Improvements in technology, continuous research on how we learn most effectively and new ways to apply eLearning are all creating a constant renewal of the way digital learning is carried out.

In order to survive, Learning Management Systems must be adaptable to these changes. An LMS that can deliver personalised, interactive learning with flexible functionality can outstrip older models that are high-cost, clunky and restrictive.

What is a Learning Management System? Read here.

Are Learning Management Systems still relevant?

Concerns that Learning Management Systems as a whole are on the way out are easily found online, and this could be true for the more traditional forms of LMS.

For many, the term LMS conjures up the idea of the restrictive and unreliable platforms that are often used in schools and offices. Some LMS platforms have very limited capability, or function essentially to keep a record of what learning content has been sent out and ticked off rather than to enable and encourage real learning.

The term LMS conjures up the idea of restrictive and unreliable platforms

The uses of Learning Management Systems also have dull associations, like compliance tick-box exercises for internal health and safety. Despite the importance of this, organisations can be tempted to cross their fingers and ignore these rather than squaring up to implementing a learning solution.

However, while this older understanding of an LMS might be behind the times, other kinds of Learning Management Systems are evolving to answer all kinds of training needs in effective and inventive ways.

The Learning Management System market is growing…

According to a Market Prognosis survey published recently, the global market for corporate Learning Management Systems is predicted to rise to USD $10.62 billion by 2025, from a value of $1.54 billion in 2017.

Governments are increasingly assigning money to digital training initiatives

Governments are increasingly assigning money to digital training initiatives, especially those in the education sector which accompany formal teaching. External training companies utilise LMS tools as a key part of their product, and Learning Management Systems are becoming the preferred vehicle for staff training within organisations.

Read more here for the benefits of Learning Management Systems.

…but it is changing

New platforms that can answer more to the current customer demands are challenging established Learning Management Systems. Blackboard Learn, one of the world’s leading Learning Management Systems providers, has recently been shaken as the top Learning Management System for higher education establishments in the U.S. by its newer, cloud-based competitor Canvas, closely followed by Moodle and Brightspace. According to Canvas, its appeal for education establishments lies in its reliability, customisation capacity and social functionality.

New platforms are challenging established Learning Management Systems

A growing area of Learning Management Systems for corporations is Extended Enterprise training: online training for the external partners of an organisation on their mission and brand image. This helps organisations reinforce their brand and build a stronger relationship with their external partners.

Learning Management Systems now

Technological developments in the LMS industry are opening up new possibilities for what digital learning can achieve.

LMS customers now recognise the benefits to including informal learning elements in their training, such as community forums to discuss questions with fellow students.

A more personalised experience is a major goal in LMS development

A more personalised experience is also a major goal in LMS development. With the right LMS now, users can tailor their learning experience to their own personal learning style and needs. A new technical standard called Experience API or xAPI has the capability to take this up to a more sophisticated level by capturing meaningful user data from all kinds of sources.

Experience API

Traditional digital learning is built on a standard specification called SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) which publishes, launches and tracks eLearning. SCORM has significant limitations in the current market, being inflexible in its functionality and difficult to apply to mobile learning.

Experience API (xAPI) or Tin Can API was developed by Rustici Software in 2013 and this new standard is predicted to replace SCORM in the near future. The technology allows a wider range of functionality to the Learning Management Systems built around it, incorporating informal learning elements such as social features as well as formal lessons and tests. The most important innovation of xAPI is its capacity to capture almost any kind of data about a user, giving the organisation behind the LMS a sophisticated level of information to link their learning strategy to their overall business goals, and allowing the system to adapt to a form that better fit the needs of the users.

xAPI can capture almost any kind of data about a user

Plume’s LMS solutions are built on LearnDash and WordPress technology, which is built to integrate effectively with xAPI.

Keeping up

With the world of Learning Management Systems changing so rapidly, how can we know how to approach them in the present? As ever, if you are thinking about getting an LMS solution for your organisation the first priority should be to assess your specific training goals and look for the LMS that best fits your learning content, user base and budget.

This said, it’s also a very good idea to take the direction in which Learning Management Systems are going into account. Choosing a LMS that is flexible, functionality-rich and compatible with xAPI technology is a good step in ‘future-proofing’ your online training strategy and staying up to date with innovations with minimal effort.