of mobile/video – beyond the building block of I shoot video, my colleague adds to it; then the video is edited (by 2017, a few systems will offer it), and so forth.

The apps – which open up more capabilities with video and thus video learning will debut by 2019.  By 2025,  there will be vendors embracing them and customers too. 

Not just for video I should note, because uh, the ability to add notes to your videos will already be around – another level of collaboration and sharing,  but VR too. The question though is how much of an impact.

Did I mention my book will tell you? 

Seriously though, my book will, but for this piece, I will say that the hoopla around VR when it comes to e-learning is not going to be anywhere as expected. 

VR is cool and all, but having corporate training departments, L&D folks and HR – go and buy a VR device is not going to be universal.  Nor is it going to be as though every technology company runs and gets one either.

That is the big challenge to all the VR talk.  Consumer wise – there will be pricing consideration and the need to get past “just for gamers” angle.  For businesses though, adding VR to your training tools is a whole other matter.

Which is why I believe that the VR embracing with LMSs will show up earlier than the demand.  Already one vendor has a VR app or capability (can’t remember which one).  And I’m confident that you will see others in 2016. 

But the masses, different story. 

And let’s remember one little item here, this is the first iteration of VR. 

By 2020, it is going to be wholly different and radically I believe better – and as a result, along with penetration of consumer market, higher which means more LMS vendors.

  • Moving on –  Not everything lasts forever; the FB like pages are starting to slowly say “see-ya”, social profiles are finally changing to do more, but there are lots of newbies, that really are old duddies, and so, with a heavy heart:

a. Wall streams –  On the rise – It is okay, you can leave FB – millennials already have – Snapchat anyone?

b. Discussion boards/Forums –  Still around.  I used one in 94.  Here’s the kicker – the ones today look like the ones back then. Why?

c.  Social learning –  Still stagnant – the only thing that is making it slightly different

  • Collaborative – But, isn’t that what social is all about to begin with?  The only change is that it is being said outward, “collaboration” capabilities.  Well, in that case, collaboration with mobile and video slowly arrives in 2016 and by 2020 it is in full stride –  I am expecting some future tech to push it to a whole new experience
  • Administration enhancements –  Everything you read, is on the learner side; when do you ever see anything on the admin side –  now you will.

Lots of people forget that administrators are the ones in the system the most often.  Some are in their daily.  And wouldn’t it be great, if they could enjoy some benefits too?

Fear not, it is slowly starting to show up.

Let me explain


  • Drag n Drop – it’s slowly here, more vendors will add it
  • Integration with Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. –  Right now, there are vendors offering it or adding it to their learner arsenal, but on the admin side it can really be a useful piece of the pie;  It isn’t really here yet, I think that will change
  • Bookmarks and Favorites –  We know the administrators tend to do a set of items they use repeatedly and that they do not use everything (on avg.) in the system; a bookmark/favorites feature set will make it even easier and better,  2020 it is already in place – and enhancements too
  • Automate, Automate –  Listen at the end of the day, it is all about automation – minimal amount of time in the LMS;  well hate to burst the bubble because the whole 100% I will never have to be there – won’t be there by 2020,  and I’m highly doubtful by 2025; but what will be there by 2020 is the opportunity to utilize various 3rd party tools within the LMS and automate those capabilities – saving the administrator a lot of time
  • Ease of use – streamline it down – even robust systems are seeing it (again, this does not mean module only)

It has to be this way. 

Everyone says “Ease of Use” but they are usually referring to the learner side, which when systems make design changes, usually focus first on that. 

Administration takes a back seat. 

That is not going to change, but what will change is the increased ease of use and time saving capabilities for administrators.

UI rejoice!  I won’t see a administration centric system – and honestly, who wants to buy that? 

But, the idea that being robust has to be difficult to use is starting to see a different light.  In 2020, it will be shining brightly.

Bottom Line

These are just a few capabilities that will be impacting and changing the LMS. 

There are way more, but what it all says

is the LMS is here to stay.

With a new attitude heading your way.

Refreshing and exciting.

For me. For you.

For everyone.

E-Learning 24/7

FYI:  Due to repeated requests by readers (deeply honored by the way), I will be attending HRTech in two weeks. Which means that after it, a blog post on HRTech.  What’s hot; what’s a dud and much more.  With Live Tweets! 



  1. Nice article on the future of eLearning !!
    Cloud based SaaS model of learning systems are now a sought after solution when it comes to LMS.
    Because it is cost effective and highly customisable as per company’s present and future needs.

    Kudos again for your good work.

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