4 Learning Management System Predictions for 2016

As the e-learning world segues into 2016, only one thing is certain: The need for learning management systems (LMSs) will continue to grow across all industries. Everything else, such as how LMSs themselves will evolve in the coming year, is up in the air.

2015 brought several exciting LMS advancements, and we expect those trends to continue into 2016. We’re also on the lookout for unforeseen innovations (yes, we’re expecting the unexpected!) that will disrupt the dominant paradigm to the benefit of learners and education providers. With those sentiments in mind, here are our LMS predictions for the months ahead.

1. More education providers will embrace cloud-based tools.

This prediction may not come as a surprise. Around 63% of US companies already use the private cloud in some form or another. That being said, we think 2016 will be the year that nearly all education providers stop thinking of the cloud as a new delivery mechanism and start thinking of it as the way to manage their full suite of programs. Here’s why:

Cloud-based LMSs also help education providers provide better experiences to learners. Increasingly, professionals want to complete training or continuing education (CE) on the go and from their device of choice. The cloud enables education providers to respond to that reality.

2. Video will become a dominant format.

This prediction is based partly on our experience working with CE providers and partly on overwhelming evidence of online video’s growing popularity.

Learners like videos, and education providers know it. In fact, video support is now the most strongly desired feature among LMS buyers. If the industry responds to customer demands in 2016 – and we think it will – we expect to see a lot more video content in providers’ CE activities in the coming year.

3. Blended learning will “blend” even more deeply.

In many respects, blended learning is already the norm. Professionals completing CE activities are accustomed to earning credits via a combination of Web-based content (think journal-based CE) and live meetings.

But in 2016, many traditional activities will start including some kind of human-computer interaction as well. For example, someone who attends a live CE meeting might be able to register, confirm attendance, and claim credit all via the LMS. This is what we started doing in mid-2015 when we added regularly scheduled series (RSS) support to the Rievent Platform. Instead of offering RSS inside a “technology-lite” vacuum, hospitals can automate backend administration by enabling learners to claim credit on a computer or mobile device.

The “blend” part of blended learning is about to take on a completely new character. Even traditional, lecture hall-style education activities will incorporate – or even require – the functionality of an LMS.

4. Big data will get even bigger.

There’s already a growing need to produce accurate reports of learner participation, completion, and success rates. Accrediting bodies require this information, and education providers use it to identify strengths and weaknesses in their programs.

However, we think the LMS world will further embrace big data for a different reason: Outcomes. Increasingly, professional education providers are looking for evidence that their curriculum produces results. In 2016, expect to see LMSs that collect learner feedback and information from other sources to offer insights on the real-world effectiveness of a course or activity.

Consider the continuing medical education (CME) community, in which the effectiveness of a given activity boils down to its impact on patient health. CME providers must be able to assess whether patient outcomes can be traced to a physician’s participation in an educational activity. Big data can help them reach that objective.

Will these predictions come to pass?

Maybe they will, and maybe they won’t. Regardless, we think 2016 will be an exciting year in LMS innovation! Learners and education providers are demanding more from their technology than ever before, and we’re confident that the LMS industry will respond in kind.