With online learning now the only game in town as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the full impact on the learning technology market is assessed for the first time in the new 2021 Fosway 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems. Released today by this year’s research highlights the significant consequences of the shift to remote working and learning.

Vendors have seen a 200-300% increase in the utilisation of their platforms as organisations pushed all learning online. There has been huge pressure on L&D teams and their providers alike to provide immediate answers, faster implementation times and rapid time to value for online learning projects. This situation has generated some creative, customer-centric online solutions, such as COVID-19 content portals made available to organisations at little or no cost, and platform rollouts that take weeks not months.

2021 Fosway 9-Grid - Learning SystemsBut there remains a tendency to cling to out-dated labels, in particular the artificial distinction between LMS and LXP. In 2020, before COVID-19 hit Europe, Fosway rejected the LXP label as confusing marketing hype, reclassifying systems into Learning System Suites and Specialists. One year on, and a nine-month deep research project and all the evidence proves this was the right move.

LXP was not a bad idea – it just didn’t ever do what it said on the tin. Deconstructing the realities under the LXP story shows that corporate buyers need to be smarter about understanding what aspect of the ‘learning experience’ they are actually trying to disrupt – and how. Buyers also need to understand what truly differentiates the vendors in really achieving those outcomes. Ultimately, Suites and Specialists is a better way of understanding the market and the options available to corporate buyers.

David Wilson, our CEO said, “2020 turned out to be challenging beyond any expectations, but the Learning Systems industry has truly stepped up and proved its value to customers. The 2021 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems reflects both the success of vendors in adversity, as well as new innovations, new entrants and new disruptive specialisms.”

“The LMS and LXP labels now need to go for good. As we predicted, the convergence of modern learning systems has continued apace. As Specialists continue to backfill their solutions with traditional LMS functionality, the Suites are integrating specialist capabilities to be more disruptive. Where they meet in the middle is hugely confusing for buyers.”

Ultimately, we hope to recalibrate what is meant by the term ‘learning experience’ which is thrown around so casually – but, in reality, is about so much more than a nice learning system and nice learning content…

The full 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems report can be downloaded here.

David Wilson, and our senior analyst, Fiona Leteney, will take questions on the research in a live online ‘Ask The Analyst’ session on 9 February 2021. You can register for your free place here and ask us all your burning questions – nothing is off limits! Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis though so don’t miss out.

You might be wondering where the 2021 Fosway 9-Grid™ for Digital Learning is as it’s usually released in-line with the Learning Systems analysis. This will now be launched at the end of February.

We’re also producing a new series of research papers looking at disruptive learning specialisms and the wider learning ecosystem from February onwards too, so lots to look forward to.