Learning Management System, commonly abbreviated as LMS, is a software tool or a web-based application which is used to plan, administer, implement, assess, track, report and deliver a particular learning process. Some of the common features of LMS include document management, multiple device access, rosters, student engagement, assessment and testing, grading, registration control and course calendars. Corporate Learning Management Systems come with enhanced features, such as automated enrollment process, improved security, white labeling and multi-lingual support.
With the enhancement in technology and emergence of many latest techniques and methods, there are transformations that are being implemented in learning management systems as well. On the basis of current and upcoming technological advancements and user expectations, here is a list of four emerging trends in LMS that have been forecasted.
Cloud computing is a disruptive innovation that has brought a revolution in the technical processes and methods. The use and application of cloud computing in the area of LMS is expected to grow in the coming years. It will also provide numerous benefits to the service providers and users with a decrease in the total cost of ownership (TCO). The additional set of benefits will include improved security, increased flexibility, and adaptability with enhanced connectivity and transparency. This will be advantageous for the large-scale as well as small-scale learning organizations. Some of the companies have already implemented this approach and have released the cloud-based LMSs in the market. The top players on the list include Adobe Captivate Prime, ExpertusONE, Dokeos, Administrate, LearnUpon, Agylia, Matrix LMS and many more.
Video & Gamification Modules:
The global game-based learning market was valued at US$3.487 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.60% to reach a market size of US$8.532 billion by the year 2022. It is a scientific fact that visual elements and graphics have a higher impact on the learning abilities as compared to the theoretical content. The engaging power and visual appeal of the games are far better than the plain text static graphics. The use of videos and gamification modules in LMS will allow the learners to gain a better understanding of strategies, decision-making abilities, time management requirements, risk-taking etc.
The use of games in the current LMS is limited and is expected to improve in the future-learning systems. Streamed and uploaded videos will be integrated with the future LMS.
Personal Learning Environment (PLE):
There have been modifications witnessed in the PLE for LMS. The adequate use of PLE can have positive implications on the user interface of LMS. The future learning management systems must make use of PLE to allow the users to easily manipulate the interface for increased freedom with the usage of the system. The end user requirements should be fulfilled by integration with the social media platforms and blogs. Semantic search functions shall also be applied in the LMS along with the tracking of learner’s interests and knowledge gaps. User-based content generation should be added as an additional utility. Such features in the learning management systems will have a higher applicability in the corporate environment. Enhanced project-based training and learning, information sharing, conflict management etc. will be made possible as a result.
The companies have begun the process of integration of Talent Management and Learning Management Systems. The primary motive of a talent management system is to highlight the gaps in knowledge and skills of an employee while LMS works towards filling of such gaps and enhancement of the skills of the employee.
The future LMS should be designed in such a manner that it will be able to suggest new courses and learning resources specific to the learner.
The present-day learning management systems are not the same as the systems launched 10 years back. The future is also expected to witness multiple changes and transformation with a few of them covered above. The use of LMS is expanding in the field of education, healthcare, marketing, finance, engineering, pharmaceutical etc. It is required for the business organizations and units to continue their research on the methods that can be adapted for enhanced design and implementation of these systems for the increased learning of the employees and the associated resources. The use of Business Intelligence (BI) concepts should be explored by the companies in the area of LMS.
Mobile technology is being used and applied in every business sector and the use of mobile devices is on an all-time rise. It has become necessary for the organizations to ensure that the applications and systems are compatible with the mobile devices. There are several techniques followed for this purpose and mobile-first is one such approach. Mobile first is a design approach in which the website or an application is designed for the mobile platforms first. It may then be scaled up for desktop and other larger devices.
Learning Management System (LMS) is defined as a software application used to plan, implement, track, report, assess and deliver a particular learning process. There are several learning management systems that are available in the market. The business units need to enhance and provide the mobile-based learning for their employees and stakeholders. These learning systems are also high on demand in the educational institutions. A “mobile first” design approach should be followed for such LMSs and there are a set of key considerations to be incorporated.
Mobile devices do not refer to the Smartphones only. There are numerous other mobile devices, such as tablets, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) etc. that must be considered while designing the Learning Management Solutions using mobile-first approach.
The design of the learning management system needs to be responsive to attain maximum user satisfaction. It will allow the system to have excellent performance on a wide range of devices and make the activities associated with maintenance and development easier.
Performance v/s Content
There is a limited screen space on the mobile devices that take away the freedom to put additional content on the screen, unlike desktop applications. The designers must ensure that only the salient information is present on the screens of the LMS. The designer must keep a balance between the content and the performance of the system layout, navigation, scrolling, and usability.
Acceptance & Change Management
The demand of the market and customers is to access the websites and applications on the mobile platforms. The business units must accept this change and make sure that they fulfill the user demands and expectations accordingly. A majority of the users prefer m-learning instead of desktop-based learning systems. It is essential to understand the difference in the design principles and methodologies between the two platforms.
There may be scenarios wherein the users may switch between the mobile devices while accessing the same LMS. These devices may vary in terms of screen size and resolution. The LMSs’ backend must be capable of adapting to such transitions without any adverse impact on the performance and network connectivity. For instance, an employee may access a particular LMS on an Android-based tablet provided by the organization. The same employee may choose to access the system on the personal iPhone after office hours.
Integration with Latest Technologies
Learning Management Systems need to use data in unified and cohesive manner. There are Big Data applications developed for better organization and management of the data sets. LMS developed with mobile-first approach should have the ability to be integrated with external tools and applications, such as Big Data and Business Intelligence tools. Security is also one of the prime areas of concern for the mobile-based applications. There are security tools, such as anti-malware tools, intrusion detection tools, and anti-denial tools etc. developed for enhancement of security. LMS needs to be capable of being integrated with such tools and applications.
Mobile applications and websites have succeeded in gaining a lot of popularity among the users. The learning management systems developed by the business units and educational institutes must also consider and abide by the shift in the user expectations. There are many differences between the desktop based applications and the ones designed for mobile platforms. These considerations in terms of screen size, layout, design principles, set of priorities, integration, compatibility (with other tools) and security features must reflect in the final design. There are certain system qualities provided with a higher priority in LMSs designed with a mobile-first approach. These qualities include application performance, usability, security, availability, and reliability.