The US-based e-learning commentator, Elliott Masie, has identified that learning management systems (LMSs) seem to becoming ‘stretched’ by having to accommodate learning via new technologies.


According to Masie: “Many organisations are celebrating their tenth – at least – anniversary with their LMS. While these systems have been updated and customised over the years, in recent months we have been hearing concern, frustration and focus from chief learning officers (CLOs) about the emerging ‘gaps’ between their current LMS systems and the rapidly evolving content and delivery modes.”


For example, said Masie, a financial services firm has had its current LMS for 11 years. The LMS has performed well delivering, tracking and helping to manage e-learning, compliance and training initiatives but the firm’s CLO expressed concerns, including:

  • Video: The firm is moving towards widespread use of video, both in the form of stored, on-demand video as well as user content videos. The LMS and its companion LCMS are being stretched by the use of video.
  • Mobile: The firm is deploying a range of mobile devices from Blackberries to new iPAD.  The learning content formats for these devices are changing and the LMS ‘portal’ pages are not adaptable to the smaller screen.
  • Performance Support Orientation: This firm is also deploying a significant amount of performance support, instead of formal learning modules. Unfortunately, the LMS is ‘out of synch’ with the knowledge elements of the ‘just in time’ content/resources.


Masie added that the CLO feels the LMS is a ‘tired’ workhorse. In these challenging economic times, the company is not inclined to buy a replacement LMS. The result is a ‘make do and mend’ philosophy. Masie observed that this is not unusual and has argued for a fresh look at learning systems (LMS, LCMS and so on).


Comment: It goes without saying that Elliott Masie is right in identifying this trend (for LMSs to be struggling to cope with the new technologically-delivered ways of ‘doing corporate learning’). The CLO reasoning is also believable, especially in the current economic climate. The question is, what are LMS providers going to do to both update their products and make them attractive to cost-conscious and budget-strapped CLOs?