Fosway 9-Grid Report for Learning Systems: Three Key Takeaways

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The Learning Systems market is confusing. This is not breaking news, we know. But in 2022 it seems more crowded, fragmented and more vibrant than ever. To navigate your way through the LMS and LXP waters, we’d always recommend turning to Fosway. Their 9-Grid Report on Learning Systems, published a few weeks ago is an invaluable resource to learning professionals, buyers and all who are looking to make the right Learning System decisions for their organizations. We’re delighted to be included as a core leader, alongside over 15 of our partners:

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The report goes well beyond this valuable ranking and assessment of the key players in Learning Systems. Here are some of the key findings from the report, and our take.

 

1. We’re not going back to before 

Fosway’s research shows that ‘for 95% of organizations, learning would not return to how it was before the pandemic.’ 

As the world gradually comes out of the worst of the pandemic, it seems we’ve collectively reached a conclusion about work, and learning. Where those things happen doesn’t really matter. What does matter is staying connected, staying up to date with the latest developments inside and outside your organization, and having the tools and information that make this easy. 

A side-effect of Covid was an upturn in the use of collaboration platforms. Progressive learning systems recognise this. They integrate with the other tools we’ve all been using, such as Slack and MS Teams. They push relevant, timely content into the right workflow channels and platforms at the right time. The trend was already in play before the world changed and  there’s no going back on it now. The learning system needs to be part of the wider ecosystem we all operate in, helping us collaborate and stay up to date. This is why we’re seeing these platforms as hubs of externally curated content from the web, bringing the best of the outside world into the workflow. 

 

2. Solve for skills, make it personal

It’s been top of the list for a while now: the shift from learning and content to skills for performance. The former are enablers of the latter. As the report says, “Skills continue to be the biggest business-critical topic affecting all of HR – from recruitment to learning, performance to talent retention. Managing skills has become critical for learning system roadmaps too…expect skills to be the headline act for 2022.”

But what skills? Two years ago, leading a remote workforce was somewhat esoteric as a skill set. Now it’s one of the core leadership requirements. We all need to stay alert to the continuously shifting skills that our learners need to develop. 

The key is to make it personal. Personalization is called out in the report as a trend, but as the report notes, it needs to go well beyond “personalization tick the box through roles, groups, and location.’

True personalisation means letting learners correctly assess what skills they need to develop, both in response to their own development needs, and those of the workplace. Then ensure there’s genuinely useful recommendations to the relevant content, continuously updated, to meet the demand for skills development. 

Skills frameworks can help, and we’ve used several to curate content for thousands of skills. But frameworks, and the underlying content to address them need to stay up to date. Curated external content, aligned to  critical skills, is one way to provide an agile response to emerging skills in any organization. 

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Example of a skills-based integration, with  our curation tool  powering intelligent recommendations and up  to date content based on users’ skill requirements. 

 

3. Ecosystem-ness is a thing: Buyers want it all out of the box 

The learning market, like most others, has a skills and talent challenge. As the report says, innovation can be compromised if one organization tries to build it all themselves with a lack of developer and specialist talent. 

The report rightly continues a distinction between Learning Suites (platforms aiming to be one-stop shops) and Specialists (tools that focus on a specific challenge). No surprise to see the continued collaboration this year between Suites and Specialists, to address talent and capacity gaps and drive innovation. As the report notes, ‘Specialist vendors are partnering with suites to increase their channels to market and fill gaps in product offerings, some developing joint roadmaps.’

That’s our story at Anders Pink in one quote. As a specialist in curation (the only one on the 9-Grid, and we’re delighted to be a core leader), we’ve partnered with over 15 Learning Suites on the Grid, and many others, to bring automated external curation into their platforms. It adds value to their platforms, responds to client demand for curation, and accelerates their innovation roadmap. As our partners have said to us, there’s no point in building a feature if you can do a smart integration with a specialist.

But: It has to work out of the box. Buyers don’t have the capacity to manage APIs and other integration methods. They expect the work to be done and the wiring to be hidden. As the report notes: “Building integrations requires integrators, i.e. developers and other people to build and maintain them…that is non-trivial…the more this ecosystem-ness is out of the box, the better off all buyers will be.’

This is why a lot of our effort with partners goes into deep integration work. Together, we find the right use case for curation within the platform, design an integration that makes it easy and seamless for admins and learners, and make it a core part of the platform, with zero development effort for buyers. That’s non-trivial for sure, but it’s vital if the ecosystem is going to truly work for them.

 

Anyone who has an eye on the Learning Systems market needs to keep an eye on Fosway’s 9-Grid reports. We’re delighted to be included, both in our own right as a core leader and specialist in curation, and through our smart integrations with so many Learning platforms on the grid. Thanks to David, Fiona and the whole team for the insights in the report. 

If you’d like to find out more about how we can partner with you to add automated, AI-powered curation to your platform and learning experience, get in touch. We’d love to talk. 

 



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