Next-Generation Learning is on the Rise but Don't Abandon Traditional Learning Yet

While traditional, compliance-driven learning won’t be leaving the building anytime soon, next-generation learning functionality — focused on casual, continuous, bite-size, and user-contributed content — is taking center stage with many buyers.

In fact, 94% of learning buyers in our recent research believe that the working style of employees is different today and that new approaches and technologies are needed.

As much as we love some of the new ideas and knowledge driving new ways of learning, traditional learning isn’t going away. For those in compliance-heavy industries such as heavy manufacturing, financial services, and airlines, it is onerous — if not impossible — to get around course-based, traditional training. The costs are nothing to shake your head at. Just last year, Wal-Mart was fined $82 million over the mishandling of hazardous waste. The cause? Poorly trained employees who were caught dumping bleach and fertilizer into trash cans and drains.

The question is: How can learning professionals manage both traditional and informal learning?

One way is through better integration, where only 1% of buyers have their learning systems fully integrated. We see three ways forward for most organizations: 

  1. The continuing march to the single suite. According to Brandon Hall Group, nearly 20 percent are pursuing this strategy. Putting everything on one platform with Oracle, SAP, and IBM means that learning solutions can integrate with talent and HCM solutions. SumTotal also has a full suite of HCM solutions and can integrate learning and talent with core HR using the virtual system of record on its elixHR platform.
  2. A renaissance for best-of-breed solutions. For some organizations (23 percent by Brandon Hall Group’s estimation), using a stand-alone LMS — or even multiple systems — may be the only way to get essential functionality. The stand-alone cloud LMS will continue into the future with strong entries from Saba, Cornerstone OnDemand, and SilkRoad. Industry-specific solutions such as Net Dimensions, Meridian, and HealthcareSource will continue to be strong performers in regulated industries. The golden rule in this segment will be scoring high in the “plays well with others” area. Open standards will need to move these solutions closer to plug-and-play integration with talent solutions.
  3. The rise of alternative platforms. Don’t underestimate the opportunity for the Force.com platform to be a viable integration route for some organizations. Specialized functionality then becomes the role of an application ecosystem, rather than full-blown solutions. Salesforce already has a handful of apps that focus on talent management, but platforms that have apps that can be plugged in the same way an app on a smartphone can have a compelling proposition. Now Cornerstone OnDemand is already Salesforce- ready, and don’t be surprised if others follow.

Ready to see how else organizations will adapt to changing conditions in learning? Download the full report, "The Enterprise Learning Buyer, 2014" today!