Informal Learning- Battle of D2L, Degreed, EdCast, & NovoEd
By Jim Lundy
This blog could be titled “The End of the LMS” and it wouldn’t be far from the truth.
The demand by end users for better and faster access to learning content is fueling a new generation of learning providers. Most focus on the need for compelling and just-in-time content. This blog discusses this trend and the rise of a new generation of learning providers, including D2L, Degreed, EdCast, NovoEd, and many others.
The State of Learning
Having covered learning for years, the buyers in learning and development were enamored with the LMS because it was the system of record. The business users were still on the hook to launch products and train their users and they never lost sight of the need for compelling content.
This is one of the reasons that LMS vendors are racing to update their offerings to compete with the newer upstarts. Suffice it to say, collaborative learning (a.k.a. social learning) is a hot topic.
The focus is now on content and learners want all kinds of it. Lynda (now part of Microsoft/LinkedIn) helped to pioneer the good-enough content approach and today, everyone can publish a how-to video.
Enterprises are reacting to this and are looking for alternatives to big box LMSs and talent suites. Everyone wants a corporate Netflix for their learners and new providers are stepping up. We discuss all the learning trends in our brand new research for 2017 (see Five Learning Trends for 2017: Content, Collaboration, and Digital Assistants).
D2L: Making Learning More Engaging
D2L or Desire to Learn is based in Canada and they got their start in higher education. They are bringing their informal learning expertise to the corporate world. They actually have a full LMS, but their main focus is informal learning and the content that helps people learn.
For example, in the most recent release of BrightSpace, they now do video assignments, such as a “student” delivering a role play. D2L has a large K-16 install-base. Their move into corporate learning is well-received so far. We saw this firsthand when we attended their large customer event in August.
Degreed: All About Content and Experience
Degreed is running a West Coast offense on learning. It is all about content and experience. Degreed is making it easy to aggregate content into a compelling user experience. With $26 million in Series B funding, they are off to the races to push the LMS to the side and they are seeing significant traction in accounts we have spoken with.
The reason that they are winning is that they have enough of the tracking features in an LMS (i.e., LMS Lite) that an enterprise can make the call to focus more on learning content. One of the things that buyers like about Degreed is its ability to quickly pull together content from multiple sources.
EdCast: Video and Social Learning
EdCast is a newer learning provider that is also West Coast-based. Fresh off of a Series B Round of $16 million, EdCast CEO Karl Mehta is pushing hard to put EdCast on the map.
One of the early capabilities pushed by EdCast was video sessions by experts who could also collaborate with learners. Their recent move to add content aggregation and their major marketing push should help them win more deals.
NovoEd: Going Beyond MOOCs
NovoEd, which just announced its new learning platform, got its start at Stanford University a few years back when MOOCs were hot. Today, with a new battle-tested CEO Ed Miller, who helped to scale Blackboard, NovoEd is ready for the battle to be your collaborative learning platform.
One of the things we like about NovoEd is that the platform is intuitive and easy to use. It is clear they have been doing significant product work as the company has grown. NovoEd is focusing on both corporate learning and the executive education areas, where they count Stanford, Berkeley Haas, and the University of Virginia as customers.
Of course, there are many other emerging players who are answering the cry for more informal learning. These include Allego, Grovo, QStream, Twil, Zavango, and all of the MOOCs like Coursera.
The bottom line is that learning is breaking out from talent suites. It has always been about content and now, business users get that. 2017 promises to be a year of change in learning. Look for the new ways to learn and check out how some of the new providers are making learning easy and fun.
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