2017 Preview: 11 Learning Management System Technology Trends By The Industry's Top Analysts

2017 Preview: 11 Learning Management System Technology Trends By The Industry's Top Analysts
Summary: A comprehensive preview of the most interesting advancements in Learning Management System technology for 2017 as designated by our industry’s top analysts.

Learning Management System Technology Trends For 2017 By The Industry's Top Analysts

As with most technology companies, innovation is our lifeblood. It’s what gets us up in the morning, what drives our product’s evolution (revolution!) and, most importantly, what continues to grow our customers’ success. Of course, we have an incredible team of innovators directing our Learning Management System’s roadmap. However, we also rely heavily on customer feedback and analyst research to stay ahead of Learning Management System technology trends.

Here’s our preview for what we think will be the most interesting learning tech advancements in 2017 as designated by our industry’s top analysts.

Learning Tech Advancements: The Dominating Learning Management System Trends

Let’s start with the learning market in general…

1. All Hail The Cloud LMS

They’re no longer up and coming; SaaS and Cloud computing Learning Management Systems are now the dominant technology. A recent Deloitte study explains:

SaaS addresses the issues of customization and integration with which so many organizations have struggled. SaaS and specifically cloud are now the dominant delivery model in LMS today.

2. Learning Budgets Are On The Upswing

Analysts agree that organizations of all sizes will begin or continue to increase their training budgets due to:

  • A broader scope of training programs.
  • Additional training staff.
  • More learners.
  • New technologies.
  • Workforce re-skilling.

(Source: 2016 Training Industry Report, Training Magazine)

The Brandon Hall Group reports that learning leaders will tie budgets to company growth goals and collaborate more frequently with C-level executives to keep learning strategies in line with new business objectives. As for trending Learning and Development department goals, they predict these top priorities:

  1. Improved productivity and performance.
  2. Converting knowledge into business outcomes.
  3. Employee education and growth.

An interesting finding is that the “most coveted” job benefit for millennials is training and development. (Source: KPCB Internet Trends 2016)

And now onto learning technology…

3. Same Legacy LMS Woes - User And Admin Experience

A 2016 Brandon Hall Group survey cites that almost half of the companies surveyed are thinking about replacing their Learning Management System to:

  • Improve the user experience (87%).
  • Improve the admin experience (74%).

eLearning guru, Craig Weiss, agrees:

(There’s a need for) re-design on the back-end for administrators. No longer…where the administrator has to use a help guide to figure out the navigation, nor too much stuff and no way to utilize it. I expect to see the ‘favorites’–where the administrator picks capabilities or specific features they use over and over again. Saves time. Also, look for more ‘drag and drop’ functionality. Drag and drop can (also) be extremely beneficial to learners.

Connie, Malamed of the Learning Professionals, suggests that we ask ourselves a different question this year: What do people want from their learning experiences?

Efficiency and speed. Relevance. Usability. These may be the trends of the coming year because forward-thinking organizations and vendors want to satisfy the needs of a busy and rapidly changing workplace. Borrowing the best features embedded in popular products and services might be the smartest way to (go).

4. The Rise Of Adaptive Learning

The demand for a better LMS UX has spurred the rise of “adaptive learning”. Here’s how the analysts weigh in.

“Creating intelligent systems that learn, adapt and potentially act autonomously rather than simply execute predefined instructions is the primary battleground for technology vendors through at least 2020.Kasey Panetta, Gartner

Adaptive learning is about personalizing the learning experience. By using adaptive learning techniques, we can reduce the time it takes learners to become proficient, eliminatinLg the need to cover content they already understand. This improves the effectiveness of our programs because the learner only focuses on what is absolutely needed. The future success of adaptive learning is not only in the design of the technology, but in the design of content. Content must be shortened and modified into learning objects, so it can be consumed based only on what the learner needs.” ─ Doug Harward, TrainingIndustry.com

Adaptive learning is the process of automatically recommending content to users based on user profile data, stated interests, content they like/dislike/comment on, data on their calendar and mandatory learning─usually displayed via a personalized ‘wall’. The content can be formal learning like micro-videos or informal content like posts, articles, blogs and research papers. The idea that practical, real-life, non-human curated content can be driven dynamically to learners during their daily work day, in consumable quantities (not overload, not useless) to improve performance, is admirable. Look for improvement in 2017.John Leh, Talented Learning

5. Also Trending - Microlearning And P2P

Gen X has changed the way we live our lives and how we learn. mLearning is just one way learning technology is adapting.

Today, driven by mobile smartphones, bandwidth, social networking and cameras everywhere, we learn through video, content sharing and recommendations. The modern learning world is filled with expert-authored videos, expert blogs, tweets, webcasts and an ever-expanding marketplace of external and internal content. (To keep pace,) the LMS must become a true ‘learning system’. (Also,) content must now be shorter and more relevant; ‘micro-learning’ is the new buzzword.Josh Bersin

Microlearning hits ‘all the rage’ (in 2017). Vendors are going to push this capability. People will create 90 to 120-second videos as their courses. (There’s also) P2P–peer to peer. As in, learners share content, images, video, audio, documents and so forth. While the content angle exists now, it doesn’t go full blown, including say course materials or courses. The latter ‘courses’, is a late capability in 2017, but the others are there. The administrator decides whether to allow all of it, some of it, etc.─ Craig Weiss, E-Learning 24/7

Same Players, New Advances

The rest of the 2017 Learning Management System technology trends covered by analysts pertain to new advancements within existing technology. Here are a few highlights.

6. Analytics

(There will be a shift from) marketing courseware for the purpose of increasing the consumption of content (to) using analytical data and intelligence about the learner’s needs to better target content directly to the learner who needs it. Training organizations can then develop, promote and implement learning initiatives based on a profound understanding of learners’ needs and can help brand themselves and engage their learners more effectively.” Doug Harward

7. xAPI

The rise of xAPI presents the opportunity to measure what matters—real and meaningful outcomes. We need to keep the artistry in L&D, and continue to develop a human-centered approach to design. But new xAPI-driven data points will allow us to work more like scientists who hypothesize, test, measure and continually develop improvements.Arun Pradhan, Learn2LearnApp.com

As course and content development platforms adopt the specification, as learning record stores come online and as LMS providers offer LRS support, xAPI will emerge into what I call a ‘geek-free zone’ in much the same way (as) SCORM. Instructional designers now have tools by which they can create and track the learning experience at far greater depth than ever before.” ─ Megan Torrance, TorranceLearning

8. Gamification

In the last 3 years, gamification has gone from zero to everywhere. The most innovative vendors are rolling out advanced gamification feature sets for 2017, including contests, rewards and interrelation between content games and overarching LMS gamification.”  John Leh

Once again this year, I’ve seen increased interest in gamification and games for learning. (The difference is) a shift from the question ‘What is gamification?’ to ‘How can I implement gamification effectively?’.” Karl Kapp, Gamification Analyst

9. Integration

The modern LMS is not an isolated point solution. Instead, it is an integral part of a broader business technology ecosystem. This means that instead of an LMS vendor recreating a custom integration time and time again, and charging each new customer for that solution, vendors (will) provide a simpler integration that can just be switched ‘on or off’.” ─ John Leh

10. Mobile

47% of organizations are now using mobile devices for their online training needs and that number is sure to grow.” (Source: Towards Maturity, “Mobile Learning at Work”)

Many LMSs are now offering geo-location features, which give you the chance to deliver relevant online training to your global audience. The LMS automatically detects the learner's location and then delivers the appropriate mobile learning course or online training materials.” ─ Christopher Pappas, eLearning Industry

Mobile first must push microlearning and micro-video.Craig Weiss

11. Extended Enterprise

Extended enterprise requirements are driving the learning technology market. In 2017, extended enterprise learning will continue to gain momentum as a tool to achieve competitive advantage and deliver measurable financial business impact.John Leh

All in all, it’s an exciting time in learning technology. Here’s to leveraging the new advancements and trends listed in this article towards a productive and profitable 2017!