Over the past 12 months there have been lots of posts written by eLearning thought leaders declaring the LMS to be dead in favor of more social and collaborative learning options. While I understand and applaud the reasoning - nurturing informal learning - there are still too many core uses for the LMS which are yet to be solved using a different system.
I may be biased because I work in the LMS industry and know that our growth figures continue to rise as do the number of visitors to our site (thankfully). But more likely it's because I know the exact type of pain that our LMS most widely treats and I don't see a better remedy in sight.
There’s a faulty perception that once you've seen one LMS, you've seen them all. But it’s not possible to lump the light and agile, web-based LMS in with its behemoth, installed, full-featured cousin. These products are worlds apart, especially in their application, and I believe it's the latter who will feel the squeeze in the time to come.
I wholeheartedly agree with those who advocate for a more social, collaborative and interactive approach to encourage real learning and retention, but this perspective still only represents the bleeding edge of our industry. For example, nothing changes the fact that there are still legally required, compliance courses that employees and professionals around the world must complete before they can simply get on with their job. Regulatory Compliance has only tightened over time and it will continue that way: just look at the F&B industry, sexual harassment law, HIPAA or OSHA.
These courses are the 'no-frills' variety that must come at a low cost to the organization who needs to have their 1000+ employees compliant immediately. This is where the feature-light LMS offered at a realistic price point excels. The process is simple: 1) Purchase off-the-shelf content; 2) Upload to an LMS; 3) Deliver to learners; and 4) Track completion. No bells and whistles needed and your workforce is ready to go.
I love discussing social learning, collaboration tools, ARGs, and the future of learning - I personally want to see the LMS become more integrated and invisible. But each tool fits a specific purpose, as does the light LMS, and I see a solid role for all of these in our learning future.
With a BA in Language teaching and Anthropology, Nicole Fougere is Litmos' multi-lingual (Spanish and Bahasa Indonesia) Community Manager and point of contact for anything online training related. With many years of customer service, training and management experience, she is also the Litmos "Blogger Extraodinaire". Follow her on Twitter: @Schnicker.