ELearning Market Update November 2010

This month we take a look at the LMS market and the reasons we decided to create Totara LMS, a distribution of Moodle for corporate organizations.

According to Bersin, the prominent US commentators on all matters elearning and LMS, the LMS market - which will reach nearly $1 billion this year - is a growing, fragmented enterprise software market. Bersin estimates that the overall market is growing at around 10% this year, and around twice this rate among mid-market buyers.

Corporate enterprises of all sizes need training and learning management systems as these systems manage the business-critical work of training employees, customers, partners, and resellers, and tracking and recording their progress. &

According to Bersin "We believe the LMS market is going through a rebirth as companies realize they need platforms for formal and informal learning, collaboration, knowledge sharing, content and document management, and development planning in the same platform. ...The market is undergoing a renaissance, in fact, as organizations look to these systems to also implement social learning, knowledge management, and integrated talent management."

We would agree that there is a real need for solid enterprise level learning platforms which have a rich range of functionality but which are also cost-effective, which has pushed many companies to look at open source options such as Moodle.

The latest report from the Elearning Guild noted the rise of Moodle in their LMS survey:

  • The top-three LMS applications in use by all respondents were Moodle, Blackboard, and TotalLMS. “Although initially considered primarily an academic LMS, Moodle has quickly gained ground with a corporate audience.”
  • Only 62% of respondents said that their LMS lived up to vendor promises.
  • Moodle garnered the most satisfaction for ease of installation, cost, reporting capabilities, time to implement, living up to promises,assessment capabilities, and measuring business impact.
  • Moodle scored less well in a number of functional areas such as ERP/HR system integration.

Moodle in corporates - some sticking points

Overall there has been a lot of interest in Moodle, and in the ability of open source software to reduce costs and deliver greater functionality. Whilst Moodle use has grown significantly in the corporate sector there have been a number of perceived drawbacks with Moodle including:

  • Lack of reporting capabilities
  • Poor integration with ERP/HR systems
  • Course centric approach
  • Lack of inbuilt roles for managers and teams, as opposed to course tutors and groups
  • Difficult to import competencies and to create learning paths for organizational roles
  • Limited classroom management and self-service for face to face events
Totara LMS - designed for business

Whilst we love Moodle, we have been well aware of these issues at Kineo and many of our custom projects have been designed specifically to improve performance in these areas. We were therefore excited when Moodle Partners Catalyst and Flexible Learning approached us to work with them to develop a corporate version of Moodle. The result is Totara LMS, a custom distribution of Moodle designed specifically to address the need of corporate organizations. The extended features we have developed to make Totara work for the corporate sector include:

  • Competencies & roles
  • Individual development plan
  • Team management
  • Classroom management
  • Content management
  • HR/ERP/CRM integration
  • Social learning
  • Dashboard
  • Report builder

Will Totara LMS shake up the corporate LMS market? Is there demand for a corporate version of Moodle? We will report back early in the new year. Watch this space! Or actually, watch this site.

By Steve Rayson