Corporate LMS Forecasts 2018

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I reviewed the numbers from 2016 for predications for 2017, and despite a couple of hiccups, still crossed over the 90% percentile once again.  As I recall, it was 92-93%.   The hiccups were along the lines of slower than anticpated adoption of data visualization, and sluggishness of LRS too, which although I thought wouldn’t be fast, I was surprised how bad it really was from within an LMS.

As for new readers, each year, I list up some forecasts (not all mind you, after all I have biz clients).

hotThe Forecasts

fireProjection HOT

  • Knowledge reinforcement tools.  The key here is mobile. As in mobile driven.  I’m not a lot of on/off synch app here as part of the tool, which is a shame.  If it appears, it will be slow.  What I do see though is a big boom in KRTs.  The essentials are mobile driven, with the learner focused on using the mobile side of the house, while the admin functionality is web based.  Some KRTs will play both front on web, using your browser and with mobile as the primary.  Ideally, and by 2019, I think you will see mobile only for learner, and web only for admin.  

Regardless, if you want into the space, and are not seeking LMS route, I’d go here.  Big time.   And if you have an LMS, better add the tool. 

  • Skill based assessments  – Anything related to skills and skill gaps will be strong.  Skill pre-assessments are gaining traction, with the preference being the assessment tool in the LMS, and not in an authoring tool per se.  What some folks will do, vendor wise, is tie-in the skills driven angle with their system itself or within the KRT.   The challenge here is that LMSs as a whole have been about training gap analysis, which wait for it… involves skills – as the learner to gain, increase, expand.  So the whole notion of someone’s system being skill driven only as something new is a stretch.  The difference now, is that expansion of skill based assessments, even the utilization of skills as part of…
  • Deep Learning –  Still on the fast track here, but the algorithim is the key and without going back into ad nasuem on this, the ability for admins to change the weights/points, so that people who use WBT (for non-linear) and without having to finish the content/course are not penalized nor weighted as high for someone who completes.  When a vendor does this, the “must complete it” it tells me they were/are unaware of why WBT and online learning was designed in the first place.

Anyway, right now it is all about the content/courses that folks take, complete, etc. as the key indicators for DL (aka as machine learning in the consumer world).  A few vendors have recognized the value of adding other variables if you will, with skills being the primary. I see this as continuing.  The key if you will, is having the admin be able to change what someone sees their skill level at/and/or if they really have that skill.

Research shows that people tend to rate their skills higher than the actually are (for the most part).  As a result, your data will be skewed.  Think this way, I run into many folks who tell me they are experts in PowerPoint.  Then I ask how do they do VBAs?  Silence.  Ok, your not an expert.

Other indicators, variables will start to appear as well.  Job roles for one. Another are “interests”.  Expect to see some slow growth with HRIS tie-in variables.  

  • Built-in authoring tools.  They are BACK! In the early days they were all the rage, then by around 2010, started to go the way of Bigfoot, now returning.  It won’t be at the level nor amount compared to mid 2000s (in relative to the number of vendors), but it still will be strong.  

Consumers please be aware that a built-in authoring tool will not match a 3rd party authoring tool such as Storyline 360, Captivate, Flow, etc.  They are designed to build courses quickly and easily.   I’ve seen now four in the entire space, that could be standalones because they can be robust.  

  • Sales Enablement Platforms –  Another heavily mobile driven product.  The top players here are MindTickle and Qstream.  MindTickle is far superior.  In case you are wondering what these platforms look like.  They sort of follow the KRTs in the aspect of lack on on/off synch app, and while mobile focused, the learner can utilize the system in their desktop/laptop browser with some feature sets.   The admin side is viewed in your desktop/laptop browser.   SEPs can and often will note that they have customer support/service folks on it too.  And yes, I concur.   This is going to be a strong market, but I see KRTs even hotter.     
  • 3rd party courseware/content providers showing up in your LMS.  YOWSA, sunny has never been better.  As previously noted, the majority of the content is not free, that said..
  • More LMS vendors to offer some content/courses for free.  In my experience, it is around avg. at best.  I see a lot of yuck, but hey it is free.    Anyway,  you will see more of it – uh, the free content/courses, and hopefully not the yuck. 


  • LRS tied to data visualization.  Yeah, I know I thought it would be better than it is, i.e. the usage of data visualization, but everything points that it will get there.  So, I’m giving it solid and steady.  Not fast or even 30% has it.   The funny thing, or maybe not, is that LMS vendors are not utilizing the purpose of an LRS (data record movement), rather are using it for its other benefits.  An important benefit is what it can capture, which in turn can be visualized.

The vendors who have an LRS and tied it to some type of data visualization have not harnessed its full capabilities.  This will continue to be a problem in its growth.   A second problem, is that vendors who have an LRS usually fail to note it in their marketing, a factor I see related to the lack of benefit explanation to the customer. 

On the LRS side,  my data shows that vendors as whole, will continue to build their own, rather than go third party.  Yes, there will be folks that go 3rd party, but more will build on their own.

  • xAPI – slow and steady.  Again, those who have it, really are not maximizing it.  Those who don’t seem indifferent about it.  And there are those who have it, who repeatedly say it isn’t working as it should.   It is a still a work in progress, and for the amount of time it has been in the market, that is an issue in of itself (and for another day).   But it still has so many advantages over SCORM, let alone any other course standard, that it is a must in my functionality.  The data though says steady. 
  • Coaching/Ask and Expert – Another on the steady front,  and still not fully at its full potential.   Ditto with content curation.
  • LMS ecosystems – Here they come, walking down the street. Hey hey, wait.. I am seeing the Monkeys here, any who ha,  ecosystems have been around, but now they are back in higher gear.  I anticipate solid growth for 2018.  Think of an ecosystem as a one stop shop.  Toss in the free courses/content; add the online course marketplace/providers, built-in screen/web cam recorder, video management, multi-tenant, free sandbox (post go-live), KRT and few of this and that.  Tada! Ecosystem.   You can have one for employees, customers or both audiences.  Oh and you do not need PM/TM to be listed as an ecosystem.   The ones I see as upside are those that do not have TM functionality.  You want that? Get a TM, HCM or HRIS platform
  • Next hot market for vendors –  Western Europe.    You do not need a physical location, btw.  If you do, well, a couple of great locations (sorry client only).  : )

ouiTechnology and Technobabble

  • Screen recorder/web cam recorder  – Expect an uptick.  These are in the system, not 3rd party.
  • Video management – YOWSA, battle hands on deck. Super speed hot for 2018.  Video management to me include the following:

                          a. Video overlays, most folks who have VM are doing video assessment pieces within the video content itself.

                          b.  FPS auto-detection, frames per second, whereas your mobile can auto detect the bandwidth/speed and thus show you the video with the right FPS. 

                         c.   Video streaming – although for vendors that offer it, some do it for free, some charge you.  It should be free.

                        d.  Upload to highest quality of video.  

                       e.  Video bookmarking –  slow growth here.  An awesome feature for consumers though and something I’d want if I was a learner.  For vendors that offer it, usually it is via points if you will within the timeline of the video content.

                      f.  Video editor – Slow growth.  Great potential and something that seems to be a no-brainer, but still in slow mode.  

  • Mobile recording/web cam recording and playback in the LMS.  Ties best to coaching/ask an expert.  Expect solid growth for 2018.  Only one vendor in the space, that I have seen, has come close to its potential.  And even then, they are not seeing “IT”.  The glass breaker if you will. 
  • VR/AR –  Slow.  Vendors will pitch that you can view it in a system, content that is, but it is somewhat misleading.  Yeah, you can see it, but you need to have the right VR smartphone headset or VR headset with the latest Chrome VR, to view it via an LMS (in the cloud).     I do think VR courses can be amazing, and have seen them firsthand, but in order to have the all amazing experience, the LMS would have to offer a greater VR experience in of itself.   And that is way off in the distance..way off.      Therefore I see a better, again, still slow rate with
  • Digital learning courses.  Here is a link to how I define digital learning in today’s world.   Uh, it is not the same as online learning.      DL courses are ideal for mobile. In fact, that should be the only way to go about it, but I understand the trepidation. 
  • HCMs jumping into the learning space, as in adding a LMS or learning platform.  Too much money here.  And if you are missing the one component that is hurting you landing your customers, what would you do?  Add learning.  


  • Micro Learning – Super growth here, but let’s not be caught into the idea that micro learning is something new.  It isn’t.  Any LMS even back in the late 90’s accepted micro learning courses, heck I built a few (with a TOC no less). 
  • What you are seeing now though, are vendors pitching their system as a micro learning platform or system.  Pure marketing spin.   As for micro learning itself, just because it is short doesn’t mean it is better.
  • So, yeah short is better, but to have effective micro learning you need to have SBL – scenario based learning, bringing in real world – real life scenarios for your learners.  Do that, and you scored the winning goal or touchdown or – well you know what I mean.
  • Mobile first! – Still a nice buzz word, but without on/off synch, means nothing.  Hey, I can see this blog in my mobile browser.  Yep, mobile first!
  • On/off synch app – Slow still.  Frankly for retail vertical it is a must, but yet, plenty of vendors who target retail do not offer it.  Strange. 
  • SMB is the rage.  This ties into the “Enterprise” whereas the term rely no longer applies, I cover this and more in my latest newsletter.  Anyway, SMB is the big gorilla for 2018, across all online learning systems.

Bottom Line

There you go.  Several LMS forecasts for 2018.  I define corporate as anything that is not in the education K-12 or higher education markets, in case you were wondering if your vertical is under coporate.

Let’s check back and the end of 2018, to see how I did.

And I’ll check in regulary to see how you are doing.

With my crystal ball,

Of course.

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