12 Trends To Watch
Richard Wyles, Totara
12 LMS Trends To Watch In 2015
1. Extended enterprise learning
2. More open source solutions
3. Cloud based solutions
4. Social learning
5. Personalised learning
6. Blended learning
7. Performance support
8. Proving value
9. MOOCs for business
1. Extended Enterprise Learning
Learning is no longer just for your employees. Learning is
increasingly for resellers, partners and customers as part of the
whole value chain.
The LMS needs to be able to segregate and target audiences
so that different content and programs can be made available to
In 2015, make sure that your LMS can reach your whole
audience cost effectively.
2. Open Source
Open source delivers software freedom. Freedom to innovate,
integrate and extend. Freedom to choose your provider.
Freedom to adapt.
This flexibility and adaptability adds value by strongly aligning
the LMS to the business specific needs.
Organisations need to adapt to stay ahead. Therefore, having
the freedom to adapt is critical.
3. Cloud Based Solutions (Open SaaS)
SaaS (software-as-a-service) can deliver reductions in set-up
costs, speed of deployment and less reliance on internal teams
to support platforms. The drawback is a loss of flexibility due to
standardised features and potentially higher switching costs.
OpenSaaS, open source software available as SaaS, gives you
the same speed of deployment, support and lower up front cost
benefits. However, it also provides the option to take your SaaS
instance with you to another supplier or in-house. You can
migrate and leverage the freedom, and control over your IT
future that open source offers. Look out for an emergent trend
towards OpenSaaS in 2015.
4. Social Learning
Get Social: There has been a dramatic growth in social learning
as learners have become more familiar with social networks,
and organisations have opened up access.
Businesses need to provide support for informal and social
learning; and to facilitate sharing and communication.
In 2015, look for an LMS platforms that can support all the main
forms of social learning such as collaboration, networking and
Getting more personal: Personalisation and adaptive learning,
continues to a key trend. Learners expect an experience aligned
to their needs, style, level, location and role, and takes into
account prior learning.
An impersonalised learning experience is also a waste of
company time, if learners spend time on learning that is not
directly relevant to their role.
In 2015 an LMS should help you personalise through a
diagnostic, role selector, and other tools to ensure a targeted
6. Blended Learning
Blended learning isn’t new but it’s still an untapped opportunity
for many businesses. For example, the recent Towards Maturity
Benchmarking report noted that only 49% of L&D professionals
consider themselves skilled in blended learning.
The most effective learning programs are blended programs that
integrate various learning interventions such as classroom
sessions, webinars, self-study, coaching, assessments, and
In 2015 a good LMS should help you structure your blended
7. Performance Support
It is increasingly impractical for learners to acquire large volumes
of knowledge on a just-in-case basis.
As the CG Kineo Insights Report says “People have common
sense and have the skills to look things up. They don’t need to
know every single detail – in fact we should question what it is
they really do need to ‘know’ and what ‘skills’ they need to do
In 2015 your LMS should also be an on-demand resource. It
should be easy to search, accessible everywhere, and anticipate
the needs of learners.
8. Proving Value
One of the key trends we saw in 2014 was the focus on proving
“More than ever business leaders expect a straight line between
our efforts as learning professionals and tangible commercial
Learning departments have to demonstrate they are making a
positive impact on the business. This includes assessments that
that go beyond knowledge acquisition and show performance
improvement. LMS reporting should provide evidence for
stakeholders and regulators.
9. MOOCs for Business
In 2014 we saw the creation of massive, open, online courses by
corporate businesses. These courses provide a new way to
engage with potential customers and partners. M&S for example
are piloting a MOOC on creativity with Leeds University.
In 2015 LMS solutions need to support MOOC delivery. This
means a video platform, a way to upload and grade
assessments, webinar integration, enrolment and completion
mechanics. It also means scalability for large user volumes and
not charging per user.
There has been a lot of hype about gamification, however, we
are seeing game based elements being introduced into
The purpose of the game should be to go beyond eliciting
behaviour and move into tracking that behaviour to evidence the
change that’s taken place. This is where the LMS can help to
Game based elements include quizzes and leaderboards that tie
into completion and activity within the LMS. Nikon and .
McDonald’s have both used gaming to great effect.
11. Open Badges
Open Badges are challenging the primary and dominant
currency of universities and awarding bodies as the only way to
be accredited for competency.
Open Badges provide a technically smart, web savvy, open
access framework whereby any organization can offer tangible
recognition to learners who demonstrate achievement in a given
competency whether that be a soft or hard skill.
In 2015 an LMS needs to fully support Open Badges.
12. API Integration
The old fashioned approach was to procure one single monolith
system that tried to everything. The new approach is API
integrations which allow systems to share data and provide
integrated services, in the same way that you can embed a
Twitter feed on any website.
For example, there are plugins for Totara which integrate with
Salesforce and allow a Salesforce administrator to enrol
customers directly onto courses with Totara.
In 2015, are you open to connecting your LMS to the rest of your
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