There are a few reasons for deferring our 9-Grid™ analysis of the Learning Authoring Systems market which usually launches in at the beginning of the year. We’ve had a number of questions about it and some of these reasons are positive about the market, and some less so. But our goal is to raise the bar on what has started to become a shallow conversation around a limited suite of tools, which have too little differentiation.

So, where are we today?

Overall, the authoring market has continued to grow and the use of tools to develop e-learning courses is well established, even if what is produced is often tactical and to some extent disposable. Few e-learning courses have an active, high use shelf life of more than two years in our experience. Often, they are shelved after a year to 18 months. This has lead many buyers to focus on rapid development and transactional desktop tools like Articulate, rather than having a coherent authoring strategy.

More enlightened users have long preferred collaborative authoring tools, which enable them to develop their learning content using the Cloud, and manage their content more flexibly – both in terms of content production and ongoing maintenance. But the strategic management of content is still the exception rather than the rule. And this might account for the stagnation we see in the LCMS (Learning Content Management Systems) market, which appears to be for the few rather than the many.

The issue for buyers is that the relentless focus on e-learning courses seems to have generated little significant differentiation in the solutions. The range of content types and the ability to generate broader technology-enabled learning experiences has equally stalled and frankly, does not often match the wider expectations modern learners have from their content and learning process.

Add to that rapid growth in video-based learning (66% of learning professionals planning to increase their usage this year), user generated content (60%), microlearning (59%) – and our old definitions of what authoring is no longer seems to measure up to what the world around us needs it to be.

Where do we want to be tomorrow?

So, what we’ve decided to do at Fosway is look more deeply at the content development and management options that are available. We are attempting to re-invigorate the decision processes buyers go through because a growing number of organisations are demanding much more than e-learning and the traditional view of the market isn’t delivering this.

The choices ultimately are not just about does an authoring tool ‘do’ mobile and assessments – there is a richer debate we need to map, which includes:

  • How do I create a coherent content strategy?
  • What role do authoring tools have in designing and enabling learning experience?
  • What solutions ecosystem do I need to manage and deliver content?
  • How do those approaches support agile organisations with agile learning
  • How do microlearning, webinars, virtual meetings, video, search, performance support, assessments, workflow support, measurement, analytics, AI and collaboration fit together?
  • What is the future balance of traditional e-learning with a new broader definition of authoring that includes user generated content and more?
  • Can e-learning content support a sustainable multi-channel, personalised learning experience, which is data driven and nudges continuous improvement?

From here on in, we will no longer profile e-learning authoring systems alone. We want to start to highlight a broader ecosystem for authoring learning; blow up what it means today, so we can help buyers build the fresh, more impactful solutions ecosystem they need in order to be successful into 2025.

What should you look out for?

Our profiling will start in Q1 2018 and we will aim to have some provisional news about the NEW 9-Grids™ in June, with a launch in 2019. It will be a deep and through examination.

As always, if you have any solutions you think we should consider and any experience in this space you like share with us, drop us a line!

And in the meantime, we’d love to hear your views on this. How are you using authoring tools in your organisation? Do they fit your vision of content creation in the future? Let us know in the comments.