Learning Management Systems (LMS) are used by universities, colleges, and schools to offer e-learning courses in addition to their conventional courses on campus. Companies also utilize this type of software to offer online education and training to their employees. For these reasons, the LMS market is expected to boom to more than $7 billion by the year 2018 and the global e-learning market is expected to rake in revenue of about $31 billion by 2020. You can select a suitable LMS for your needs by reading the expert reviews in a reputable directory’s list of SaaS software. LMSs have evolved and changed over the years and in this article I provide you with details about the latest trends in this industry that you should be aware of.
The previous SCORM format has made way for Tin Can API, and leading LMSs are incorporating this change. Tin Can API offers many advantages compared to SCORM. While both formats enable you track time used up on assignments as well as test completion, Tin Can API goes a step further and gives you the chance to see detailed results, utilize your content and learning materials outside the LMS, and move seamlessly between different LMSs. For these reasons, Tin Can API has become popular among educators and content authors.
Open Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Systems
Cloud-based SaaS products allow easy setup and use of LMSs and they can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. But they have the drawback of minimal customization. In comparison, open source products are easy to customize, but their drawbacks are frequent downtime and administration. Open SaaS platforms are the answer as they incorporate the best traits of both systems and provide easy customization as well as minimized setup expenses. As a result, open SaaS systems are becoming popular as they reduce ownership costs and offer service delivery for the unique requirements of companies.
Gamification uses gaming mechanics and elements to add a fun element to education and LMSs. It improves learning speed and retention among students. As a result, gamification has become a popular trend in the learning industry. Top LMSs are increasingly incorporating gamification and improving their portal design and interface as well. Gamification increases engagement, allows learners to employ strategies such as time management, and make use of incentive and reward systems. As a result, the education process becomes entertaining, and the learning potential is improved through incentivized behaviors and processes.
Social networks have become popular because they enable people to schedule stuff and share information with their contacts. Millions of people have formed online social circles and keep themselves informed on what their friends and contacts are up to, and share intimate details with them. Now, the education and learning industry is making use of social networks too. LMSs use them to provide access to learning materials to learners and enable them to collaborate and share content and knowledge in their social circles. Going further, we can expect LMSs to deliver adaptive and personalized talent management and training solutions to learners through social networks. Leading LMSs will start using knowledge collaboration and social learning tools such as Twitter, blog, communities, discussion forums and more.
This is another growing trend in the learning industry. Companies are using blended learning to provide in-depth training to their employees. LMSs are integrating practical and digital learning tools and supplementary materials to augment classroom learning. Plus, users get hands-on experience. Thus, blended learning helps LMSs to provide more effective learning to both corporate employees as well as students. Another advantage is you can use a single website to schedule exams and tests, and organize and monitor them. Plus, it reduces the overall expenses of training. Because of these numerous benefits, I’m sure we’ll see more of blending learning in LMSs in the future.
Increased Corporate Use
Companies have been using LMSs to train their employees and this trend is expected to pick up pace in the future as they realize that there are many benefits to investing in the personal development and education of their staff members. LMSs have proved to be a big help in management as well as customer engagement. Besides, training employees can boost morale and minimize turnover. Plus, business partners and customers can utilize the information dissemination and tracking features in LMS. Companies can use a good quality LMS to devise their customer service website and e-commerce strategies.
A Cisco report has predicted that video content will make up 80% of the global internet traffic by the year 2019. Users are expected to upload and share about a million minutes of video content each second. This trend is not surprising as videos have become a popular medium to tell stories, provide information, and captivate viewers. LMSs have capitalized on this trend and are including videos in their courses and blended learning plans. In addition to documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc., LMSs are supporting both uploaded and streamed videos.
Interactive E-learning Conversations
Unidirectional training is not that effective for knowledge retention and learning. As user preferences and behavior are continuously evolving, it is important to include interactive learning methods. You can do this by getting learner feedback to understand their needs. For this purpose, LMSs are offering surveys and polls to collect learners’ ideas, suggestions, opinions, and inputs based on which educators and companies can developed learning and development plans and strategies.
I believe there’ll be increased use of business intelligence (BI) elements in LMSs. BI helps to extract actionable insights from the large volumes of learning management information and data compiled by universities and corporations. They can use the data insights to improve processes and devise more effective learning and development strategies. This is likely to improve the reporting functionality of LMSs giving you the ability to quickly generate standard reports, apply needed filters, export reports to different formats, and view important reports as graphs and charts. This actionable insight will help educators and corporations to make smart learning and business decisions.
Use of APIs for Integration with Third Party Applications
APIs are used by companies to integrate the different best-of-breed business systems that they use. LMSs are following this trend and are offering API connectors to help enterprises seamlessly integrate the learning management system with third-party apps for data sharing and to easily manage different functions. This integration automates processes and workflows, and enables flow of information between different applications. All you need is a little technical assistance to use the APIs offered by your LMS to boost your organization’s efficiency and productivity.
In today’s digital age, the human attention is declining year by year. Therefore, LMSs are delivering content in the form of small information nuggets rather than large volumes of data. This method fits aptly with learners’ attention spans and needs. LMSs are using blending learning to help companies upload and deliver small-sized content that can be combined with conventional training methods such as virtual classroom, ILT, etc. for holistic learning.
I hope this article has adequately apprised you on the key trends happening and expected to take place in the LMS industry. If you know any other trends or are using your LMS in an innovative manner to train learners, feel free to share the details with us.