There are so many LMS solutions available these days that it is increasingly overwhelming to try and figure out which one is the best fit for a certain company. Marketing teams do an excellent job of making each one sound as a ‘must-have’ and the technology drives everything forward at such a speed that shortly after acquiring such a platform it has a good chance of becoming yesterday’s news.
Innovations come in diverse areas, ranging from user experience design, administrator functions, learning analytics, mobile apps, social functionality, personalized content, built-in authoring tools, gamification, xAPI-enabled integrations or even bulk e-commerce capabilities.
4 E-learning trends shaping up the LMS industry in 2020
While I don’t feel I have the expertise needed to give an answer to the question Which LMS is the best LMS?, here are some market trends that may help sifting out what is relevant for your organization and what isn’t in terms of learning management.
E-commerce is on the rise
We have all noticed that. The internet has become the world’s largest marketplace and geographical distance is not an issue when it comes to training materials. All over the globe, organizations are looking for ways to monetize their instructional content either by making it available to individuals or other organizations.
Interest in this particular feature of LMSs is coming from all corners of the market – corporations, non-profits, academic institutions, commercial training companies and even subject matter experts who seek to become entrepreneurs.
If a while back, organizations fiercely guarded their training materials by making sure everything was done on secure platforms and asking participants to sign agreements that they will not pass information along, now they are opening all the learning spaces to customers and resellers.
Mobile learning apps are increasingly popular
I remember one of the first Blackberry commercials I ever saw. There was a man talking about how he could reply to emails from people working in his company on the other side of the planet while on his daily commute. It seemed unbelievably awesome, especially since that particular device managed to deliver emails with minimum data usage – internet was insanely expensive back then.
Today the smartphone is the standard rather than the stand out. And with learning happening anytime and anywhere, there are quite a few custom apps targeted at individuals who work remotely, travel extensively, are frequently offline, or have rather particular “on the go” business requirements.
Apps are especially attractive in terms of LMS because L&D specialists can keep track of activity, engagement and pain points.
Interactive videos are on demand
We live in a highly visual time. Streaming platforms are as popular as search engines and video content gets millions of views and follows. Learning designers know about the captivating power of film so they have been incorporating it into the instructional content for quite some time.
The next step, however, is to turn the viewers into active participants who can literally alter the cinematic experience. There are several ways of achieving this. Video learning experience can become more interactive if:
- written transcripts are incorporated,
- questions and quizzes embedded in the material and
- social media comments allowed and encouraged – a favorite of the younger generation.
The ability to share the experience with peers is also something people like to do if we are to look at the number of watch parties on social media. And if everything happens within the company LMS, where L&D professionals can manage settings and monitor everything, even better.
The certification training industry is (once more) gaining terrain
For a while it seemed like modern learners did everything to question the status quo and turned away from traditional educational institutions. Then these ‘old schools’ got on board with the internet revolution and adapted their ways to the needs and preferences of the digital tribe.
Great universities began to offer their courses and recognize those who completed them and took some exams. Training companies started their own accredited programs at the end of which participants would get a certificate.
The time of framing paper diplomas may be over but the era of being searched by employers online is here and more and more professionals seek to get as much (and as diverse) on their CVs as possible.
As a result, LMS platforms have moved into this certification area. They are either offering this type of recognition within the platforms or making available courses that work as preparation for various certification exams.
Keeping an eye on the future
Obviously, trends will change and business learning management systems will become even more flexible and inclusive because that’s the key to saying on the market. Your organization may not need all of the features I have talked about in this article at the present time. Innovation is, however, unavoidable and if your LMS is five years or older, or it seldom adds new features, it’s time to consider other options.
Raluca Cristescu is a Faculty of Letters graduate with over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.