It seems to me that this is a good time to comment on the state of the Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) market given the many changes in 2012.
The LCMS market has been one of the least understood parts of the education, training and development world. The more well-known corporate Learning Management Systems ("LMS") have now morphed into Talent Management Systems ("TMS") and the academic LMS has gone off in a completely different direction than corporate solutions. In both markets, LMS suppliers are now preaching the "personalization" message and somehow these "course-centric", rigid systems have miraculously become flexible content delivery solutions overnight!
A new SCORM standard is being promoted and a different set of standards (LTI/Common Cartridge) has emerged for academic education. Put aside all of the conversations about MOOC's, Performance Support, Informal Learning and Social Learning and it's enough to keep any executive wondering, "How can I meet all of these content development and delivery challenges?"
For some reason, learning organizations have never seen content development as a core competency. The trend has been "let's try some rapid authoring tools to replace instructor-based content (the pervasive argument for the last 15 years), or "it's too hard and expensive so we will outsource content development to a 3rd party."
In today's world of intelligent mobile devices, 24 x 7 information access, social networks and changing demographics, few people are really interested in learning from "animated PowerPoint" style content or going to an LMS to find information they need right now. The ability to find relevant content in small topics, with a choice of reading, watching or participating with others is really what people crave. The content development strategies of the late 90's and last decade are now going the way of the dinosaurs.
How come content development is a core competency for every department except Human Resources? If HR wants to be relevant it needs to quickly move away from the "one size fits all course" in order to meet the personalized, any size, in any format model of the future. It needs to focus on the content from business operations - Sales, products, services. And the only way to get there is to have a content strategy, a content development capability. And in the training and development world, a learning content management system...
I still recall a conversation with the former CEO of one of our competitors who asked me not too long ago if Xyleme was interested in being acquired. I said "no" as I believed (and still do) that the real opportunity for the LCMS is just beginning. As organizations embrace the fundamental change occurring in the education/training and information technology world, content is a core competency that can not be outsourced or simply crowd-sourced. In a cloud-based, consumer-driven world, a robust learning content development and delivery platform is key to the future. The LCMS of the future is different than the past.
Now that Outstart and the remaining LMS suppliers have thrown in the towel on their LCMS products, opting to focus more on the TMS opportunity, the question is "who really has a solution that can meet the content development and delivery requirements of the future"? Who has the LCMS of the future?
They gave up just when it was getting interesting.
~This post was authored by Xyleme President & CEO, Mark Hellinger.