Published On: January 1, 2017By
Learning technology blogs: an analyst's reading list includes LMS vendor blogs. Here's why

When you need solid advice about learning strategy and technology, which blogs come to mind? Are any LMS vendors on that list? Or do you dismiss them because you assume they’re too self-serving?

If you’ve been ignoring LMS vendor blogs, it’s time to take a closer look.

I’m not an LMS vendor. But as an independent analyst, I spend my days investigating which companies excel at driving learning technology forward. And I’m increasingly impressed by the quality of content in some LMS blogs.

For smart vendors, a blog is not another way to manipulate you with product marketing messages or achieve keyword dominance in search engines. Instead, they want to add value by helping you stay ahead of the technology curve. They want to be a relevant, useful voice in today’s learning community conversation. And they want to earn your trust.

LMS vendors offer a goldmine of thought-provoking guidance, if you’re willing to look for it. Here’s proof!

The list below features some of the best posts we’ve uncovered this year. Although it’s only a tiny fraction of published content, I hope these insights pique your interest, and inspire you to put LMS vendors high on your “learning technology blogs to watch” list in 2017…

Aligning Learning Strategy and Technology

Build vs. Buy: How to Make a Stress-Free Software Decision
Administrate CEO John Peebles explores the factors that determine the success or failure of custom solutions and off-the-shelf software. Then he adds unvarnished insider advice about related myths and realities. A must-read for learning technology decision makers.

7 Tips to Avoid the Hidden Costs of LMS Implementation
As a learning technology selection consultant, I’ve seen how easy it is to get caught up in LMS features and functionality. But it’s equally vital to consider what you’ll need to successfully deploy a platform in your environment. Docebo explains how to avoid unexpected implementation costs.

10 Common Myths About Open Source
Open source LMS Totara topped our list of 2016 learning industry thought leaders. The Totara blog is one reason why. Weekly posts explore multiple topics, including best practices in onboarding, compliance training, social learning and LMS reporting, and of course, definitive open source thought leadership. This is post is a strong example.

What is a Learning Portal and How is it Different From an LMS?
Over the years, it seems that the concept of “portals” has come in and out of favor multiple times. But what should learning professionals understand about the power of portals in today’s environment? NetDimensions SVP Strategy and Design, Gray Fowler, explains.

Can Centralized and Decentralized Online Training Co-Exist?
This is an interesting question. Is it counterintuitive to think of training as both centralized and decentralized? Under what conditions is this approach attractive? Learning strategist Gauri Reyes shares her perspectives on the Mindflash blog.

Customer Learning

Pricing Strategies That Maximize Software Training Sales
Bill Cushard is a brilliant business strategist who understands the relationship between learning, software adoption and customer success. He regularly contributes to the blog at Learndot, as well as its sister company, ServiceRocket. This post stands out because it underscores Bill’s ability to blend big-picture thinking with practical “how-to” details.

7 Problems You’ll Face As You Scale Customer Training
Educated customers are the foundation of a successful business. But what challenges should you expect as you expand your customer onboarding and training programs? Skilljar CEO Sandi Lin outlines common issues and suggests appropriate solutions.

Why a CRM Will Boost Your Sales and Marketing
Learning management systems and customer relationship management share a symbiotic relationship — yet they serve very different purposes. Accessplanit Managing Director Dave Evans explains what learning professionals should know about the characteristics that set a CRM platform apart from an LMS, and the benefits of using a CRM to support marketing and sales.

Sales Channel and Partner Success

Why On-Demand Economy Companies Know Service Provider Training is Mission-Critical
Companies like Uber, GrubHub and Airbnb are at the center of a profound shift in the way services are delivered. These organizations depend on a fluid, far-flung workforce of independent contractors to provide consistent, satisfying customer experiences. But how do you design, manage and deliver training in this brave new world? Schoolkeep Head of Marketing, Rabecka Krill, offers ideas.

Supporting a Growing Sales Channel Throughout its Lifecycle
If you look through the lens of LogicBay, a learning management system should operate more like a partner relationship management system. How can this kind of customized training technology equip your channel to market and sell products on your behalf? Seth Jacobsen Director of Business Development talks about how it enhances any stage in a partner relationship.

4 Sales Enablement Performance Metrics (And How To Improve Them)
What’s the point of investing in a sales enablement platform and content strategy, unless you establish appropriate performance standards and measure business outcomes? The MindTickle blog regularly publishes posts like this, with practical advice to help learning leaders move the meter.

Managing an Online Learning Business

Learner Lifetime Value: Key Metric in Scaling a High-Margin Learning Business
Thought Industries CEO Barry Kelly is a customer learning champion, marketer and digital learning innovator. His career has focused on helping brands and content organizations promote and grow their training businesses. In this post, he examines four key factors that determine “learner lifetime value” and suggests how to make them work in your favor.

7 Ways an LMS Beats an eCommerce Platform for Selling Online Courses
eLogic Learning regularly shares tips designed for commercial training businesses and corporate learning leaders who want to make the most of their elearning and LMS investments. Often, the writers investigate common learning technology misperceptions and set the record straight. This post is an excellent example.

How to Design a Digital Badge Strategy
We’ve all seen LMS vendors deliver high-level, snack-sized marketing messages that don’t really satisfy the interests of today’s learning community. But WBT Systems puts its subject matter experts front-and-center to educate prospects and customers. For example, in this post, Lead UX and Design Architect, James Sheil, explains step-by-step how associations can leverage digital badges and micro-credentials to bridge the gap between education and the professional skills employers desire.

Continuing Education

Engage Association Members by Bringing Together Community and Online Learning
Abila’s editorial strategy focuses on more than just isolated blog posts. Every topic is supported by a collection of related content elements (such as a webinar, survey report, whitepaper and/or infographic), along with related posts. For example, this post explores one aspect of a fascinating member engagement study Abila recently conducted.

Why Web Service is the Most Business-Critical Feature of a Continuing Education LMS
Sometimes it’s helpful to illustrate complex concepts with a “show and tell” approach. This post from the EthosCE blog is a great example of how high-level learning strategy and advanced technology can work together to help continuing education providers achieve powerful business results.

Workforce Learning and Performance

How Knowledge Networks Minimize Risk for Organizations
In this era of business and market disruption, how can an organization “futureproof” its workforce? According to EdCast VP of Marketing and Account Management, Jeffrey Roth, your best bet is to keep employees highly connected and informed. In this post, he outlines the four characteristics that make robust knowledge networks effective.

The 3 Most Important Questions for Your Digital Learning Strategy
Degreed has been getting a lot of buzz for its innovative “lifelong learning platform” — and with good reason. This year, the company committed to leading by example, by hiring its own high-profile CLO, Kelly Palmer. In this post, Kelly identifies the three pillars of successful learning in modern organizations.

4 Dimensions of Adaptive Learning
Speaking of knowledgeable spokespeople, Axonify’s JD Dillon is a fantastic ambassador for the concept of adaptive learning. Here, he explains why organizations should move beyond personalization to embrace truly adaptive learning principles as a foundation for workforce development.

Understanding Learning Experience Analytics
In recent years, we’ve heard a lot about the emerging xAPI specification that lets learning content and systems track all types of activities and record them in a learning record store (LRS). Mike Rustici, CEO of Watershed LRS, has played a pivotal role in xAPI development. This is one of many posts he has developed to educate the learning community about how to leverage the power of distributed learning and experience analysis.

Performance Is More Than Support: Learning Technology
We need more pioneers who not only are breaking new ground in the learning technology space, but also are able to articulate why it matters. In this post, WillowDNA co-founder, Lisa Minogue-White, connects the dots between emerging xAPI capabilities, cloud LMS technology advances, and techniques that promote workforce learning engagement.

Do you need expert guidance to choose a modern LMS that will help you drive revenue and profit?  Check out our services for LMS Buyers!

Learn More! On-Demand Webinar:

The Economics of LMS Replacement

Stuck with a learning management system that no longer meets your needs? Do you pay for annual maintenance and hosting, but haven’t upgraded in years, and rarely use tech support? Want to expand your learning program reach to customers, channel partners or others, but can’t afford the incremental licenses? Ready to move up to a new solution, but unsure about what it should cost? If any of these scenarios are familiar, this webinar is for you.

Join Talented Learning lead analyst and CEO, John Leh, as he shows you how to take charge of the LMS replacement process and lead your organization into the modern learning age. You’ll get insider perspectives and research-backed insights to help you overcome internal inertia, speak the business language of executives and get approval to replace your LMS.   In this ffast-paced information packed session, you will learn how to:

– Analyze what you’re currently spending (and why)
– Define what you need in a new LMS
– Outline the best license model for your intended use
– Develop realistic budget expectations
– Create a business case your stakeholders can support
– Find vendor intelligence you can trust

Replay this on-demand webinar now!

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About the Author: Kathleen Kruse

Kathleen "KK" Kruse has been exploring communication, innovation and business dynamics for more than 20 years. As an independent consultant, she focuses on the space where humans and digital technology intersect - including content strategy, learning, user experience and information design, community building and social media. A storyteller at heart, KK blends analytical insight, creative vision, and the power of the English language to define and develop narratives that are relevant, useful and persuasive. Her efforts have won credibility and market momentum for some of the world’s most innovative companies, such as Adobe, Apple, Netscape and Yahoo! You can connect with KK on Twitter at (@kkruse) or on LinkedIn at in/kathleenkruse.

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