Learning Management System Trends for 2016 and Beyond
Learning management systems have come a very long way in a short time. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that they didn’t exist at all. Today, they’ve grown to offer powerful management tools, unique interfaces for both L&D teams and learners, and much more. Where are they going in the future, though? The industry is expected to hit $7.83 billion by the year 2018 and, you might find some interesting trends on the horizon.
Lots of Jumping Ship
For all the different learning management systems out there, loyalty in the user base isn’t high. For instance, 31% of current LMS users would not recommend their system to someone else. Only 20% of users are likely to re-up with their current provider. What does this mean for the eLearning industry? Simply put, it means there will lots of shifts as organizations and businesses search for a solution that fits their needs better than their current LMS.
The learning management system you choose is an enormous investment of both time and money. However, until recently, few LMS providers have offered any way to take their system for a test drive. You had to do your research, compare options on paper, and then make your choice. That’s changing, though. Look for more and more LMS developers to offer free trials of their solution. This will allow users to make much more accurate comparisons and arrive at decisions with which they’re much happier (and may also help to dampen some of the churn that’s marked the segment so far).
Once upon a time, there were only two types of LMS in use. There were systems designed for corporate use, and those designed for academic needs. In 2016, that has changed. Today, there are actually four different types – the aforementioned corporate and academic systems are still present, but they’ve been augmented by the development of continuing education and association learning management systems. In the future, look for these four types to continue evolving, offering more and more separate functionality tailored to the fields they support.
Changing Usage Needs and Interface Designs
Two factors underscoring the churn noted earlier are an outdated appearance and an LMS that is difficult to use. As more and more companies bring their solutions to the table, competition demands that each LMS has a more updated appearance and is easier to use. Look for this trend to get stronger in 2016 and in following years. The older the system is, and the less functionality it offers (combined with less than ideal ease of use), the more likely an organization is to drop it.
The Rise of Gamification
Look for more and more learning management systems to support gamification as the importance of this teaching and training method increases. Gamification can be used for everything from increasing focus and engagement to fostering better employee retention (in terms of time at the employer). Combine that with the benefits of incentivized behavior and you have a powerful solution to the needs faced by modern businesses, as well as academic institutions and other organizations.
Social media has changed everything from how marketers present their products to how we communicate with friends and family. Look for LMSs to mirror this evolution with the inclusion of social tools. You should also expect to see a significant amount of customization and individualization with newer LMS generations as they come to market in the next few years.
There you have some of the most important trends to understand concerning learning management systems in 2016 and the future. It’s an exciting time, and there’s a lot to be enjoyed by businesses and organizations.