Is The Learning Industry Becoming Oversaturated?

It isn’t uncommon today to see a “new and improved” service, theory, technology, gadget, or enhancement coming out in the learning industry.  But this can be a double-edged sword, and leaves me wondering, are we over thinking the learning industry?

First, I want to make it clear that I am a proponent of progress, but I am also against progress for progress sake.  In all honesty, most of the enhancements in our industry are the result of an increase in demand.  If anything, that means that the industry is alive and growing.  Yet I am beginning to believe that this is also causing companies to enter this market with money on the mind rather than fitting an actual need.

As our industry grows and starts to command even greater profits, then it makes sense that it will attract new entrants. The problem I see is that these new entrants aren’t usually directly related to the industry, but decided to create and pump a new product/service because they are trying to get their piece of the pie. 

To tell you the truth, I have seen an explosion of new LMS products (specifically software-as-a-service providers) in our industry in the past couple of years.  I am well aware that WPLMS will be added to the “noise”.  That said, I am confident that we are filling a niche for many small organizations out there looking for an simple and familiar enhancement.

Fortunately, experienced learning professionals can sift through this noise and find the real value.  Still it can be easy to fall prey to the “shiny-new-object” syndrome.  From a consulting standpoint, we need to exercise caution when providing advice to clients.  Just because something is “new” or “revolutionary” doesn’t mean it is necessary.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

3 Comments
  1. will

    I see the influx of LMSs as a couple of things, first as form of entrepreneurship, second as a form of to control a captured market, and third the creation of options for prospective clients who will now search for the best product/service for them. I see what you are saying and totally agree with you.

    Looking strictly at the LMSs used at the college/university settings. I could not stand working on BlackBoard, formerly known as WebCT. At the latter part of my MA in IDT, our university switched over to Moodle, which simply looked like a white washed version of BlackBoard. I was not impressed with the limitations imposed by IT dept., as instructors were limited in presenting out of the box content due to restricted authorship rights.

    Hopefully the development of new LMSs, such as WPLMS et al., will show that it is possible to design and create Learning Management Systems that are intuitive, accessible, easily interfaced, and compatible with other platforms. I hope that the “noise” is audible and will encourage the larger LMS designers to design and implement better end products for their endusers.

    Looking forward to future posts!

  2. I agree with your sentiments. Unfortunately a lot of what is being offered is rarely unique. It is dangerous to fall into the trap of the ‘shiny new object’ syndrome. Ultimately it is the talents of the designer their ability to utilize what they have that is of value, in my opinion.

  3. Guestty

    I partly agree with you. LMS is still a new form of digital education, and i guess we need much more time to learn how to use it as easy and extended as possible. I think, the best solution for elearning if you are integrating with traditional learning methods.

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