This Year’s Learning Systems Award Winners Are Here!
Each year, we spend a massive amount of time researching and recognizing learning systems award winners. Why? Because LMS buyers deserve guidance that cuts through the complexity of our noisy industry. And because the best vendors deserve a beacon that shines a light on their solutions. So let’s get started.
The learning technology world is thriving in 2022. There are countless vendors of all shapes, sizes, missions and methods. It’s relatively easy to spot high-profile players whose roadmaps are established and well-defined. But innovative startups continue to enter the space and disrupt the status quo.
Keeping up with the action isn’t easy. That’s why we take our jobs seriously as industry analysts and buying advisors. All year long, we steep ourselves in the learning landscape – paying special attention to vendors with breakthrough business models, noteworthy technologies, stellar services and other meaningful differentiators.
Then, once a year, we take time to recognize those who stand out from the rest in the extended enterprise learning landscape. That’s been our tradition since 2015. And again in 2022, that moment is now.
What’s The Top Takeaway This Year?
You’ll see some familiar names among the Top 40 vendors we’ve chosen. That shouldn’t surprise you. Some vendors were leading the pack in 2015, and they’re still winners today – often because they stay close to their customers and are evolving ahead of the segments they serve.
But you’ll also see new additions to this year’s learning systems award winners list. That’s because we’re open to all vendors who participate in our rigorous and fiercely independent evaluation process.
Bottom line: There is strength in diversity. That’s more than just a catchy slogan. It’s a reality among learning solutions.
Who Do We Consider for Awards?
We welcome entries from any vendor that supports any segment of the extended enterprise learning market. This includes:
Partner, channel, franchise or gig worker learning
Extended enterprise learning (employee training, plus any combination of customers, partners or contractors)
Content as a business (associations, training companies, or subject matter experts)
We encourage vendors to submit any type of learning solution, including:
Learning management systems (LMS)
Learning experience platforms (LXP)
Mobile learning apps
Microlearning and adaptive learning systems
Training resource management systems
Learning analytics platforms or tools
Content authoring systems
Video learning systems
Awards Selection Criteria
With so many learning solutions, it’s impossible to review them all. So we developed a rigorous nomination process to identify the best and weed out the rest. To be considered, every vendor must complete an in-depth 92-question capability survey and conduct an hour-long executive briefing and demonstration with me.
In addition to weighing functional, technical, service and support capabilities, we also consider these important subjective criteria:
Participated in a Talented Learning-led LMS buying opportunity – Because we help organizations select learning systems, we naturally learn about vendors at a much deeper level during the purchasing and deployment process.
Member of the vendor community in good standing – When vendors drop the ball with customers, we hear about it. We make note of those instances and track them over time.
Thought leadership – Many vendors strive to educate the market with content that drives the whole industry forward. We pay attention to those who invest in this kind of outreach.
Extended enterprise domain expertise – How deeply does a vendor focus on the unique needs of external (non-employee) audiences – customers, partners, gig workers, association members or other external audiences?
An interesting trend emerged from this year’s research. We’re seeing a kind of war between business strategies. As we narrowed the field at every stage of our vendor evaluation process, an even number of learning systems emerged in two categories – specialists vs. all-purpose solutions.
What’s the difference?
All-purpose learning systems can be used effectively in a broad range of use cases, industries and locations. These vendors are striving to maximize their total addressable market. Typically, they start with a fairly thin feature set that can be applied broadly. Then, over the years, they build increasing depth across the product, so the total addressable market grows along with the solution.
In contrast, specialists choose only one or two use cases, industries or locations, and focus on supporting them exceptionally well. These are often innovation leaders who put all their horsepower into new, differentiating features, integrations and services to gain dominance in their small pond. Specialists are smaller, often younger organizations that build a better mousetrap and many times wrap it with expert services. And over time, these specialists may grow into all-purpose solutions, either organically or through acquisition.
So, although we promised a “Top 40” learning systems award winners list, we’ve actually segmented solutions into 2 groups of 20, with vendors listed alphabetically on each list.
After investing hundreds of hours in this year’s awards process, here is who we think are the best of the best.
Top 20 “All-Purpose” Learning Systems Award Winners, 2022
Founded in 2002, Absorb is a popular, full-featured learning system that integrates LMS with LXP, authoring and analytics tools. Absorb LMS excels in customer, partner and employee training for most industries.
For more than 25 years, the Brainier LMS has evolved as an innovation leader in serving manufacturing, distribution, business services and financial industries. In addition to its long reputation of stellar customer support, Brainier’s platform shines with advanced automation, audience segmentation and learning UI. It also offers strong turnkey integrations with third-party content providers, as well as HR, CRM, SSO and talent management applications.
CD2 has provided innovative LMS and content solutions to small businesses, corporations and non-profit organizations for more than 12 years. Top-shelf automation, integrated content authoring, social learning, gamification, personalization and outstanding customer service are hallmarks of the CD2 brand.
Cornerstone, after recently acquiring Saba, SumTotal and EdCast, is the largest LMS company in the world, with estimated annual revenue near $1 billion U.S. dollars. More extended enterprise learning customers rely on Cornerstone than any other solutions vendor.
CYPHER LEARNING Learning is one of the few vendors with an LMS that is equally successful in corporations, content-as-a-business settings and academic environments. UI, learner experience, learning cohort tools, instructor capabilities, productized integrations, built-in content authoring, gamification, social learning, an automation engine and globalization are just some of CYPHER LEARNING many strengths.
DigitalChalk offers two LMS flavors. One is purpose-built for organizations and associations that create and sell continuing education for certification or licensing of professionals. The other is designed for mid-market employees and extended enterprise audiences. Key differentiators include interactive video, immersive simulations, social learning, gamification, assessments, ease of implementation and exceptional customer support.
D2L is an all-purpose LMS that supports academic, corporate and association segments. D2L’s strengths include support for instructor-led training, social and informal learning, along with a strong instructor experience and application integration functionality. D2L also provides managed administration services, which makes this vendor attractive to learning organizations with lean teams.
With more than 2000 active clients, Docebo is the fastest-growing all-purpose learning system in the world. Its end-to-end solution includes an LMS and LXP, along with authoring, analytics and impact tools. Key differentiators include an administrative integration engine that facilitates no-code/low-code integration with thousands of external applications. It also features a sophisticated automation engine, AI-assisted content creation, an adaptive interface and built-in content – all of which support true extended enterprise needs.
For more than 30 years, Gyrus has been developing and selling LMSs to small businesses as well as local, state and federal agencies. Key differentiators include compliance management, skill and competencies support, audience segmentation and AI-assisted administration, as well as niche government requirements such as SF-182 and EHRI integration.
Starting as a leader in customer education, Intellum has migrated into an all-purpose solution for any combination of employees, customers or partners. This end-to-end platform provides advanced, powerful tools that help organizations create and sell personalized, adaptive, formal, informal, social, and gamified instructional content, learning paths and certifications.
KMI is a comprehensive e-learning provider that offers all the technology and services needed to deliver large-scale, custom educational programs for the extended enterprise. Factors that differentiate KMI include a powerful LMS with extreme scalability, implementation teams with integration prowess and content development expertise, as well as flexible hosting options.
LearnUpon is a complete all-purpose LMS designed to support multiple audiences – customers and partners, as well as employees. LearnUpon is a highly functional, low-cost extended enterprise solution that offers a free trial and no implementation fees. LearnUpon integrates well with other cloud SaaS applications, including e-commerce and CRM platforms.
SAP Litmos is a global, all-purpose LMS designed to support the diverse needs of employees and extended enterprise audiences. Video assessments, content creation, automation, gamification, e-commerce, scalability, globalization and support for instructor-led training distinguish SAP Litmos from competitors. On the business front, Litmos recently announced its intended sale to private equity group, Francisco Partners.
The MapleLMS is an all-purpose LMS that can be used successfully by associations, non-profits and SMB companies. Mobile, adaptive learning, accessibility, offline learning, easy integration and analytics are among MapleLMS strengths.
With a 100% customer retention rate, Pursuit’s AcornLMS is Australia’s fastest-growing learning system. Content creation and management, personalization, performance management, skills support, mobile capabilities, multitenancy and productized application integrations are just a few of the differentiators that attract companies of all sizes, as well as governmental agencies.
A specialist in complex compliance, regulatory and distributed organizational learning, Schoox is a powerful and very popular global LMS. This platform stands out because of its strong organization and group management, extensive application integrations, built-in performance management, content curation, ROI impact tools, goals management and social learning functionality.
Designed for the global small and medium-sized business market, TalentLMS is a simple, cost-effective LMS that offers a free trial and publicly available pricing. This platform is capable of supporting any combination of customers, partners and employees with easy content assembly, training paths, mobile app functionality, productized application integrations and a proprietary content library.
Tesseract’s KREDO learning platform is the speediest LMS I have ever seen. From authoring and publishing to creating training plans, everything is fast for learners and administrators. There is no downtime or slow time, and getting things done requires surprisingly few clicks. Very impressive. The built-in authoring tool is better than most, with 50+ well-designed content templates. The focus on UI, speed and simplicity make KREDO one of the better LMSs I’ve seen recently.
Totara is an all-purpose global LMS, LXP and performance management solution that enables corporations and government entities to deliver enterprise-grade education to employees and external audiences. The Totara solution is quasi-open-source. It is distributed directly, and also through a vast certified partner network that can provide regional or industry-specific services such as platform configuration, customization, content creation, managed administration, hosting and other services.
Valamis is an enterprise-grade LXP and LMS designed to meet the needs of learners and learning organizations. Focusing on user-centered design, data science and application integration capabilities, Valamis’ strengths include a sophisticated content recommendation engine, predictive analytics, productized integrations, e-commerce functionality and accessibility support.
Top 20 “Specialist” Learning Systems Award Winners, 2022
Administrate excels at driving efficiency and unlocking measurable ROI in the world’s largest training organizations. This training resource management system solves complex, high-volume, instructor-led learning scheduling, resource allocation, and learning plan execution challenges. Its industry-leading API engine makes it possible to integrate Administrate with any other platform or application in minutes.
Authentic Learning Labs augments existing LMSs with a suite of affordable products and a deep bench of learning technology, tools and data analytics experts who help organizations understand and resolve training business issues. Authentic boasts a full-featured LXP, a powerful data visualization engine and interactive video production and management capabilities.
BenchPrep is an LMS built for professional continuing education businesses and high-stakes test preparation – particularly where digital delivery and time-to-competency are key considerations. This solution includes advanced capabilities for adaptive learning, spaced repetition, personalized study goals and integrated proctoring.
The Blue Sky eLearn Path LMS supports the entire conference/event lifecycle, including branded event portals, ad networks, registration, attendance, session recording, materials management and complex continuing education credential management – all in an easy and coordinated manner.
A specialist in channel and partner learning, BlueVolt builds and supports massive, diverse learning ecosystems that bring together manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, trade associations, buying groups and retailers – primarily in the construction, architecture, engineering and facilities management industries.
Focused squarely on the continuing education market, Cadmium’s vision is to break down internal education silos and provide end-to-end support for all aspects of learning and education, including event and seminar management, online learning, virtual learning, video content management and more. Cadmium offers two complementary learning systems. The Cadmium Elevate LMS enables associations of all types and the Cadmium EthosCE LMS specializes in continuing medical education of all types.
The CrowdWisdom LMS by Community Brands is a high-end solution for associations and training businesses, as well as customer and partner education groups in corporate environments. CrowdWisdom LMS excels at content syndication for B2B and B2B2B commerce models, as well as learner experience, interface design, application integration, video learning support and analytics. Additionally, this vendor has an excellent group of experts available to assist with learning program design, instructional design and custom content development.
Providing both the Knowledge Direct LMS and custom content development solutions, Digitec Interactive is a full-service solution for associations and non-profits of all types. Leveraging 20 years of custom content creation expertise, the LMS platform includes strong content creation capabilities as well as great learning efficacy features like spaced repetition, social learning and gamification.
Rather than offering a generic LMS, Grace Hill built a solution that helps real estate property owners and operators increase their property performance, reduce operating risk and develop talent. The solution includes an LMS, along with regulatory compliance training and curated content based on location and job role – all tailored to a learner’s property use case. Additionally, Grace Hill incorporates unique capabilities such as property tenant surveys, mystery shopper surveys and reputation builder tools to identify specific learning and performance improvement opportunities.
With a laser focus on learner engagement, gamification, informal learning and content creation, Growth Engineering produces a white-label mobile app, an LMS and an authoring tool – all working together to make learning more engaging and effective. Some differentiating features of this platform include the ability to manage learning streaks, challenge other learners to knowledge combat, and even stage team vs. team knowledge wars, complete with ongoing progress reports and rewards for the winners.
Learnie is a mobile learning app that enables associations, non-profits and communities to deploy their own private learning communities. Content is user-generated and built in a series of super-short video microlearning bursts. This enables all learners to more broadly share their unique skills, experience and knowledge with other community members.
LearningCart makes it easy and inexpensive for organizations to promote and sell learning content in any format – successfully. Some key differentiators include B2B/B2B e-commerce, an integrated content management system, affiliate tracking, free trials, webhooks, Zapier integration and a highly useful Google Search Console and Analytics integration.
LemonadeLXP provides a turnkey business solution for small and medium-sized banks in the U.S. to improve performance and accelerate client adoption of the bank’s digital products and channels. This solution includes the LMS, a complete SMB bank skill and competency model, common bank role training plans, links to relevant online content and excellent measurement capabilities. Plus, all of this is backed by hands-on services from people with technical and financial expertise.
NetExam has perfected the science of channel and partner training. This platform shines in many areas, including PRM integration, partner management, partner levels, gamification, contests, OJT assignments, mobile apps, ILT training management and social learning – just to name a few.
Skilljar has been a leader in the customer education space for more than a decade. Originally focused on serving tech companies, Skilljar has expanded its target market reach to other industries, as well. Key differentiators include integration with a broad spectrum of CRM, marketing automation, customer experience and SSO applications, as well as solid organization management and B2B features.
Teachable offers an end-to-end solution that helps subject matter experts, teachers and consultants create, market, sell and deliver proprietary instructional content. The licensing model is based on content sales volume rather than audience size. This lets new training providers reduce risk and upfront costs when launching an online learning business.
Thought Industries is a complete enterprise-grade learning system built specifically for customer education, content as a business and channel partner education. This powerful solution enables headless LMS scenarios and seamlessly combines LMS, CMS, CRM and content authoring tools. It also includes world-class B2B2B e-commerce capabilities that meet the needs of even the most complex large-scale training companies.
For years, WBT Systems has helped associations, non-profits and content-as-a-business training organizations drive continuing education programs. Acquired by ASI in 2021, TopClass LMS is tightly integrated with its iMIS AMS sister product. TopClass stands out for its headless LMS, continuing education management, ILT management, analytics and integration with Salesforce and AMS platforms, in general.
Training Orchestra develops and delivers a training resource management system that easily supports high-volume, global ILT and VILT training businesses. Training Orchestra helps automate training administration, session creation, instructor assignment, resource allocation, sales cycle planning, reporting and financial analysis in ways that LMS platforms do not.
Web Courseworks is one of the largest and most successful LMS solution providers in the association and continuing education market. Its learning platform includes custom AMS and CRM integrations, content creation tools, mobile apps, virtual learning, spaced repetition, organizational management, e-commerce and analytics. Combined with a highly experienced professional services team, the Web Courseworks solution is an attractive choice for member-based organizations that need to support learning at scale.
Cool New Solutions – “Watchlist” Vendors
For me, this was the toughest awards decision process ever. With so many great platforms, I wanted to include them all. Instead, I agonized over even the littlest nits. And then I decided to expand the list of Learning Systems Award winners by introducing a new category: Cool New Systems to watch. Any of these new solutions (at least to us) could have been in the Top 40, and they may very well be on the list next year. Keep watching!
Cinema8 – Cinema8 solves many of the challenges of creating, deploying, distributing and updating advanced interactive video for learning.
Disruptive Learning Solutions – This vendor’s heavily gamified approach to leadership team-building led to a simulation that even kids would play.
Go-Skills – Great SMB turnkey solution. A basic LMS and all the content you need to get going fast.
G-Cube – A cool new product that ties key business indicators to training assignments. For example, a retail store can tie customer satisfaction ratings to specific training assignments.
(k)Nudging – A former college professor decided to solve higher education’s biggest problem – terrible online collaboration features. This works.
Interflexion – An awesome application of AI and machine learning that builds increasingly smarter role-play simulations.
LMS Portals – A fresh approach to managing multiple learning audiences. Nice.
Showd.me – Another SMB LMS that makes compliance easy by combining content with a platform and the right set of features for small business needs.
Talented Learning 2022-2023 Learning Systems Market Report
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Congratulations again, to each of this year’s Talented Learning Systems Award winners! In a landscape of more than 1000 all-purpose and specialist solutions, you’re the best of the best.
Thanks for reading!
Learning Systems Vendors: Do you belong on this list?
Hourly – Schedule an hour or two to touch base and get perspective on the learning solutions market, tapping into more than 20 years of industry experience.
Shortlisting Service – What are the four best vendors for your unique LMS, LXP or other learning systems needs? Work with John to find out quickly, independently and accurately.
Full Service Consulting – If you’re feeling lost or uncertain, ask for help. I’ll work with you and your team to identify the best learning system for your organization, guiding you every step of the way.
John Leh is CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning and the Talented Learning Center. John is a fiercely independent consultant, blogger, podcaster, speaker and educator who helps organizations select and implement learning technology strategies, primarily for extended enterprise applications. His advice is based upon more than 25+years of learning-tech industry experience, serving as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to hundreds of learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $100+ million and growing. John would love to connect with you on Twitter or on LinkedIn.
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