The corporate training market, which is over $130 billion in size, is about to be disrupted. Companies are starting to move away from their Learning Management Systems (LMS), buy all sorts of new tools for digital learning, and rebuild a whole new infrastructure to help employees learn. And the impact of GSuite, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Workplace by Facebook could be enormous.
Consider the following: in Deloitte’s most recent research among 700-plus business and HR professionals, corporate L&D received a net-promoter score of -8. This is about as low as it can go.
Why the unhappiness? Quite simply because it’s so easy to find instructional content on the internet (YouTube, Lynda.com, Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, the list goes on and on) yet inside of companies the options are very poor. The primary reason? Most corporate learning environments are built around an older corporate LMS, that only really manages compliance and formal training well.
I’m not saying this world isn’t changing fast, but right now we’re in the early stages of a major disruption. My firm recently had two large chief learning officer meetings and almost everyone we talked with told us they’re struggling to build a “digital learning” experience in their companies.
I recently wrote an article discussing the “Digital Learning: Ten Things We’ve Learned,” but rather than repeat it here let me summarize.
The corporate L&D market has been through wrenching change over the last decade. In only 15 years we’ve come from long, page-turning courses to a wide variety of videos, small micro-learning experiences, mobile apps, and intelligent, adaptive learning platforms.
Today tools like “Spaced Learning” let employees take only five minutes of training at a time, then reflect, and spend another five minutes the next day, timed for optimum recognition.
A new marketplace of tools vendors has emerged, most less than five years old, each trying to stake out a new place in the landscape. These includes tools for external content curation, tools to build MOOCs internally, tools to deliver adaptive, micro-learning content, and intelligent tools to help recommend content, assess learning, practice and identify skills gaps.
These are likely the emerging leaders in the market. Platforms like Degreed, Edcast, Fuse, Pathgather, Grovo, and vendors like NovoEd, Intrepid, Everwise, Axonify, Qstream, Practice, and others are reinventing the landscape.
AI has entered corporate learning as well. IBM’s new corporate learning platform recommends training materials based on your job, experience, and prior learning. Axonify and Qstream can “space learning” based on your job and prescribe small nuggets just as needed (for sales training, safety training, and even management coaching). And a new startup I just met with has software that can read entire manuals and automatically develop tests and quizzes to promote learning. (Imagine your baristas learning about coffee from the book!)
We know employees badly need these kinds of tools. Employees are pretty overwhelmed at work ,and typically only have 20 minutes a week to set aside for learning. So rather than produce two to three hour “courses” that require page-turning and slow video or animation, we need to offer “learning on-demand” and recommended content just as needed.
These changes will disrupt and change the $4 billion-plus for corporate learning management systems (LMS). Companies like IBM, Sears, and Visa are starting to turn off their old systems and build a new generation of learning infrastructure that looks more like a “learning network” and less like a single integrated platform. While corporate compliance and mandatory training will never disappear, these are now becoming back-office functions, making the LMS far less strategic than it once was.
This is pushing vendors like Workday, Oracle, SuccessFactors, SumTotal and others are now reinventing the LMS — focusing on developing video-learning platforms that feel more like YouTube than an educational course catalog.. but these products are new and the market has yet to shake out.
MOOCs, once considered a panacea for corporate training, continue to grow — but employees tell us they are useful for job transitions and career changes, not really to support their day to day needs. Research on MOOCs shows that while enrollments continue to climb, ongoing engagement remains low, so these vendors are shifting their business models toward micro-credentials, certificates, and other types of degrees that encourage and reward students for finishing a course.
To make this even more disruptive, the priority for corporate learning has increased. Deloitte Human Capital Trends’ newest research shows that “reinventing careers and learning” is now the #2 issue in business (followed only by reorganizing the company for digital business), creating urgency and budget in this area. 83% of companies (more than 10,000 respondents) told us this is important and 54% said the problem is urgent.
We are living longer, jobs are changing faster than ever, and automation is impinging on our work lives more every day. If we can’t look things up, learn quickly, and find a way to develop new skills at work, most of us would prefer to change jobs, rather than stay in a company that doesn’t let us reinvent ourselves over time.