The Return of the LMS…

Why Your Learning Platform Matters “Now More Than Ever”

By Caleb Johnson, Director of Strategic Accounts, Expertus

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away….” So goes the opening text crawl of the classic film, Star Wars.

Caleb Johnson, Director of Strategic Accounts, Expertus

Caleb Johnson,
Director of Strategic Accounts,

Well it wasn’t that long ago or that far away – but in 2009, Dan Pontefract, one of the learning sphere’s smartest contributors, declared that “The Standalone LMS is Dead.” And the community took notice.

Someone had to speak up. It was already on the minds of many who had struggled for years to integrate legacy systems into corporate work environments. Frustration was at an all-time high – even in our organization, where we’ve specialized in implementing, customizing and managing LMS platforms since their early days in the 1990s.

Yet, this statement sparked a firestorm of industry debate – apparently because some people overlooked the adjective “standalone” before “LMS.” In 2010, Dan clarified his thinking further in a follow-up post “The Standalone LMS is Still Dead…

“The LMS of today, for many organizations…is a relic from yesterday. If we can turn the existing LMS into a learning, content and collaboration ecosystem…we therefore no longer have a standalone LMS. We have an ecosystem made up of formal, informal and social learning components in addition to having a seamless, federated workflow for the employee.”

Fast-forward to today – and welcome to the era of the next-generation LMS.

It’s a time when learning functionality no longer must be held captive in isolated “training delivery” vending machines. Instead, it’s designed around the skills development, performance support and knowledge-sharing needs of today’s connected, global workforce. It’s built inherently to fit into networked environments, adapt easily to fluid requirements, and respond rapidly to fluctuations in demand. But we’re not the only ones who see the LMS through new eyes.

Continuous learning platform structureIf last week’s HR Technology Conference is any indicator – many other learning technology vendors and their customers now share this perspective. After all, innovation has been brisk, and numbers don’t lie.

As industry analyst, Josh Bersin, revealed in his LMS market update, companies invested $1.9 billion in training technology systems in the past year. That’s an annual growth rate of more than 14%, even in the face of a global recession. And the brightest spots in the LMS technology space are platforms designed and developed specifically to drive “continuous learning” by integrating formal, informal, social and collaborative skills development and performance support. As Bersin puts it:

“Now, more than ever, is the time to rethink your learning technology strategy and put in place a long term solution which makes your company a continuous learning organization.”

The concept of continuous learning isn’t new to Expertus. Actually, it’s the heart of the ExpertusONE cloud LMS.

In fact, it was Bersin analyst, David Mallon, who highlighted an early version of our ExpertusONE dynamic LMS when he declared that the market was shifting to continuous learning. (Download the full research bulletin “ExpertusONE and the Dawn of the Continuous Learning Management System.“)

In Mallon’s words, “Establishing distinctions between learning that is formal or informal, structured or unstructured, prescribed or self-directed, or even social or solitary…are of little consequence….For learners, learning is, in fact, continuous…”

No matter what terms the industry ultimately embraces to describe this brave new approach to enterprise learning, we’re excited to be at the forefront of innovation that is rapidly turning the “old school” technology model on its head.

Meanwhile, we recognize that many enterprise organizations still grapple with decisions about how to move gracefully from a legacy environment to a continuous learning approach. Even if you’re not yet ready for an entirely new LMS, viable options are available. For ideas on how to make the most of your infrastructure, read our CLO Magazine article: “What to Do With a Broken LMS.”

Also, if you’d like to discuss your particular needs with learning technology experts, contact us anytime to. We’re happy to offer advice.

Note from Caleb: To learn how your organization can benefit today from continuous learning with next-generations ExpertusONE cloud LMS, visit our website or feel free to contact us for a personalized demo.

Photo credit: Katrinka Kober

6 thoughts on “The Return of the LMS…

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