LMS forecasts and trends for 2019 and beyond from industry leader, Craig Weiss.

Who would have guessed that VR would be on wobbly ground in the corporate learning space for the majority of verticals? Who would have thought that too many folks still think xAPI is open for debate, but CMI-5 seems to make sense?  Who would have seen that Amazon is working on a commercial LMS, which based on the background of the person running Learning Products, doesn’t really point towards an LMS like you know the term actually means (I’ll get to that shortly)?  Who would have known that press agencies still have no idea on what an LMS is compared to say a content aggregator selling courses for B2C?  (and BTW for the last time, Google Classroom is not an LMS). 

Five Forecasts you can put in the bank, or under your mattress or…

F1 – Amazon comes to play 

The monsters of the marketplace are coming. I do not know if it will be by the end of 2018 or by Q2 of 2019, but when they launch, besides the big whoopla that comes with it, they will do damage.   Even if the product is crummy, they will do damage – the name carries.  Based on some exploration, it is clear to me they have a couple of routes to go in terms of the system.  CNBC reported back in March they were working on a commercial LMS, but for folks who are unaware of the term learning systems, and unaware that the biggest segment are LMSs, but that there are other types of learning systems, including segment Learning Engagement Platforms (#2 in size), would assume an LMS is LMS.  

I’m not seeing that.   I base it on a couple of observations notably that the person who runs learning products for Amazon comes from a learning system that is a content curator.  Next up, we have those folks in Prime which is a huge revenue maker for Amazon.  Then we have LMS vendors adding LEP functionality, LEP vendors adding LMS functionality (a mistake IMO) and LEP vendors doing more with what they have (right approach).  

F2 – Learning Resources, Learning Resources, Learning Resources

Expect to learning resources – with the amount always announced as extensive or some big number – to become part of the content marketplace of LMS providers and more LEPs.   

F3 –  CMI-5 

Its biggest holdback is consumer knowledge and acceptance.  Not to mention that authoring tool providers haven’t exactly been adding it, let alone publishing info about it.  Yet, on the other hand LMS providers are already in the process of adding it.  Not the majority mind you, but enough to see a trend – that they realize this is of value.  The irony if you will, is that xAPI, a supposedly savior for mobile, still does not have mass adoption and yet, CMI-5 – at least from my talks with vendors – is in the works for many.

F4 –  Skill Ratings, Skill Building – KPIs – It’s the Rage

Expect to see systems focused only on skill building to hit the market. Toss in an increase in LMS vendors pushing skill building, skill development, the usage of skills for content of interest and topics, skill ratings tied into performance in some form, or even to help you land a better gig at your own company (when you apply for one) to be in play.  KPIs will finally land its due on the employee side of the house – especially with heat maps for the administration side or similar ilk.  Skill ratings which can be assessed, by well, assessment and various touch points will rumble in too.  

F5 –  Machine Learning continues to explode

The term I have been using for years is deep learning, but because consumers are more aware of the term, machine learning, I’m replacing my deep learning for machine learning.  Anyway, it will continue to be hot.  Funny though, of the eight or nine functions I list under machine learning in my template, not everyone hits the entire thing.  The key to all this is the algorithm, is it being open, for the admin to change weights. points, not have to have the course be completed, is the key.  Closed algorithms, Degreed uses one for example, skews the data, and goes against learner-centric model and approach.  

Forecasts That 

Knowledge Reinforcement Tools – Expect to see an increase in them in 2019.  Mobile driven they are, as in your mobile device.  Includes folks picking topics of interest, using a learner-centric model.  Repetition for refresher training is the key, but it must be setup – thus the admin must have the option – in variance, and not a day to day, mastery regurgitation approach. 

Systems targeting only customer education aka customer training.  That is their only market. Not employee.   And for vendors that to do that – YES!  It is biggest under-utilized market in the industry and has been for years.  An important piece is the pricing model.  

Systems targeting only employees.  They are already out there, but what you should look for and will see are systems who pitch both employee and B2B/B2C, yet when you take a deeper dive will see more on the employee angle instead.   This should tell you quickly – they are more oriented and thus more focused on that employee (i.e. internal) client.