Learning Systems for 2018 (#25 to #16)

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Here it begins.  Oh wait. Here it starts. Oh, whatever.  The debut. This year’s Top 50 learning systems for 2018 is now out, and we are doing it a bit different this year.  Before diving into the high analysis of #11-20, a bit about the rankings.  By the way, this post is long, so if you want to jump right into the listings, scroll further down.


For understanding the criteria – please visit this post.   I incorporated many of the criteria angles for 2017 (i.e. comparison of a system that focuses on SMB vs another that is SMB, rather than SMB vs. 50,000+ employees; equally, someone focusing only on B2B/B2C should be compared to other vendors only focused on B2B/B2C and not say comparing an internal only system to one that is B2B/B2C, because there will be some functionality differentials).

While I track now 1,300 learning systems around the world, the rankings are based on 1,000.  I removed any vendor built 100% on free open source or open source whereas it is always 100% customized so that one could build a mega monster or build a 1995 version.  Equally, I removed systems for K-6, K-12, higher education.  If the vendor did HE and Corporate, I looked only at corporate.

If a system was legacy only, they were removed from consideration.  If a system was built using a theme from WordPress or other types of blog sites, they were removed too.  That said, LearnDash was placed into consideration – since to me, buying a LMS theme is different than having an learning system built on WordPress.


For those wondering, “well, how can I make it,” – view my criteria.  Factors that were considered, but weighting varied based on it. 

The Top 50

So, here is how it rolls.

Tomorrow, 2-15, a blog post will come out covering #15 to #8 and on Monday, the final countdown #7 to #1 and…

A link to download a PDF showing the Top 50 (you will need to register your e-mail address to view and DL the PDF). The PDF is free – it is just again, I repeat, again, a listing of the vendors with a link to their web site.  The PDF also includes a link to my Top 50 for 2018 listings on my Scoop.it page – Top 50 Learning Systems for 2018, whereas I provide some high level analysis, including a couple of cons or weaknesses in each product (if applicable). 

The more robust data will appear in my Find an LMS platform which due to adding more functionality will launch in Q2 of this year.  You will have a lot of filter options to choose from, from selecting Top 10, 20, 50 to functionality including Administration options (not an entire list, just several), learning environment, social, gamification, security, compliance and so forth. 

Trust me, you will not be overwhelmed, it is developed in an easy and user-friendly way (that said, I will be hosting webinars to show its power, how it works, blah blah, when it is about to go live and then goes live).   There is going to be a wealth of things you can do.  Anyway, the data you seek will be there.  And best of all, to you it is FREE.  Fun, for the whole family.  Not game of Life fun, although we can debate about that, but better than Atari and Pong fun.

The Top 50 Learning Systems for 2018 listings on my Scoop.it page will be up i.e. all 50 of them by Monday.  So, please be patient.  

In past ranking posts, I covered only #1 to #10.  But this year, going the added extra route.

Fun Factoids about this year’s Top 50 Learning Systems for 2018

  • Countries represented are – United States, England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, France, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands.  Again, this is a global list. 
  • Two sales enablement platforms make it into the top 50, one in the top 20
  • A tie at #50, Xyleme and aNewSpring
  • Five Learning Engagement Platforms are in the Top 50, three of which are in the Top 20.  I could say six, if I include Grovo, but I see them right now as a learning system without clear definition.  They are missing some standards in the LEP space.  So, hence the five.
  • For folks who think I ignore the big dog vendors, sorry to disappoint, but Saba, SumTotal Learn and Cornerstone Learning Suite are in the Top 50.  SuccessFactors, Oracle and others are not. 

When I was at LTUK a couple of weeks ago, a vendor who was giving a presentation, showed a slide with Learn.com on it, as though their tool worked with it or something like that, uh Learn.com hasn’t been around in like five plus years. I laughed.  Then nearly passed out because, the loos were not working!!!

  • Newbies in this year’s rankings –  Thought Industries, Learn Amp, Mind Tickle!, Eurekos, Adobe Captivate Prime, Bridge, Qstream, Player Lync, 360 Learning, Assentia LMS, Skilljar, Area9 soon to be called Rhapsode (no not a misspell, but not a great name either. Reminds me of Real Player – are they making a comeback?) and Xyleme (who notes as a LCMS, but is actually more along the lines of a Content Delivery service with LCMS parts and an assessment tool).  I like them for the CDS angle for learning.
  • Welcome back – Saba and Absorb LMS
  • Vendors to watch in 2018 (on top of being in the Top 50) are Mind Tickle!, Torch LMS, Glo Enterprise, Learn Amp, Toolwire (TILE), Player Lync, Eurekos and Thought Industries. 


And now…..

To streamline down without assaulting your eyes with a book approach, a slight change up. Going to Cover 25-16 today.  Then tomorrow 15-8, then on Monday  1-7.  Why not the usual route of 1-10? Because, well why not? Out of the box approach, I say.

#25 Tessello –  Big wins – Competency management – their adaptive learning engine assesses individual user skills against imported competencies and levels (big plus for identifying training gaps)- sweet!  Gamification is solid, LRS, xAPI, content curation is fantastic as a whole, Love that you can get analytics for shared videos from the learning streams.  Multi-tenant is available but at an extra cost (not a fan, should be free).  More geared towards employees IMO.  I say this because it lacks a lot of e-commerce functionality – a lot! Event management is a mix, some good, some missing. UI/UX is excellent. 

#24 Kallidus –  My Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde vendor.  The front end UI/UX is amazing. The admin side, ugh, dated – but the analytical data, the capabilities are elite. Yet, some of the learning reports look absolutely modern and fantastic.  I slide them here, because they have a strong track record of delivering on their roadmap – so content curation, video management (they have some), and a few other items are on for 2018. That said, zero on deep learning (and a non-interest at this point, from my chats), and zero on e-commerce. Their mobile appearance is very impressive – a very good Knowledge Reinforcement aspect, but just in general for learning on the go, great UI and UX. 

#23 Pathgather –  Learning Engagement Platform. My most recent sighting, just in the past month, after a previous sighting at ATD, wow – change city!  Brought in some new top tier talent and the results are strong.  UI/UX very good.  The hit home runs in most of the standards of a Learning Engagement Platform. Biggest weakness is the analytical data that can be extracted, some standard components missing or limited, and admin capabilities are a mixed bag.  Oh, and they call themselves a talent blah blah, but they are missing a lot of TM functionality, so I still see them as an LEP. 

#22 Eurekos – Eureka!  Functionality home run here.  UI/UX is good. Within their video management, you can leave your video come back in months and whalla it keeps track of your progress – similar to video bookmarking.  Compliance and regulatory – very strong, content curation – slam dunk, built-in authoring tool – you can do a lot with this, classroom management, competency management, and I could go on. Coaching/Ask an Expert still needs quite a bit, has some functionality. Roadmap track record has been excellent.  This is for the corporate system, they offer an education one.  My advice – focus on Corporate.

#21 MATRIX –  UI/UX is great. this platform is heavy on skill build up and development. Mobile is solid with on/off synch app coming this quarter (Q1).  Assessment tool, integrations such as Google Drive, Zapier and Office 365 are pluses. Weak areas are classroom management (nearly non-existent), deep learning (on roadmap), video management as a whole is mixed. 

#20 Toolwire (TILE) – An up and coming learning engagement platform that has the standards and other functionality that is unique. For example, a pre-assessment which identifies gaps that are tracked in a “personalized learning plan”. Then learners are provided content which offers a variety of capabilities to enable them to achieve success. Gamification, analytical data is strong, social, retention and reinforcement wins too.  UI/UX are solid, can be improved to take the product to the next tier.  Potential.

#19 Agylia –  Mobile driven approach – lots of good here,  On/Off synch. Compliance and regulatory are winners. Notifications includes ability to send via SMS (text). Event management has all the goodies including auto waitlist. Weakness – deep learning (nearly non-existent), competency management is poor (which is strange because compliance is quite good).  UI/UX are excellent.

#18 Glo Enterprise – UI/UX is good. Competency management – win! Multi-tenant. Another vendor with mobile who can send SMS notifications for courses, sign up for webinars, seminars, course reminders, etc. (not a vendors can do SMS, but here in the Top 25 many can!).  Event management includes auto waitlist. Mobile – on/off synch. Weaknesses – lack of any deep learning at this point. Video management is limited.

#17 Mind Tickle! – Besides a confusing web site, and trust me, it’s confusing, the product in reference here is the “Skills and Practice”. Mind Tickle! is a sales enablement platform, whereas they focus on reinforcement and skill building if you will, but mobile is a core component. Anyway, the product hits this well, and their multiple web cam ranking – min. rank by managers or coaches, and then only learners only view the top X is fantastic.  Weakness – the mobile needs more.  The lack of an on/off synch function especially with a product focused on folks out in the field, is mind-boggling.  Customer support folks use the product too (or can).  Have you ever been in a call center?  So, yeah, mobile needs a few upgrades.

#16 Torch LMS “I’m on fire,” or whatever that song by Springsteen, reminds me of, well fire.  Anyway, Torch LMS is finally on “fire” and a vendor to watch in 2018.  Robust at last, for the most part.  Deep learning, content curation, coaching/ask an expert, manager and instructor views and on and on.  This platform has power. UI/UX is quite good – but time for an update, okay a minor upgrade. Still strong though.  Biggest weakness – well, two actually, e-commerce (you have multi-tenant, but no e-comm?) and mobile – really a stunner.  You can view it via mobile and it is mobile responsive (everyone is) and that is about it, okay a couple of other items, but really a bummer on the mobile here. Can you tell?

Bottom Line

Enjoy the rankings of #16 to #25 of the Top 50 learning systems of 2018. Don’t forget to jump on over to the Top 50 learning systems for 2018 on my scoop.it page for additional analysis.

2/15 – Numbers 15 to eight on the top 50 learning systems for 2018.

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