The State of Learning Technology

The title of Josh Bersin’s Tuesday morning session at the 15th annual HR Technology® Conference in Chicago asks the question, “Learning Systems: Where Are We Now?”  Well, if you’re an HR leader, the short answer might be at a much better place than we were 15 years ago, when this conference came into being.

Back then, social tools, collaboration and mobile technologies weren’t a part of the conversation. But today they obviously are.

Bersin noted that your best employees are trying to learn all the time. “I was talking to a CHRO of a large multinational earlier this morning about what makes great leaders,” he said. “What he concluded is that people on high-performing teams manage themselves differently. They hold themselves more accountable. And they’re always trying to learn.”

Thanks to technology, he added, continuous development is now possible.

Bersin cited YouTube videos—one of “the best learning tools” available—as examples. “When I wanted to figure out how to put a SIM card into my BlackBerry, I went to YouTube, typed in ‘SIM card’ and ‘install’ and learned how to put it in,” he said.

“Forward-thinking companies are asking themselves how they can create YouTube-like experiences for their employees—where anyone can create a video asset and make it available. That’s what young people expect today.”

Ideally, Bersin said, the LMS is the perfect place to make formal and informal learning happen.

The learning management system have morphed from being a place where businesses “tracked training” to the place where “people learn,” Bersin added.

“Most of the administrative features are available in every LMS these days,” Bersin said. “Where you see differentiation is in the [learning experience].”

Bersin also devoted a portion of his presentation discussing the state of the LMS vendor landscape, sharing a list of current market-share leaders—SumTotal, SAP, Oracle, Cornerstone OnDemand and Saba.