The NexGen LMS Grid

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It’s been a long time coming.  One Grid that goes beyond the Quadrants of the world, the other type of grids focusing on the space, the vendors that make it based on a variety of factors as defined by the firms themselves.

I totally get it.

But one area that always seem missing was that of next generation functionality.  This is where the rubber gets run over by lots of self-driving cars and trucks, and as a result makes silly putty seem so ‘yesteryear’. 

It stretches, does strange things when you try to wrap your face around it, you know – you’ve tried it (okay, maybe not, but roll with it).

A previous post covered NexGen functionality, so feel free to buzz over there and read all about it.

The GRID – NexGen LMS Style


While there are well over 1,300 systems (LMS and subsets including learning platforms, sales enablement platforms, reinforcement learning platforms, etc.) I decided for this debut to focus on 20 vendors.

I wanted to provide the “Big Dogs” on the list, so that folks where aware of those vendors and their nextgen functionality and track record, which ties to growth. 

Partially for those people wondering where they place and part because honestly, one I think to many of surprise is actually on the leader grid, and deserving so.

The sample size for the debut grid was 250 vendors across multiple landscapes in the learning system space.   The sample of 250 included vendors listed in my Top 50 for 2017 report, which includes details on functionality including a few nexgen pieces (at the time of publish).

Many of the vendors listed below do appear in the Top 50 for 2017. Vendors bolded in brick red are listed in the Top 50 for 2017. 

Vendors ranged from brand new – i.e. started in 2017, to ones that have been around since the late 90’s. 

Vendors in corporate only, regardless if they were employee only, B2B/B2C only or a combination of employee/customer/partner and so forth.   Location was not a factor here.  The sample size included vendors located throughout the world.

Vendors who focused on small business, SMB, mid-size, large, enterprise, extended enterprise and anything else were in the sample.  In other words, target audience was not relevant, nor vertical, nor what color is their building.

Systems were graded on my weight system for next generation functionality.  Roadmap is important here, because everyone has a roadmap, but not everyone pushes on next generation functionality, nor includes it,  nor delivers 100% on their roadmap for any given year. 

Key Points

The GRID focuses only on next generation functionality and growth and not where a vendor ranks or doesn’t rank in my Top 50 for 2018, which will be live in 2018. 

A leader is a leader.  And the ones in the leader sector are the leaders, regardless if there was 50 or 100 or 200, etc. on the grid.  They take it and make it happen.  They are not sitting around waiting for the train to come in.  They are the train.  Running on solar.  Full sun ahead. 

To visit a vendor, click their name, uh on the post, not the grid.

THE NEXGEN LMS GRID by The Craig Weiss Group


To view and download the gird – VISIT HERE



Goes from Weak (as in poor in next generation functionalty) to Strong next generation functionality.  No one has every bit of next generation functionality that I cite or note on social media an elsewhere. 


Where are these vendors on the scale to the growth of next generation functionality, capabilties including by the way, nexgen content?   It all fits in, really.  And if you are weak in one area, uh, you are weak in another.   The middle ground, places you in the area where you should move forward quicker, but for whatever reason, you are taking it easy in one way, but doing some cool things in another.  

Breaking down THE GRID



All the leaders are strong in next generation growth.  If  you are specifically seeking that, then they are ones to check.  Degreed is strong, but not an LMS or learning platform as a standalone per se.  Better suited as an add-on, bolt-on, complimentary to an LMS or similar learning system.  

Growth Engineering

Big Wins – Video management, lots to choose from here, especially with screen and web cam capture/record.  Content curation, ask an expert, gamification including reward center, social engagement across the realm slide nicely in.  UI is very modern, admin needs some up tick, but still slick.  Doesn’t have all the latest in UI nextgen design, but frankly no one does.   Mobile slick.  Knowledge Arcade on your mobile app with your own content in on the map, as in by Q4.  Track record is hot.  They have been tops in my NexGen rankings for the last three years.  Nothing changes that.  


Another nice win on the video management piece.  Love the video assessment including having it within the authoring tool and/or adding it to your own assessment via another 3rd party authoring tool.  Their ask an expert/coach allows the learner to record themselves via mobile or web cam, whereas the “coach” can review, leave comments.  Nice.  Can view VR content and play, albeit no analytics here (again, no one is doing it yet).  UI is very modern and nice, easy to use.  Gamification is going to only get better, it is solid now, by end of the year, super freaking hot.  Has app integrations and thus an app store.  Mobile tough.   A lot of nexgen is on their map for the rest of 17.  Growth record continues to be strong. 


NexGen galore.  Has a strong deep learning capability with an algorithm (a requirement), but the nice plus is that the admin can change the weights/points and what is and is not required/completed to achieve (some vendors require you to complete content/courses to score plus in the algorithm, thankfully Saba does not). Content curation, ask an expert, mobile, gamification – but needs to be stronger,  video management is all there.  Chrome extension called Saba Discovery is quite nice, a perfect compliment to content curation.  UI has massively  improved, but I still think it needs a bit more here and there.  Analytical design needs a revamp, but in the grand scheme of functionality, they are fire breathing dragons. Social driven too.

eLogic Learning

LRS.  Content curation. Ask an Expert (with nice approach). Mobile.  Gamification.  Strong, Strong track record of hitting nexgen objectives. By end of Q3 video management enhancements, including built-in screen capture/web cam record.  P2P learning on its way.  Social is getting better – new capabilities coming by end of Q4.  New apps too.  UI is very modern and intuitive. VR content can be viewed and played. Includes free sandbox after customer goes live. They offer a form of deep learning, but at this time no algorithm (not uncommon for folks who offer DL).   Constantly pushing themselves to deliver on nexgen functionality and growth record follows suit.  Oh, SMS notifications – sweet!


Ideal as a compliment to your LMS and/or learning platform.  NexGen delivery is great.  Deep learning with algorithm and admin can now change weights/points, what must be completed or not and still can score with the algorithm on the plus.  Includes extensions for browsers for content curation.   Video management is solid, but a big win is the ability to change FPS and output quality using auto-detection of Net speed on the mobile. Thus if you are hitting the net at 5mbs, the quality of the video will change appropriately. Social engagement and functionality is sweet.  Social playlists exist here.  Lots to love on nexgen.  Mobile apps already in play.  Including on/off synch. 



Create LMS

Never heard of them? Don’t worry.  Now you have.  Debuted in 16.  Mobile includes on/off synch, native apps too.  Content curation.  Social. Gamification. Modern and easy to use UI. Can play and view VR content.  In test mode with Augmented Reality as we speak.  Deep learning not yet and some more modifications are in order.  NexGen market growth rate is fantastic.  Video management plays.  Sleeper to be sure.  Definitely someone to watch.

IMC Learning Suite

Some of the strongest features I have ever seen you can do in a native mobile app with on/off synch, especially with the offline capabilities. Social good, love the social playlist includes recommendations by the system too (user based as well). Video management is a mix bag, but video streaming is included. Content curation is quite good.  Ask an Expert/Coach works, needs some enhancements.  Lots of nexgen here.  Track record strong. Growth record same.

Digits Glo

Has a bit of this and that.  Video management solid, but includes streaming.  Gamification all there. Social solid, love the social report option. Oh, gamification offers a report too.  Coaching and curation exists.  Mobile includes on/off synch.  Love the learning journey option on the learner dashboard – I had fun,  but I smiled even more when they will build one for you as part of your setup – if you do not have your own.  Another sleeper.  Well, I guess that is going to change.  Modern UI, easy to use, lots of options.

Unicorn LMS

Perhaps, okay, it is the best mobile app capabilities I have seen bar none – exists in the Minds-I mobile app (additional fee).  For the LMS app that comes with the system, super solid.  Also has a mobile app for CPD (rare).  On/Off synch all there for apps.   Video management is strong, including P2P with bookmarking.  No video streaming though. They sit in the middle of nexgen functionality, mainly due to their target market of financial services and alike, but the UI is quite modern, very fine.  For all that is there, their market growth record is quite good. 

Workday Learning

Video management rocks here.  Big win is the auto detection of speed/bandwidth when viewing video.  The app figures it out by itself.  However, you can always change it too.  Needs a couple of more VM to really sit itself apart.  Content Curation. Social plays a role.  Deep learning exists (no algorithm). Track record on growth is good.  Functionality, well, that is why they are in the middle on that.  Still, everything tells me they understand where they need to go. Hence the success of their nexgen track record.



What’s the saying, slow and steady wins the race?  Well, not sure about that here in the nexgen game, but these folks have some nice victories nevertheless.  Steady are those whose nexgen functionality ranges for mid to strong, but their NexGen market growth record is mid at best.


Mobile is a  On/Off synch. Siri like assistant. Geolocation (first vendor to have it, and that was a few years ago).  Native apps of course.  Dynamic HTML links whereas you can play the course right within your own e-mail, and the data gets pushed back into the LMS, is very nexgen in my book.  Gamification is strong with leaderboard on home page. Social is good, with a big win for a built-in profanity checker – a rarity in the LMS and learning platform space. Reporting for gamification, social and video exists on admin side.  Coaching/Ask an expert is average.  Content curation solid, but not spectacular. UI is modern and they are making new enhancements, which will help their nexgen market growth, but I wish for more of a revamp for an already modern UI. 


Ask and Expert and Content Curation are wonderful, but it is a separate module (even if you buy Enterprise), which is downer for me, because the feature sets are quite good.  Social Playlist big win, love the new subscription bundle within the system but you cannot as a user built a bundle to purchase (i.e. doesn’t tie into the e-comm).  So plus on one, curious on why not on the other.  UI is very modern and easy to use.  One click with apps and courses and pow right into the LMS has always been a NexGen win and yet, they are only one of a few in the space.  NexGen market growth is middle.  Not sure why they decided to launch a TM/PM module, instead of say extensive NexGen enhancements with the LMS itself. 

Mind Tickle!

Stop the presses! Webcam cool record feature alert! First time I have seen it anywhere. Ties into the coach approach.  Feature referred as “coach/skill assessment”. On the admin side, the administrator (and/or coach) can select a ranking score, say anything above 4.5 (which is where a person has to score by the coach) to be listed on the webcam record page that other learners can see.  Rather than just seeing feedback, a learner can view other learners recorded mind you, in the system, who have that score or higher.  Thus the best of the best for whatever topic or area or whatever to cover.  Using customer service for example,  the topic could be “answering the phone”  and then you see the best of the best – via the recording – based on the coach ranking.  Totally cool.   Mind Tickle! is a sales enablement learning platform which can also be used for customer service.  Mobile driven. 


Deep learning with algorithm.  Content curation via Discovery Zone.  Game based learning, with actual games.  Some are fun. Some are not. But hey,  at least it exists.  Gamification strong.  Video management solid.  Can send a video message across the entire platform or by team.  Ask an Expert/Coaching strong in some areas, needs improvements in others.  Social is so-so.  Seems ready to break out, but for whatever reason doesn’t. 

SumTotal Learn

Modern UI is clearly here, but can be at time overloaded with info.  NexGen market growth track record has been disappointing.  Mobile solid, but still needs some functionality.  Social solid, missing some things. Deep learning with algorithm is robust, love the ability to tie in personal interests to it, although I wonder how a personal interest of say “staring at rocks in a stream,” works with recommended courses, especially if the client doesn’t include personal or professional development courses. I smell a Hibachi Grill.  (you know your “recommendation” list on sites like Amazon, where you will never buy that in a zillion years and has nothing to do with you looking at k-cup coffee). 



Zzzzz.  Huh?  Rip Van Winkle here to give you the insight into those who slide into Slow.  Sure they may pitch the “next generation of learning” or something along those lines in some fashion, but their next generation market growth track record and functionality doesn’t back it up. 

Especially when some of them are actually solid systems.  Somewhere, something is amiss.

Cornerstone Learning Suite

Data visualization is here – a nice NexGen feature set. Deep learning with algorithim – but the big dud in the room is learning that the admin cannot change the weights/points. Glad to know that Cornerstone knows more about my training, than I do.  Thus, if I want to change the weight for not completing a course, and make it say worth more, sorry, no can do.   Strange.  And that folks is why, CLS is here.  When they have NexGen it is like an asterisk should come with it in many places.  Take their approach to their modern UI.   It went piecemeal and not learner first then admin, I mean some of learner, some not, some admin pieces, some not.  Now it is finished.  Content curation is strong. Ask an Expert/Coach is mixed. And it goes on and on that way, when it comes to NexGen. Anyway,  NexGen market growth record is average. 

Torch LMS

Very modern UI.  Simple to use.  Mobile but no on/off synch.  Really like the system and see its potential, but seriously, they need some NexGen push.  Saying it is one thing, delivering it is another.   NexGen market growth track record is a tad below average.


A learning platform I like as a whole, but NexGen wise, needs a massive push.  Modern UI and video management is quite good, includes video streaming. Added them to the grid, since a lot of folks inquired where do they fit.  Well, they fit here. 

Linkedin Learning

Deep learning exists, but the way they developed it with it tied deeply with content is concerning.  Like any content library from a 3rd party, some of it is good, some is poor, and is no different.  Mobile is there.  For content curation it is via links.  That is great. For 2005.  Potential is there.  Not sure when we will see it.  NexGen market growth record is poor.


Deep down somewhere out there, a Plateau Learning fan is waiting. Dreaming of a return. Congrats – your dreams have come true! They have mobile.  They have social. They have “features”, but at the next generation level it isn’t fully there.  It would be one thing if these folks were brand new out of the gate (although Create LMS eliminates that argument) or if they didn’t have the financial resources to make it happen (but so many others with less have) or whatever..   I could go on.  I won’t. 

Bottom Line

I noted early on that the leaders are the train.  Can they stay on the tracks or will they get stopped at a future crossing?

Based on the market growth track records, I am not anticipating any stops.

This is an express all the way.

And for every other vendor out there, looking to go next generation,

Words will only go so far.

Functionality and Delivery


To the finish line.

E-Learning 24/7



  1. Knowledge, skills, experience – these are the three cornerstones of professionalism. They have a firm stance on them, we have confidence in our own strengths and abilities, we have patience, audacity and enthusiasm

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