A central part of our role as industry analysts at Fosway is to understand and make sense of the evolution of technology and ongoing shifts in the market. To that end, the Fosway 9-Grids™ were launched five years ago to much interest from e-learning buyers and providers alike. But the demands organisations and learners alike are making of this technology are changing. There remains sustained demand for technology-led learning solutions across Europe and beyond. But the fundamental nature of the requirements is shifting. Providers now offer broader and broader solutions that include much more than e-learning alone. The impact of the growth in workplace, social and collaborative learning and focus on learner engagement mean that more and more buyers are looking for a complete digital learning experience.

Fosway 9-Grid - Digital Learning 2017This shift is bringing greater complexity to buying decisions

As our director of research, David Perring, will testify ‘Buyers now need to evaluate a plethora of ever broadening options while the market is effectively converging around them. Vendors that traditionally provided bespoke e-learning now offering portals, and software providers like the LMS companies are now announcing supporting content ventures.  It is becoming harder to make an informed decision.’

So, where does that leave the buyers? How can you make informed choices?

As an independent analyst, we want to help buyers become better informed and make better decisions for their unique context. So, as we unveil the new 2017 Fosway 9-Grids™ for learning, we reference these critical shifts in the market and have recalibrated our analysis, with Digital Learning replacing Bespoke E-learning in order to capture the shift to a more holistic view of learning solutions.

Analysis of the Learning Management Systems (LMS) market now changes to Learning Systems so we can explore the new breed of Next Generation Learning Environments (NGLE) which emphasise social, video, mobile and the user experience rather than the traditional formal training administration. Finally, Authoring Tools now extends its reach to evaluate more strategic and collaborative Authoring Systems.

How does the 9-Grid™ research work?

Unsurprisingly, this is something we receive a lot of questions about! This research and analysis of the market captured in the Fosway 9-Grids™ is ongoing. We have compiled over 10,000 lines of data, conducted in-depth solution briefings and demonstrations, and conducted numerous one-to-one customer interviews and testimony from our Corporate Research Network.  All this is distilled into the view of the market captured in our 9-Grid™ models. But, the most important point to remember about our research is that this is all independent.  We have no vested interest in where providers appear and no one pays to appear in any of the 9-Grids™.  We include who we think merits inclusion.

So, what’s next?

Suffice to say, the pressure on providers in this new digital landscape is intense. But focusing on technology alone is not enough. There needs to be a balanced approach that serves learners, supports the Learning Cycle, build meaningful learning experiences, creates measurable impact and serves learning teams. It cannot be just about learning content and delivery anymore. For those in L&D, it’s becoming more and more challenging to find the right providers and our research is one way you can lift the lid on which vendors can help you in your journey.

As always, the Fosway 9-Grids™ are freely available online and we’ll be on hand in the Fosway Analyst Lounge at Learning Technologies if you’d like to hear more about our research.