Published On: December 26, 2018By
What were the most popular LMS blog posts, webinars and podcasts of 2018? Find out in the annual recap from independent analyst John Leh of Talented Learning

Another year is drawing to a close – already? Hard to believe, but the calendar doesn’t lie. So as you prepare for what’s ahead, join me as I reflect on topics that mattered most to the extended enterprise learning community in 2018.

If I could choose a keyword to describe this year’s learning systems landscape, it would be “dynamic.” At every turn, new issues, opportunities and solutions have been vying for the market’s attention. Never a dull moment, for sure. It’s a huge challenge for anyone trying to make sense of it all. But that’s what we love to do.

Regular readers know that this blog isn’t the only way we share advice with learning technology buyers and sellers. We also produce monthly webinars and podcasts featuring conversations with leading practitioners and innovators.

Below is a round-up of the most popular content we’ve produced this year across all three categories. Plus, in honor of our 5th anniversary, we’ve added a bonus section to highlight our most popular posts of all time.

We hope you find this “greatest hits” list helpful as you prepare to navigate through 2019 and beyond. See you on the other side!


Top 3 Podcasts of 2018

This year we launched our new podcast series, The Talented Learning Show to showcase one-on-one conversations with experts from across the learning technology community. Of the 16 episodes we’ve produced, these three sessions attracted nearly twice the typical audience:

#3  Modernizing Certification Programs – with Arleen Thomas of AICPA

How do associations develop profitable learner-centered online education programs? How can certification better serve young professionals? And how can this educational content be leveraged to help existing members update their knowledge and skills?

Arleen Thomas shares her experience as Managing Directory of Chartered Global Management Accountant certification at AICPA.

#2  The Business Benefits of xAPI – with Mike Rustici of Watershed

What is xAPI? How does it improve learning analytics? And what business benefits should you expect when educating customers or others outside of your organization?

Mike Rustici, one of the chief architects behind xAPI, talks about how this emerging standard is redefining learning measurement and advancing training initiatives for businesses in all industries.

#1  Gamification and Learning in Business – with Karl Kapp

How do gamification and learning strategies work together to improve business results? What real-world impact do simulations deliver? How can organizations get started with gamification?

We explore real-world solutions in-depth with one of today’s foremost gamification experts, Dr. Karl Kapp.


Top 3 Webinars of 2018

As soon as we finish our monthly live webinar events, we post the recordings in the Talented Learning Center – a free library of low-hype, high-value, on-demand resources. All sessions are designed for business-minded professionals who want to make better use of their learning systems. To sample our webinars, try three of this year’s most popular sessions:

#3  Franchise Performance and the Modern LMS

What role does learning technology innovation play in franchise business success? Listen and learn as learning leaders from International Dairy Queen and Hooters of America share their experiences and advice in this expert panel discussion.

#2  Customer Education Meets Customer Success – Understanding Integration

How can you realize measurable results by combining the power of a modern customer-focused learning platform with a customer relationship management platform (CRM) like Salesforce?

Sandi Lin, CEO and Co-Founder at Skilljar, shares practical, proven insights for learning professionals who want to drive business results by educating customers more effectively.

#1  Building Successful Learning Experiences

What can associations do to develop more profitable learner-centered online education programs? Get useful insights from examples discussed in this roundtable with practitioners from New Teacher Center and the American Institute of CPAs.


Top 3 Blog Posts of 2018

Blogging was our first form of outreach – and our commitment to this blog remains stronger than ever. When people like you take time to read and respond to our posts, it helps us better understand how learning technology actually fits into the business world. These topics attracted the strongest interest this year:

#3  Association Learning Systems: Why and How to Invest in a Specialized LMS

Does your member-based organization want to provide more valuable education to more people – and charge more for it – so you can fund continued expansion?

You may be ready for a specialized association learning system. Find out why this kind of solution is so useful and how to make it work.

#2  Best Customer Education Blogs: 25 Must-Reads for Learning Professionals

Companies everywhere are striving to gain a competitive edge by improving their customer experience. As a result, interest in customer education is skyrocketing.

But with so many voices in the burgeoning customer training space, where should you look for credible advice about strategies, technologies and business practices? Check our choices from some of the best minds in the industry!

#1  Top Learning Systems Trends to Watch in 2018

Hands-down, year after year, our most popular posts focus on learning technology trends. Although we don’t pretend to forecast the future, we do share first-hand observations about factors that influence extended enterprise learning systems.

As you prepare for the year ahead, consider the 18 trends we outlined early in 2018. How many of these are shaping your learning experiences? And going forward, what kind of role are they likely to play?


BONUS: Top Blog Posts of All Time

With 5 years of blogging under our belts, which posts have attracted the most attention, by far?

#3  For LMS Vendors: Why It Pays to Wake Up to Extended Enterprise Learning

If you’ve been following us, you know that we serve both sides of the learning systems negotiating table – buyers and sellers, alike. We hope that helping learning systems vendors elevate their game will improve their solutions, as well as the relationships they develop with prospects and customers.

In this case, we shine a light on business opportunities in the extended enterprise market.

#2  Defining Your LMS Requirements Like a Pro

The best way to find a learning system that works for your organization is to start with a strong set of requirements. As consultants, we’ve seen far too many situations where buyers neglected this step, with disastrous results.

Requirements definition isn’t complex, but it does take a desire to understand your learning audiences and related use cases. This guide walks you through each phase in the process.

#1  The 3 Licensing Models of an LMS (or Any Enterprise Software)

Interestingly, our most popular post of all time was a smash hit right out of the gate in April of 2014. Since then, it has continued to attract more daily activity than any other post we’ve published.

Why has software licensing intelligence attracted so much attention? Here’s our theory: we were among the first independent sources of information about learning systems pricing issues and trends.

We believe it’s important to educate the market about how to make informed technology choices, and pricing transparency is a key to software selection success. Readers seem to agree.



The first 5 years at Talented Learning have coincided with a remarkably eventful stage in the evolution learning systems. Clearly, 2018 contributed its fair share of highs and lows. But as your eyes and ears in this dynamic market, we’re only beginning to hit our stride!

What should you expect from us in the future? Even more fiercely independent, boots-on-the-ground blogs, webinars, product reviews, podcasts and reports to help you create business value from extended enterprise learning.

If you want to see more coverage of specific topics, contact us anytime with suggestions or feedback. We’re always interested in ideas that help us serve you better.

Thanks for reading!


Technology vs. Innovation: Association Learning Strategies in Practice

AI. AR. VR. Digital breakthroughs like these are capturing headlines every day. Clearly, these innovations are promising. But many associations are focused on making the most of learning technologies that are already in place.

So how are these resourceful organizations actually transforming member learning experiences?

Join John Leh, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning, and Michelle Brien, VP Marketing at WBT Systems, as they explore real-world examples and discuss innovation strategies that will help you create lasting value. You’ll discover:

  • The push/pull relationship between technology and change
  • How to develop an innovation roadmap that works for your organization
  • Tips for creating a business case your board will support
  • How to avoid missteps when expanding your learning technology stack
  • Guidelines for measuring results



Need Proven LMS Selection Guidance?

Looking for a learning platform that truly fits your organization’s needs?  We’re here to help!  Submit the form below to schedule a free preliminary consultation at your convenience.

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About the Author: John Leh

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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