Published On: January 10, 2024By
What are the top 2024 Learning Systems Predictions? Check these 15 LMS trends to watch by learning tech analyst, John Leh

Setting the Stage: 2024 Learning Systems Predictions

Four years ago, the pandemic triggered some of the most prolific years in learning systems history. After decades of debate about the value of elearning and learning management systems (LMS), businesses openly embraced digital learning tools of all types. While the world melted down in other ways, times were good for learning systems. And for the next few years, LMS vendors were giddy and hair-on-fire busy.

Then in 2023, everything changed.

By last year, most organizations had already invested in a new or upgraded LMS. They were busy creating fresh and enhanced content to grow and improve their training programs. Few organizations were thinking about replacing their learning systems. The once endless pipeline of first-time and replacement LMS buyers shrank. This spooked many LMS vendors, who had become accustomed to short sales cycles and easy wins.

Crystal Ball Time: 2024 Learning Systems Predictions

Of course, none of this stopped the strongest LMS companies. Many responded with an explosion of innovation (and marketing). Suddenly, the world was ablaze with generative AI, automation, learner experience enhancements, skills and competencies, spaced repetition, headless integrations, analytics, managed services, and more.

And what did training organizations do? They responded with a cautious yawn. After three years of heavy spending on learning tools and plates full of strategic activities, new systems and features were no longer a priority. Instead, these companies focused on fully utilizing, measuring, and proving the value of existing investments.

So, what does all this mean for 2024 learning systems predictions? Is the LMS industry poised for another growth surge, or will this be another challenging year? For an independent analyst’s perspective, join me as I look into my crystal ball at key trends that are shaping the year ahead…


Top 15 LMS and 2024 Learning Systems Predictions

With so many changes continuing to reverberate across the LMS landscape, this year promises to be epic. So we expanded our list of 2024 learning systems predictions from 10 to 15 items. Then, to simplify the logic, we created two categories:

  • Market highlights
  • Innovation highlights

Also, to help you prioritize these 2024 learning systems predictions, we’ve included three indicators with each item:

  • Importance
  • Trend direction, and
  • A brief note about why the prediction matters…


Market Highlights: 2024 Learning Systems Predictions

The LMS market continues to change. It seems like it has been expanding forever. But many forces are working at cross purposes now, simultaneously slowing and accelerating that process. Which trends will define the landscape from a macro point of view? Here are my 2024 learning systems predictions for the market at large:


1. Innovation Outpaces Practical Uptake

Remember when organizations never stopped wanting more from their LMS? No more. Now, learning systems deliver continuous improvements. Not just one or two systems, but hundreds and hundreds of LMS solutions. This is not just about the arrival of AI. The breadth, depth and pace of innovation are astounding. Some advances come without any extra effort from a client. For example, cloud-based platforms build faster speed and fewer administrative clicks into incremental updates. But other new and updated features require clients to thoughtfully plan, prioritize, configure, implement and manage change. That’s not easy when resources are tight. And these days, training organizations are maxed out. Many are simply unable to take advantage of new functionality as fast as vendors develop it.

Importance: High
Trend Direction: Rising
Why Care? LMS replacement demand is slipping. After absorbing so much new functionality, organizations have hit a buying wall. This is inhibiting business growth for many learning systems. Notable exceptions are vendors focused on customer education and global expansion (discussed below).


2. Customer Education Continues to Surge

When I started publishing content about customer education in 2014, it was a lonely job. At the time, less than 15% of corporations offered a formal customer education program. Although I found vendors like Latitude Learning, NetExam, Thought Industries and Skilljar, which focus exclusively on customer and partner education, hundreds of other vendors largely ignored the segment. Today, it’s difficult to find an LMS vendor website that doesn’t claim to support customer education. And now, over 75% of North American corporations offer some level of customer education. Why is customer education so popular? As I’ve said for years, it is measurable. It’s also easy to observe and prove that customer education helps improve business performance. That’s why you’ll find customer education at the heart of many 2024 learning systems predictions.

Importance: High
Trend Direction: Rising Rapidly
Why Care? Customer education is the exception to declining demand for LMS replacement. Because requirements are unique (compared with employee-focused systems) and these platforms measurably contribute to business outcomes, customer education programs have ample motivation and resources to invest as they grow and evolve.


Which learning system is best for you? Check the 2024 RightFit Solution Grid, based on our team’s independent research! Learn more and get your free copy!


3. Customer Education Resources Proliferate

A good indicator of customer education market health is the growing collection of related resources. In addition to our Talented Learning Customer Education Resource Center, Customer Ed Nuggets Podcast and Weekly Newsletter, you’ll find many other great independent resources. For example, check out: Customer Education Org on Slack, the CE Lab Podcast and the Customer Education Community. There is also the non-profit association dedicated to the space — CEdMA or for great reads, look on Amazon for The Customer Education Playbook, Strategies for Effective Customer Education and CE: Why Smart Companies Profit by Making Customers Smarter. In addition, vendors are stepping up with excellent conferences, such as Docebo Inspire, Thought Industries Cognition and Skilljar Connect. Because customer education combines marketing and training, experts are coming from both disciplines. You can expect many more authoritative voices to surface with helpful insights and advice.

Importance: High
Trend Direction: Rising Rapidly
Why Care? Customer education blends multiple business functions to strengthen customer relationships throughout their lifecycle. Many professionals lack all the skills and knowledge for success in this fast-growing arena. But the flood of new resources can educate all.


4. LMS Products Morph Into Solutions

As learning platform replacement slows, vendors are building out their service teams to add value beyond their primary product. Learning content development, managed administration, fractional tech resources, instructional design, data analytics, graphic and video production, marketing and event management are just a few of the services some LMS vendors provide. If your organization needs services, this kind of partner can make your implementation shine, while making your life much easier. Service-oriented vendors to watch include Administrate, Absorb, BlueSky eLearn, Brainier, CD2 Learning, Docebo, DigitalChalk, D2L, Docebo, MyQuestNetExam, Platcore, Schoox, Skilljar, The Learning Network and many, many more.

Importance: Medium
Trend Direction: Rising
Why Care? Fractional service expertise from your LMS vendor can help propel your learning programs far faster and more cost-effectively than trying to add headcount.


5. AI Elevates Data Privacy and Security Concerns

Many organizations are tapping the brakes on full-scale AI deployment until they think through the data privacy, security and legal implications. Creating and managing appropriate policies is paramount for learning system vendors as well as buying organizations. Corporate learning systems will need to implement robust measures to protect sensitive employee information and ensure compliance with data protection regulations. A heightened focus on secure infrastructure and user authentication will be essential to build and maintain trust in these systems.

Importance: High
Trend Direction: No sizzle here, but everyone knows it’s the right thing to do.
Why Care?
AI is all fun and games until the EU and your learners sue you!


6. Global Customer/Partner Education Market Explodes

Customer/partner education outside North America presents a tremendous near-term growth opportunity for learning systems vendors. Why? Historically, North American LMS and online learning market trends run 5-10 years ahead of other regions. And since customer education adoption grew from 15% to 75% in North America over the past decade, it’s time to strap in for a rocket ride of global adoption. Which solutions are poised to take advantage of this expansion opportunity? Absorb, Brainer, CYPHER Learning, Cornerstone, D2L, Docebo, Eurekos, LearnUpon, Litmos, Schoox, Totara, Thought Industries and Valamis.

Importance: High for those outside North America
Trend Direction: Rising Rapidly
Why Care? While North American learning systems growth is slowing, growth is accelerating elsewhere. This opens the door for global solutions that can leverage the horsepower of multinational reach.


Find out how real-world companies are achieving more with learning systems that create business value. Get inspiration from dozens of success stories in our free LMS Case Study Directory


7. Market Consolidation Digs Deeper

With declining LMS replacement demand, something has to give. Expect consolidation of the market to provide that relief. It could come in the form of vendors trying to buy market share with like-and-like acquisitions such Litmos + Absorb or Docebo + Cypher Learning. Alternatively, we could see big players like Cornerstone, Docebo or Absorb acquire specialists in customer/partner or content-as-a-business learning solutions such as Thought Industries, Eurekos, Skilljar, LearningCart or Intellum. Or perhaps large customer service/support solutions like Totango, ZenDesk or Salesforce will buy customer education specialists. We saw a glimpse of this in 2023, when customer success giant Gainsight acquired Northpass LMS.

Importance: High
Trend Direction: Rising
Why Care? If you’re an LMS vendor, the chances are increasingly good that you’ll soon be involved in a merger or acquisition. As a result, many training organizations are likely to feel some aftershocks.


8. Measurement Doubles Down on Business Impact

Meaningful measurement is the holy grail of training. For over a decade, I’ve preached about the measurable nature of customer/partner education. It’s hard to find an externally focused training program that isn’t proving its business value. For decades, others have preached about measuring the impact of employee training, but methods and tools have been fuzzy at best. Now vendors like Docebo, MyQuest, aNewSpring, Administrate and Schoox are building effective measurement tools, workflows and processes. Bottom line: everything is becoming measurable. This means training can be a strategic addition to every corporate toolbox.

Importance: High
Trend Direction: Rising rapidly in customer/partner education, much more slowly in other use cases.
Why Care? For decades, HR/training folks whined about getting a seat at the executive table. Now that we’ve learned how to measure, we’re sitting up close and leaning in.


Innovation Highlights: 2024 Learning Systems Predictions

Next, let’s dig deeper into LMS features and functionality. What trends are truly innovative? What will dominate in the year ahead? Keep these 2024 learning systems predictions in mind:


1. Generative AI Changes the Content Authoring Game

Authoring great learning content has always been costly and time-consuming — until now. Countless gen-AI-inspired standalone tools and embedded LMS capabilities are already transforming workflows. You’ll find exciting ways to streamline course creation, enhance the learning experience, simplify training administration, manage support, facilitate translation and much more. Everything about content strategy, design, development and management is changing big time. Want to see powerful gen AI LMS innovation in action? Start with content creation demos from Code of Talent, Cypher Learning, Docebo, NetExam and D2L.

Importance: High
Trend Direction: Rising Rapidly
Why Care? Content development has always been time-consuming and expensive. If an organization can eliminate even 10% this time and cost, the tangible benefit can be huge!


2. AI: Not Just Generative Anymore

In addition to offering gen AI capabilities, learning systems are leveraging AI and machine learning in countless other ways to improve efficiency, reduce manual administration and make the learning process more relevant. What does this mean for 2024 learning systems predictions? Here’s just a taste of what’s becoming mainstream: content recommendations, transcription, skill tagging, performance support, coaching, deep content search, contextualized help, grading, proctoring, administrative error spotting, and so much more. In addition to vendors mentioned in above, other AI leaders include Administrate, Attensi, Brainier, CD2 Learning, DigitalChalk, Eurekos, Gyrus, Intellum, Interflexion, Litmos, LearningCart, LearnUpon, MyQuest, Neovation, Thought Industries and Workramp.

Importance: High
Trend Direction: Rising Rapidly. LMS vendors that aren’t inventing new AI applications are quickly losing relevance.
Why Care? Your LMS vendor’s current commitment to AI as an enabling technology will directly impact the quality, efficiency, cost and outcomes of your future learning programs.


Want a better way to manage the business of learning? Find vendor profiles, reviews, case studies and more in our free Learning Systems Directory


3. Can You Do It? Prove It!

Throughout history, learning has focused on knowledge transfer and assessment. But now, skills are driving job readiness, career development and talent mobility. So, how can people verify skills in an online learning world? Some platforms offer a variety of “do it, prove it, reinforce it” features and integrations that support and validate skills-based learning. This may include live hands-on activities or VR/AR simulations. For example, imagine a learner who wants to receive certification must demonstrate how to change a spark plug. This could also require proof of skills mastery through virtual activities. For instance, a salesperson may need to record a sales pitch, handle customer objections or walk through complex selling scenarios with an AI bot. Or some situations may integrate virtual labs so learners can practice, improve and prove skill proficiency. A growing number of learning systems can deliver, manage, support, track and report the status and outcomes of these skills-focused experiences. Who does it well? aNewSpring, BlueSky, Docebo, MyQuest, The Learning Network, 5app, Tenneo, NetExam, Jolly Deck, and many more.

Importance: High (but I’m an instructional and ROI nerd, so I’m biased).
Trend Direction: Rising
Why Care? If your organization likes to prove training program impact, then adding the confidence of skill proof to the equation will knock your measurement socks off.


4. The No-Code Integration Race Heats Up

No learning system is an island. All are part of a broader ecosystem. For custom integration, modern LMS vendors provide APIs. However, buyers prefer no-code integrations with named systems in customer service, e-commerce, CRM, SSO, content management, data analytics and more. No-code integration typically requires a username and password from the target system for a basic level of pre-established data exchange and workflow. LMS vendors differentiate based on the breadth of available integrations, depth of functionality and configurability. Not long ago, offering 10-20 productized integrations was special. But in recent years, vendors like Docebo, Absorb, D2L, and Cypher Learning have raised the bar much higher by partnering with Workato or Zapier to offer hundreds of integrations and even workflow logic.

Importance: High
Trend Direction: Rising
Why Care? Ecosystems matter. Finally, there’s a non-technical, economical way to hook all the pieces together, automate workflows and level up your extended enterprise learning programs.


5. Online Syndication Spreads

Increasingly, organizations want to extend learning interventions to people outside their LMS. Think about trackable, specific, adaptive learning content available at the time of need. But also think about delivering that experience within the context of any other system, product, device or LMS. For example, that could be Slack, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, HubSpot, your favorite customer service application, a mobile app, a proprietary software system, or even a customer’s LMS. Cool stuff. This isn’t a fantasy. It’s here. Systems that make it possible are available from companies like Absorb, Authentic Learning Labs, Docebo, NetExam, Course Container, LearningCart, LearnUpon, Rustici, Skilljar and Thought Industries.

Importance: High
Trend Direction: Rising
Why Care? Learning at the point of need has long been the promise of customer, partner and content-as-a-business education use cases. It has also been a persistent problem. Not anymore.


6. Losing Your LMS Head Gets Easier

Mom used to tell me I’d lose my head if it weren’t attached. I considered that a bad thing. But in terms of 2024 learning systems predictions, I think it’s kind of cool. Headless LMS technology lets organizations write their own custom front-end learning experience with powerful APIs and developer kits. This makes it possible to pull and push data automatically to and from an LMS and other platforms in an organization’s digital ecosystem. I predict headless LMS adoption will take hold in the coming year, as costs decrease and capabilities improve. Who will lead the way? For starters, Absorb, Administrate, Authentic Learning Labs, BlueSky eLearn, Cornerstone, Docebo, and Thought Industries.

Importance: Medium
Trend Direction: Rising, as technology improves and makes the process easier.
Why Care? For high-end learning providers, custom solutions are always in style. Now, the high-end is being democratized. As more organizations are empowered to think “outside the box,” headless will be “in.”


7. Training Management Systems Find ROI

One of the last areas to unlock ROI involves ILT, VILT and hybrid training scheduling. Most LMSs (even big boys like Cornerstone, Saba and SumTotal) need to partner with a training management system to coordinate high-volume, multi-session, recurring or global training operations. Without a TMS, it’s insanely difficult to schedule a quarterly or annual training calendar with 100s or 1000s of course instances, locations, instructors, training materials, equipment, hotels, meals, vacations, travel, labs, e-commerce and other elements. Spreadsheets and manual administration are woefully inadequate. Because this process is so complicated, the TMS corner of the learning system market doesn’t receive much airtime. But for those who benefit, it makes a massive difference. TMS providers Administrate and Training Orchestra are at the forefront.

Importance: Indispensable for those who need it
Trend Direction: Moderate interest
Why Care? You can’t afford not to have a TMS if your organization depends upon a complex ecosystem, multiple LMSs with shared content and processes, or high-volume ILT, VILT or hybrid training.

A Final Note on 2024 Learning Systems Predictions

There you have it — my top 2024 learning systems predictions. These 15 hot trends will shape the year ahead. It’s a lot. However, I think this list is proof that exciting times are on the horizon. Agree? Which will matter most to your organization? How prepared are you to make the most of these opportunities? Ready or not, here they come…

Thanks for reading!


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About the Author: John Leh

John Leh is Founder, 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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