The LMS is broken, so what’s next?

For Nelson Sivalingam, the successor to the LMS is obvious.

Internal training has been a bugbear for companies for years now. It’s a business investment that is a necessity, however delivering effective training for employees, partners and customers is complex and time consuming. So, when the concept of the learning management system (LMS) was introduced in the late 90s, companies breathed a sigh of relief that their training woes had been answered.

For a time, the linear format of the LMS worked. This was in the early days of the internet, primitive mobile phones and VHSs. But as technology evolved and improved, the LMS remained stuck and stale, refusing to get with the times, and for some reason the business industry just accepted it. 

It’s shocking to hear that YouTube and Google are now the biggest educators in the world, but why is that? Because people want to learn what they want, when they want and where they want. That’s just the world we live in today, where information is a click away.

The LMS has been indicative of the first wave of elearning, with a strong focus on the mere digitisation of content rather than enabling learning itself. It has failed to deliver on the only thing that matters in learning – engagement. 

Take the workplace, most large organisations have an LMS but have seen such low engagement rates from employees that they end up dismissing elearning as a whole, rather than the main culprit – their LMS. 

The question is no longer do you need digital training, but are you offering your employees an engaging digital learning experience?

Many organisations have even resorted to hacking together their own solution using free tools such as Slack, Skype and Facebook Groups for a more engaging learning experience but none of these tools were designed for education. 

With millennials in the workplace, the number one reason for leaving a company is the lack of opportunity to learn and grow. Digital training is essential in addressing this issue and consequently increasing employee retention. Not to forget, the more obvious benefit for the employer: better output. 

Therefore the question is no longer do you need digital training, but are you offering your employees an engaging digital learning experience? So, what’s the solution? Elearning 2.0 is what I like to refer to it as, where you can create and deliver a digital learning experience that’s social, contextual, personalised and as a result, is engaging.

For companies to deliver effective training, they should make their content readily available, both online and offline, so employees can do it when they want. Not everyone is going to be in the right headspace to complete an internal training course to the best of their ability at a stipulated time. 

That’s just being human, so giving them the option to consume it at a time that’s most productive for them will produce the best results.

Also, what’s the point in making your employees wait for the next internal training workshop? If they want to learn something, give them the capabilities to do it instantly, and you’ll see it reflect in business performance. Most of the Fortune 500 companies use elearning and 42% of them said it’s led to an increase in revenue – the results really do speak for themselves.


Learning is essentially about communicating with one another, therefore it’s no surprise that the one-way form of communication that the LMS adopts is ineffective. Students should be able to ask questions and engage with the material. 

It’s proven that gamification and interactivity result in better concentration and absorption of content. If your employee is bored they’re not going to learn anywhere near as much compared with if their brain is stimulated. In fact, learners consume five times more material through elearning.

The LMS might have got content online, but it hasn’t improved how or the way we learn, it simply moved content from a textbook to a computer screen. Now is the time to integrate ed-tech with corporate training. 

Recent advancements in technology and online software mean companies can create engaging content that can be personalised to fit with an individual’s learning needs, and accessible to anyone at any time across the globe, whether that be on a mobile, tablet or laptop.

It’s time to make learning fun again.


About the author

Nelson Sivalingam is the founder of digital learning platform HowNow




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