The elearning industry is constantly evolving, and at a quick pace too.

Everything from the software we use to create elearning to the systems in place to deliver online training programs is shaped by emerging technologies.

One of the cornerstones in elearning is the learning management system. It is the workhorse behind the scenes that ensures courses are delivered and tracked.

In recent years though the LMS has worked its way to the foreground. Dynamic features from the LMS are interacting with the course content.

One example is gamification. Many learning management systems not only deliver the course but now award points and badges for users based on their interactions.

Yes, the LMS has come a long way. The infographic above (created by oxagile) gives us a sense of its evolution over the years.

I’ve shared similar graphics before relating to the history of the LMS.

I think it’s a bit funny that the these two reported histories don’t quite match-up. But hey, who’s really keeping track? 🙂

Nonetheless, glancing into the past (no matter how far back) can be an entertaining exercise. It’s fascinating to see the strides the LMS has made over the years.

We have SCORM, and Flash, software-as-a-service, open-source systems and Tin Can (Experience) API.

Mobile learning has forced the LMS to adapt as well and recognize that elearning courses don’t always take place on the same device. This ultimately is one of the factors that led to the demise of SCORM (and rise of Tin Can API).

I’m sure it will be interesting to look at this infographic in just a few years to see what still is relevant and what has gone extinct.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of 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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Great round-up and I-G Justin… Thanks!

Dr. Michael J FimianReply

Learning Management Systems started way back before 1990!

PLATO came to the UK in 1980 and I was part of the initial team marketing and supporting the system. It had a full blown LMS and we had major corporates as customers. I have built many of the features of this system in the various LMS I’ve built over the years and am now onto our latest based on LearnDash and Social Learner backed up by Grassblade – still in its early days but freely accessible at

Informative info-graphic. And, adding to the previous comment, i would like to pint out that LMS software existed before 1990s too and in fact a company called Gyrus Systems launched its first LMS in 1987. You might want to know more on them.


Re: definition at the top
A LMS also accepts registrations and tracks completions for in-person classes and live webinars and now even records/tracks ‘experience.’


Hi Justin

Nice infographic and thanks for sharing.

I was surprised to see that in the country comparison graph, the “other” category was shown as nil. Is this because data was unavailable? Certainly there are many other players aside the market leaders shown.



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