November 13th, 2013 E-Learning


Today more than ever, the importance of a quality learning management system is being recognized in organizations all over the world.

Companies are actively training their staff to improve performance, employee satisfaction, and their bottom-line. Therefore, it has become even more necessary to have an up-to-date, functional LMS to reliably deliver elearning.

Naturally, as there have been technological advances, the LMS space has jumped on board. The more popular trends to hit the scene in recent years include:

Social Networks & Gamification

Gamification in conjunction with social network integration has become a common scene in the LMS market. Users may want to share on Facebook when they have completed a course, or perhaps tweet their score.

Modern learning management systems are now making this easier than ever before by pre-configuring compatibility with the most popular social networks today, some are even being built upon the social network itself!

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Offerings

SaaS itself is not totally new, but we are seeing more and more SaaS offerings in the LMS industry. These offerings take the technical burden off of the organization and allow them to focus just on the content and delivery – usually resulting in a more stable environment.

The perceived disadvantage here is that any organization using SaaS for their training potentially lock themselves into using that service “forever”. This might not be seen as bad though, especially if the LMS offering is progressive, constantly adapting, and reliable.

Another potential down-side if you are using a SaaS offering is that there is a good chance that you will be paying on a per user basis, which can become pricey.

Mobile Compatible

This only seems logical given the new gadgets available. Now, an LMS is almost required to be mobile compatible. If it isn’t, then it severely limits the opportunity for learning for its users.

Perhaps in some contexts, lack of mobile compatibility is okay, but we can reasonably expect that most platforms will evolve to mobile compatibility in the near future (or risk being irrelevant).

Open-Source Code

In the past, the code for many learning management systems was “closed”, meaning the company issuing the program was the only one who could see and change it.

Open-source platforms like WordPress and Moodle (among others) are challenging this status-quo by opening their code so that further customization or tweaks can be implemented – allowing developers to tailor the offering to their needs.



CommLab for elearning

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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Hi Justin,
I think you nailed the trends perfectly. I know your a bit skeptical of SAAS model but in what would you consider to be the best features/options of a SAAS offering? I’ve been considering creating an offering for some time but am unsure of what people are looking for or what you should be looking for when shopping for a SAAS offering. Per user licencing a good way to measure the size of the server needed although it does seem that companies gouge when it comes to pricing.
Thanks for the article!

Hi Patrick-
Thanks for the note. I’m not totally against SaaS – they are actually pretty good in that they take the hassle out of the whole technical side – and you’re right, per user pricing is really meant to protect the server demands (which makes sense). The best feature for SaaS really depends, but I suppose I would say that it’s the ability to have a completed dedicated, competent, professional team supporting the system for less than what it would cost to hire an intern to manage everything. That said, SaaS is also about the CUSTOMER service (arguably more than the software itself).

I knew it that SaaS would be in this list! SaaS is a pay-per-use kind of thing and there are no worries of locking yourself on it. If you find that your SaaS is not serving you well, you could move on to another one that you see fit for your company needs. I do not think though that it would be pricey in the long run, not unless your SaaS provider keeps on adding up prices on some basis that they think is reasonable. Anyway, great article!

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