Research reveals key learning technology issues and trends
By Gordon Johnson, VP Marketing, Expertus
Learning Starts With Listening
If you’re familiar with this blog, you know it doesn’t exist simply to broadcast our vision of enterprise learning technology. Instead, we spend most of our time listening to L&D professionals, reflecting on key issues, and exchanging ideas about what matters most to you.
Why? This ongoing conversation reflects our learner-centered design philosophy. And frankly, it’s just plain common sense. If we don’t keep our fingers on the pulse of today’s business learning environment, how can we develop technology solutions that effectively address core needs?
Surveys: Capturing The Moment
Periodically during the past decade, we’ve formalized your feedback in survey reports. We share results freely, so you can see how needs, opinions and solutions are evolving in a broader context. We hope the surveys are a helpful reality check, as you plan and manage your organization’s learning infrastructure.
Why am I looking back briefly at industry research we’ve initiated? Because this month we’re opening a new chapter, as we release our 2013 “Future State of the LMS” survey report.
Earlier this year we reached out across the corporate learning community, asking for your opinions about existing LMS technologies, and your expectations about next-generation needs. The response was overwhelming — 358 participants — most of whom are L&D executives, managers or administrators whose LMS platforms serve more than 10,000 learners.
After analyzing all the input, we can reveal a reliable snapshot of how corporate learning platforms are being used in enterprise-class business environments today. We can also share a glimpse at future priorities.
LMS Scorecard: The Expected And The Unexpected
Some findings didn’t surprise us. For example, although learning platforms have continued to evolve since our last full-scale LMS survey in 2010, we expected many respondents would still be somewhat dissatisfied with their current platform.
However, we were surprised that LMS dissatisfaction actually seems to have increased over time. In 2010, 45% of survey participants graded their system C, D or F. However, this year, 60% of participants said they consider their LMS “somewhat” or “very” ineffective at addressing advanced needs. 60% actually plan to replace their systems.
What could be causing this apparent growth in dissatisfaction? Given today’s preoccupation with buzzwords like big data, social business and workforce mobility, perhaps market expectations have become more unrealistic. Or perhaps vendors tend to under-deliver on increasingly inflated promises. Or perhaps both are working at cross purposes. Regardless, this finding should be a wake-up call to LMS vendors who care about building a loyal, satisfied customer base.
Key Challenges: Some Terms Are Familiar, Yet Different
We also weren’t surprised to see strong demand for better LMS reporting and systems integration capabilities. These “wish list” items still rank as top priorities, despite technology advancements on both fronts. Actually, they have appeared at the top of key LMS challenges since the start of our surveys in 2006.
What is driving this response? The underlying data suggests that, while the terms may be the same, the intention may be shifting. Almost a decade ago, learning organizations struggled just to provide basic standardized reports, and LMS integration with HR and ERP systems.
Since then, the bar has been raised. Advanced LMS platforms like ExpertusONE have dramatically reduced the cost and complexity associated with legacy systems reporting and integration.
Now learning organizations want to empower business managers with relevant intelligence — available on-demand — so they can make better, faster decisions. In other words, today’s need for integration and reporting seems focused on the desire to achieve true next-generation flexibility and responsiveness.
The Push-Pull Dance of Enterprise LMS Progress
I could interpret more of these survey findings, but perhaps it’s best to let you draw your own conclusions.
Certainly, learning is shaped by the tools we use. But, in turn, those tools are shaped by the learning goals and aspirations of our time. At its best, LMS innovation should flow from this natural symbiotic push-pull relationship. That’s why we develop these “State Of The LMS” surveys for the benefit of all.
Thanks to the hundreds of learning leaders and administrators who generously gave time to help us peek into the way that corporate learning platforms are applied today. We hope your organizations can use this information to inform future decisions.
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