Is the LCMS Still Relevant?

Changing the notion of learning content, access and management

One of the most interesting aspects of corporate training technology has been the role of the learning content management system (LCMS). The LCMS was originally envisioned as a flexible platform to enable learning content to be easily created, stored and managed, customized for each learner, and published and consumed in multiple learning formats.

Over the last eight years, the industry has changed dramatically. Rapid e-learning tools were developed and many of these companies developed content management systems, as well. Now, other technologies (e.g., software as a service, mobile, learning portals, search and collaboration, and social networking tools) are changing the notion of what learning content is and how it is accessed and managed.

Today, content takes many forms, is sometimes self-published, and almost always needs to be accessed quickly.

Consequently, the role of the LCMS must evolve. The recent merger of OutStart and EEDO is indicative of this evolution. Both of these companies have been dedicated to the original role of the LCMS; however, both recognized that customers will realize more value from a system that better supports less structured and more collaborative forms of knowledge sharing.

Interestingly, many other technology providers, both big and small, are jumping on the bandwagon. New entrants are coming from social software providers, for example. Some of these companies offer content management features in addition to collaboration platforms.

The notion of learning content is changing. We believe that the traditional LCMS will continue to play a niche role for some time. However, the market’s sophisticated content needs are fast outpacing these systems.

—The author is principal analyst and research director for Bersin & Associates.

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