New analysis tool keeps users updated on the latest developments in digital learning

An improved industry tool, launched at Learning Technologies today, aims to help buyers keep abreast of the latest advances in online learning

The continuing rise of digital learning has prompted an overhaul of an industry metric used to evaluate different learning solutions and providers, reflecting the pace of change across the L&D sector.

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The 9-Grid market analysis tool created by industry analyst the Fosway Group is used to show the relative position of solution providers in the learning and talent systems market. It takes the approach of focussing on different positions in the market, looking at potential and performance, rather than a simplistic ranking of one firm above another.

Five key factors are evaluated, including the potential of the solution – based on its scope and sophistication; market and customer performance; presence in the market; the full cost of the solution; and the future trajectory.

The shifting nature of the requirements for technology–led learning, with an increasing number of buyers seeking a full digital learning experience, has prompted Fosway to make some major changes to its 9-Grids this year.

The Bespoke E-learning 9-Grid has been replaced by one on Digital Learning, taking into account next generation learning capabilities. 

A summary of the new grid states: “Many providers are broadening their service offering with mobile, social, blended, gamification and portal solutions to supplement their digital learning content projects. There is greater emphasis now on supporting the platforms and services associated with learning experience, not just providing e-learning content.”

The Learning Managements Systems 9-Grid has been replaced by one called Learning Systems to reflect a new crop of Next Generation Learning Environments (NGLE) emphasising social, video, mobile and the user experience over traditional formal training.

The third new 9-Grid is one which looks at Authoring Systems, replacing a previous one on Authoring Tools. The authoring market has traditionally been dominated by desktop based tools where developers build courses in isolation, but one new trend is seeing systems which are more cloud-based and collaborative in their approach – which can offer major advantages in flexibility and speed of production. Authoring is going to become about “engagement triggers” as much as content in the coming decade, and seamless multi-device/mobile publishing “is non-negotiable to future-proof content in an increasingly mobile dominated world,” according to a summary report of the new 9-Grid.

David Perring, director of research, Fosway Group, commented: “Buyers are facing increasing complexity. As quickly as the learning market is converging, disruptors are tearing up the rule book and redefining the options. For many it’s becoming harder to keep pace with change and make informed decisions. It’s easy to get lost if you don’t have someone to guide you.’’


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