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The Evolution of eLearning: New Trends in Learning Management Systems
In our last post, we provided a general overview of LMS solutions and outlined the top players in the LMS space based on market share and popularity. But still, we’ve only scratched the surface of this broad and complex topic. With its central role in eLearning, we thought it would be valuable to examine the LMS trends that are driving change in the industry and shaping the products of tomorrow.
As with most software solutions, LMS innovations are happening at lightning speed. Both for established providers and those new to the market, competition for new clients and new revenue opportunities is fierce. Innovating, building more robust and flexible systems, and finding the right market niche are key strategies to separate from the pack and get ahead. Here are a few trends that have already begun and will continue to frame the evolution of learning management systems over the next year or two:
- Increased mobile learning. Instead of smartphones, learners seem to prefer taking coursework via tablets. LMS solutions with well-designed and flexible mobile apps are, and will continue to be, ahead of the game.
- Security. Expect a laser-like focus on privacy and security as more software and technology support services get off-loaded to the cloud. To compete, firms will need to show that not only their products, but their third-party cloud providers are breach-proof. This means being well-versed in all the protocols designed to protect sensitive user data such as data replication standards, encryption, and authentication methods.
- Compliance. Features that leave an auditable “paper” trail will continue to be important as more corporations use e-learning products to train staff and qualify employees. Expect to see more solutions that offer e-signature functionality and seamless integration between administrative services like HR, payroll, benefits administration, and quality assurance.
- Personalization. People love to customize. LMS providers that offer a robust and flexible system that allows users to turn on/off widgets, enable features, personalize aesthetics, and set language preferences are one step ahead of the competition right now.
- Video-learning tools. Though video learning and video-aided authoring tools are just starting to gain traction within the LMS space, once we reach the tipping point, expect to see explosive growth and rapid innovation. Specifically, this trend involves integration between LMS video capabilities and adaptive learning tools, outcomes assessment tools, and lecture capture tools.
Adaptive learning tools like Knewton and LearnSmart leverage computing power and user data to customize a student’s curricula and pace and to make the learning process more interactive. Outcomes assessment tools like Waypoint improve the dialogue between educators, students, and other stakeholders as they assess more subjective student skills like critical thinking, writing, and presentation. Lecture capture tools like those offered by Echo360 allow educators to record audio, course video, and screen casts for republication later.
- Integrated e-book platforms. With LMSs, integration matters. Learning management systems that provide e-book platforms within their products are poised to take full advantage of the booming digital textbook market and rapid convergence of technologies.
The product developments we’re seeing now will become the standard building blocks for future advancements. As LMSs continue their movement toward full feature and system integration, expect to see solutions that are more flexible, more scalable, and more personalized than ever before.
If you’d like to explore how to strategically implement an LMS to boost your school’s learning options, accessibility, and revenue, Enrollment Builders can help. Our consultants are leaders in the higher education industry and we work with clients across the country to find the right solutions for their needs today and their goals tomorrow. To learn more about our LMS consulting services, call us at 513-518-7824, or request information here.