And the crowds roared.  And the people sang from the hilltops. And a lot of prognosticators wouldn’t stay it.  They wouldn’t admit it. That yes, they missed the boat.  

They spewed their forecasts, left others to spout “Wow, and yeah,” but failed to see the trends. Miss the big picture.

Some of my personal favorites

  • Talent/Performance Management will take over LMSs, whereas people will want it OR the LMS will become a Talent/PM solution first and foremost

WRONG:  Talent/PM in an LMS and its subsets, has already hit its peak.  Based on my data, it will never be the “must” feature nor are folks actively seeking it. 

People today are moving more to have their TM/PM system, HRIS solution or HCM and then also having an LMS.  Separate offerings that can API or connect between themselves.

  • People do not want traditional LMSs; they want streamlined learning platforms

I still hear this, and again my data is not showing that.  Yes, there are plenty of folks who are seeking a learning platform or other subsets of LMSs, but when you look at the $$$, the LMSs as a whole are far outweighing learning platforms. 

Just last week, I saw a feature from an LMS vendor that I surmise will a)change the industry, b) left me stunned in a great way.   While I cannot say who the vendor is at this time, I can say, that they are more than five years old, has been in my Top 10 for three years, and well, continues to create cutting edge features that people want and will use.

  • Enterprise systems (LMS and its subsets) continue to be the top market

The problem with this statement is that there are vendors who define “enterprise” with numbers are not really “Enterprise.”  I’ve seen numbers starting at 2,000, 500, 5,000, 1500.  Enterprise starts at 10,000.  It is for internal employees.    When you shove numbers under the actual count, you can push out this forecast, but it is not accurate.  Skewed is a better word.

  • MOOCs and more importantly vendors, like Coursera, will lead the market. I also saw the other Diddy, that MOOCs are part of or is the future for learning.

Bullturds.  Coursera is an MOOC aggregator if you will.  Nothing more.  MOOCs are widely used by people, but that is because they are free.  Look at the data, and you will see high drop off rates.

Let’s not forget that MOOCs follow the higher education approach to learning, synchronous based (which time and time again, does not work).  

So yeah, there are a lot of MOOCs out there, but there is also a lot of people  who still buy a certain individual frozen pizza product (which ranks up there with cardboard).  The point is, just because there a lot of something out there, doesn’t mean that it is good.

I could go on, but then I would need to find out whether or not the Hindenburg is still flying and how can I buy a ticket. Which means, I won’t. 

Da. Da. Da. The 2017 Forecasts.

Get your notepads out. Here they come.

a. Deep Learning – hits hot mode.  Everything is pointing that way.  So, in 16, it arrived. In 17, it explodes to a new level.   In the consumer world outside of e-learning, they call it machine learning.

b. LRS finally shows up in higher numbersYes, there are vendors who have it already, but more are on their way.  The challenge I see is a)it is very much a work in progress – so don’t gripe about it, b)the data that can be pulled out of it, is impressive the problem thou, is that vendors who have them right now are not doing that. I do not see that changing as a whole.  Oh, I do see more vendors changing what an LRS was designed to do – i.e. learner takes their data record with them when they leave.  That’s not happening across the board.

c. Digital Learning makes a dent.  Not a big dent, not a huge dent. Just a dent.  DL includes e-learning in my mind, but as this post explains about digital learning, there are more items coming out, including VR headsets

d. More stuff in native mobile apps.  Manager, instructor, social and video capabilities in actual on/off synch native apps.  Which means, increase in on/off synch – yeah!  Anyway, a vendor who just goes “you have to have the net – i.e. no offline capability,” already offers all this.

Why? Because you are accessing the system via the native app and you, have an internet connection. However, you are out of the office, or wherever and you lose your connectivity, sorry can’t do anything.  Again, you need on/off for true feature sets IMO and not always net requirement.

Because you are accessing the system via the native app and you, have an internet connection. However, you are out of the office, or wherever and you lose your connectivity, sorry can’t do anything.  Again, you need on/off for true feature sets IMO and not always net requirement.

Watch for some vendors offering other native apps, such as ones dedicated to saying “social.”  This means they do not provide just a single native app with on/off synch, but they offer other native apps that can be used with their system.

e. P2P –  As in peer to peer.  As in, learners share content, images, video, audio, documents, and so forth.  While the content angle exists now, it doesn’t go full blown, including say course materials or courses.  The latter “courses,” is a late capability in 2017, but the others are there. The administrator decides whether to allow all of it, some of it, etc.

f. Micro-learning hits “all the rage.”  Vendors are going to push this capability.  Funny thing, you could always do it, but too many vendors ignored that (ok, nearly all of them, until it made its “visual appearance” in 16 with consumers in our industry). 

Well, it is going to be like a volcano spewing lava on the folks below.  I finally do expect that people will create 90 to 120-second videos as their courses.  And I want to personally thank you and your learners will thank you too.

  I expect that people will create 90 to 120-second videos as their courses.  And I want to personally thank you and your learners will thank you too.

g. Re-design on the back-end for administrators. No longer gobbly goo, where the administrator has to use a help guide to figure out the navigation, nor too much stuff and no way to utilize it.   I expect to see the “favorites” – whereas the administrator picks capabilities or specific features they use over and over again.  Saves time.

Also look for more “drag and drop” functionality.

h. Drag and drop on the learner side. Hello NASA shows us the real UFO pictures on the moon.  Drag and drop can be extremely beneficial to learners.

i. An increase in the extended enterprise space, whereas it could be a content/training provider brick and mortar or a lone human who wants to sell courses, etc. online.  Equally look for associations and alike, could be businesses too, who want individual business units or break down by whatever variable (i.e. with association space), and seek a multi-tenant platform within your LMS and its subsets.  

Equally look for associations and alike, could be businesses too, who want individual business units or break down by whatever variable (i.e. with association space), and seek a multi-tenant platform within your LMS and its subsets.  

j. Game based learning increases. No brainer here. 

k.  Some course providers and course creators will start developing AR and VR content.  The market will be dependent on a couple of items (listed in my take on AR/VR), but I do see this showing up.  A nuance to it is that the authoring tool vendors won’t go there.  Maybe one or two, but that’s it.

l.  More connections and interconnectors.  Want to have Dropbox connection. Got it. Box? Got it. Shopify? Got it. And so forth.  No need to go looking, the vendor will include it in their system on the back end.  You simply add your username/password, and you are rocking.

I  do see a few vendors creating app stores, whereas the apps are APIs, but you can connect to a lot of SaaS solutions out there.

m. Mobile First.  Expect to hear more of this in 2017.  My big issue with is when you dive into it, unless they include on/off synch, it is just a buzz term. Everyone has responsive. Native apps are on the rise. Mobile video increases every month.  Show me the proof.  A mobile first must push micro-learning and micro-video. 

n.  Higher ed folks start jumping over to non-HE systems.  There are folks who are doing it now, but I expect more to do so in 2017.  A mass run? No.  But more than in the past. 

o. Colleges/Universities starting to offer degrees via 100% online courses. In other words, the student takes all their courses online, never goes into the classroom, and lands a degree. 

I’m not talking about some university; you would be afraid to mention in a job interview or out loud, cause people go “oooh, you got it from there as if it came from Monster U.”  Uh, you know who I am referring to – no offense to them, though.  They do offer a pathway for many people. 

I’m not talking about some university; you would be afraid to mention in a job interview or out loud, cause people go “oooh, you got it from there as if it came from Monster U.”  Uh, you may know who they are – and no offense to them, but it is a reality.

AR and VR

Okay unless you have been listening only to Englebert Humperdink music (and, I can’t believe this guy was ever popular. I mean have you ever been forced to hear one of his songs in the elevator? Sheesh.) you have heard the push of AR and VR.

When people think of VR (Virtual Reality) they often think of Oculus Rift and similar headset devices.

I hear to tell you, that while the gamers and some early adopters will use OR, the bigger push and usage will come from smartphone and electronic companies whereas you use your smartphone with their headset.  Let’s take a look at some of them already out there.

  • Samsung Gear VR Samsung Gear VR- Assuming yours isn’t one that catches on fire, the Gear VR headset is popular. They are doing a massive ad campaign, maybe you have seen it.  Anyway, it is powered by Oculus, but you need to use a Samsung Gear device.
  • Google Daydream – Brand new. Only accepts Android phones.   Here is a comparison between Gear VR and DaydreamOh, it is about $80 USD. 
  • Google Cardboard –  Been around for a long time.  It works best with Android (has more apps), but you can use an iPhone in it ( I did).  The cost is around $10, depending on where you get it.  The vibe in the tech space is that Daydream will squash Cardboard. 
  • Fit VR, Homido VR, Freefly VR headset, Merge VR Googles, Pasonomi VR Glasses, IncrediSonic Vue Series VR glasses, View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack, Habor VR headset, Tepoinn VR headset, Archos VR Glasses, Bobo VR headsets.  I should note that the highest priced one is 44 pounds (UK).  You can purchase all of them on Amazon. 
  • DESTEK Vone 3D VR Virtual Reality Headset 3D VR Glasses is another one out there.
  • This site lists over 40 VR headsets that require a smartphone and work with an iPhone.

The point to all of this, is there are massive numbers out there.  So, yeah VR content can be a player, due to these type of devices – at least for now. 

What about AR?

Here is where it gets weird. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple is investing more into AR than VR and believes that AR is the future and not VR.  Apple has acquired a couple of AR firms already. Part of his argument is that VR is not for people on the “go.” 

Another note – he sees AR as an essential part of your everyday life.

Valid point.  I mean, I don’t see someone walking down the street or sitting at the airport with their VR headset, regardless if it is using a smartphone or not.

The Pokemon craze has shown that AR can be a successful driver for say game based learning or other content and thus course topics.  Thus, it has an opportunity to play well in the digital learning space.

A challenge, of course, is what will that course content look like for buyers?  On one side, boutique shops or course development shops creating course content or content for specific customers who say “We want it.” On the other hand, course/content providers creating AR content for the masses.

For the latter cost is a factor. What it will look like. Early on it can look basic and underwhelming for some, or look solid and breathtaking at least at this stage.

But at a later time frame, say 2018, people will want robust interactive stuff – I’m referring to the masses. 

I would expect a few vendors at say ATD to show up with their AR and VR courses and content.  I could equally see a couple in 2017 ATD shows.

What I don’t like is when they show up with Oculus Rift.  Come on – how many training and L&D departments are going to specifically buy OR?  Sure, some verticals they will – but more likely for courses/content developed for them, and not the masses.

I could equally see a couple in 2017 ATD shows. What I don’t like is when they show up with Oculus Rift. 

Come on – how many training and L&D departments are going to specifically buy OR?  Sure, some verticals they will – but more likely for courses/content developed for them, and not the masses.

Lastly, I am totally looking forward to Microsoft Halolens. If it does what they claim it will do – I’m all in.  Right now, they offer a developer version for $3,000 (three thousand dollars), a tad out of price range, plus it is a developer version and not for the masses. 

Bottom Line

Above are my forecasts for 2017.   Along the way, my take on AR and VR.

VR headsets using smartphones are the driver for them. I see Google Daydream as the dominating player in that particular space.  

AR shouldn’t be tossed aside.  Apple is not a vendor to ignore, nor is what e-learning providers can create for the masses, regardless of what device you use.

Right now it is hard to predict which of the two will dominate our space.  AR is the easier of the two IMO to build and be widely utilized for all verticals.  It has to be good at some point, although if you have seen some games for e-learning, Atari comes to mind.

Thus, the design and look for either have to rock.  People expect that.

Just as people expect the industry to move forward

And not backward.

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