Learning trends

A look back at Learning Systems in 2020 featuring insights from Craig Weiss

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Learning Systems in 2020

Part 1: Craig Weiss Shares His Insight on the 2020 Market

Craig Weiss is the CEO and lead analyst for the Craig Weiss Group, which provides analyst, advisory and consulting services to buyers and vendors in the e-learning industry. With over 20 years’ experience working with companies of all sizes, he has gained a unique perspective on the Learning Systems market. Each year he publishes the Craig Weiss List of the Top 50 LMS, and he has ranked CrossKnowledge for the 5th consecutive year in a row, including #1 for 2020! 

Next-generation solutions

According to Craig Weiss, learning solutions must offer next-generation features if they want to stand out from all the rest. In fact, the solutions that rank highest on his list are the ones that are capable of integrating the cutting-edge technology that learners want and expect.

What are top requested features that would bring the most value to customers? According to Craig, there are 3 must-have features:

1- Recommendations

Thanks to the trend that the Netflix UI has been setting over the past few years, people want playlists. This is an extremely important feature because it has a major impact on what users learn.

Weiss supports the following types:

The content recommended to me using the CK algorithm is entirely based on my personality assessment. I really liked that it could tell me my strengths and weaknesses.

Craig Weiss

2- Skills Management

A second top feature for any learning system is the capability to offer skills management as a component. For example, this may start with a type of pre-assessment to identify the skills learners are interested in. Skills-rating options can then be offered throughout the course, either self-assessed, manager-reviewed or other. These types of features are important because they help learners track their progress and set goals.

3- Metrics

In order to gauge the effectiveness of learning solutions, clients rely on KPIs… usually a lot of them! This means that a large amount of data is being generated, which then needs to be analyzed and understood. That is why metrics are becoming increasingly important, and providers need to offer fluid data visualization features that go above and beyond the display of a simple list. Some large companies even expect to have access to a type of business intelligence tool.

I believe this trend for more metrics and better metrics visualization is a good thing for users.

Craig Weiss

Opening up the world of learning solutions to everyone

Craig Weiss started his yearly Top 50 LMS because he found there was a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about learning solutions. For example, newcomers in the market tend to benefit from the belief that new is always better. Some buyers just favor local providers, without researching the existing solutions on the market. An early independent review is a good way to show organizations what is out there, and how solutions and providers differ in their offerings.

COVID-19 pushing demand for additional features

The pandemic has certainly had a undeniable impact on corporate learning in 2020. Craig has identified trends that may or may not continue in 2021 and beyond.

For one, the events of the past year have forced us to change our perspective. Pre-pandemic, solutions were heavily geared towards employees. Now, we see how important it is for solutions to offer traditional management features, mainly face-to-face interaction. This undoubtedly boosts the need for web conferencing integration.

I’ve always been a believer that anything you can do in physical— in a classroom, or in a conference room— you can do just as well in e-learning, if not better. It all comes back to the design of the content.

Craig Weiss

Second, and perhaps a more obvious impact of COVID-19, is the need for webinar-based learning (also known as VILT or virtual instructor-led training). Learning solutions have always offered web-conferencing capabilities, but with billions of people around the world in confinement, that trend has now skyrocketed.

However, an LMS does not offer this service directly, relying instead on external providers and use an API for integration. Unfortunately, they are not always capable of effectively pushing and pulling data between the two systems. One of the major challenges then for providers is developing their ability to harness the power of API quickly and seamlessly.

I would look to a vendor that already has complete integration with some type of web conferencing tool. I would also be careful of what data can be shared between the two.

Craig Weiss

As a result of the pandemic, we have seen that next-generation features and fluid web-conferencing capabilities are a must. According to Craig Weiss, this is where the trend is headed in the future, and CrossKnowledge will continue to deliver Integrated Learning Experiences to help your workforce acquire the skills they need to succeed. Check out Part 2 of this series where Craig Weiss gives predictions for 2021!

CrossKnowledge provides corporate Digital Learning solutions that enable the success of individuals, teams and organizations through skills acquisition.