LMS 2013: The $1.9 Billion Market for Learning Management Systems


$1.9 Billion spent on training technology systems?  Yup.

This week we will be launching our newest annual research on the state of the Learning Management Systems market. These software systems are among the most important and rapid-changing parts of HR technology, and they drive tremendous value to businesses of all sizes. And this market grew at over 14% last year, despite the global recession.

Our research discusses the market size, market share of the major players, trends, and detailed analysis of the top vendors to help you in selection and strategy.

Why the growth in this market?

Businesses face a global skills imbalance, creating the sticky unemployment rate and "rush to skills" we see all over the world. The US education system is in crisis and much of the high rates of unemployment are not due to a lack of jobs, but rather a lack of skills. Making up for this, businesses increased their corporate training by 9.5% last year (Read the Corporate Learning Factbook for details) bringing global corporate spending to over $130 billion.

And one of the most critical parts of corporate training is the role of technology platforms (coupled with social and mobile tools) that make it easy for companies to develop and share content, deliver instructional materials to employees at the time of need, and administer formal training. The decades-old LMS market is transforming itself to meet these needs.

As readers of this research will learn, LMS platforms continue to play a vital role in HR technology as well. Despite the recent wave of mergers (Oracle-Taleo, SAP-SuccessFactors, IBM-Kenexa), a flurry of small innovative companies are reinventing this market. Established players continue to try to keep up, as new vendors provide very easy to use systems which make learning as easy as going to Khan's Academy or browsing YouTube.

The Continuous Corporate Learning Model

One of the reasons for the growth in the LMS market is the shift away from formal training to what we call a "continuous learning" environment. The training industry has talked a lot about "informal learning," but that's just a buzzword. What high-performing companies now do is put in place systems, content, and management practices that enable people to learn continuously: formally in classrooms, informally on the job, and through developmental experiences, feedback, and social experiences. Fig 1: The Continuous Learning Model

Pioneers in this market include Qualcomm, Shell, Lockheed-Martin, Deloitte, Accenture, and other big organizations. But even companies like Jiffy-Lube and Lowes now have continuous learning environments, designed to let employees learn while they work.

Why the Need for Continous Learning

Without a continuous learning environment your company simply will not keep up. Think about how specialized most jobs have become.

The days of being an "expert" have changed. In todays' rapid-moving information economy professionals in every discipline have to learn continuously. The "renaissance man" has been replaced with the "renaissance learner." People who know how to continuously learn will outpace their peers.

What corporations are trying to do is put in place teams, programs, and systems which facilitate continuous learning – through both expert content and instruction and the leveraging of internal expertise. Our research shows that High-Impact Learning Organizations (HILOs, those in the top 10% of our learning organization maturity model), focus on "capability management" – not just training.

Today, if your company is not continuously developing new skills and learning from your customers, the market, and your own teams – you will fall behind.

The sleepy old LMS market is playing a hugely important role in this transformation, and this research will help you understand how to select, implement, and leverage learning technology for competitive advantage. The market will grow by over 10% this year and we expect it to reach $1.9 billion by 2013.

If you are an L&D executive or professional, this  research is indispensible. It will educate you about this market, help you understand the various vendors, and give you guidebook to selecting the right long term solution.

If you're just getting started, you can download the executive summary of the research to learn more.

Now, more than ever, is the time to rethink your learning technology strategy and put in place a long term solution which makes your company a continuous learning organization.

Josh Bersin

Josh Bersin writes on the ever-changing landscape of business-driven learning, HR and talent management. His favorite topics include strategic talent management, creating high-impact learning organizations, and how organizations drive business change and competitive advantage through talent strategy and technology.

6 thoughts on “LMS 2013: The $1.9 Billion Market for Learning Management Systems

  1. I really like the graphic depicting the Continuous Learning Model. Simple, but highlights the migration from traditional learning (classroom, e-learning) to more contextual, push content using social, communities; in other worlds evolving learning into KM. The one thing I would add in addition to socialmobile delivery is contextual knowledge integrated with business processes and systems someplace on the right side of the diagram. Leveraging social and mobile for delivery is key, but so is using social and communities for pre- and post- course work and continuous knowledge creation, and reducing barriers between learning processes and business processes as two discrete activities. – Alan Baren, Knowledge Mgt Director, ADP

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