Corporate learning is one of the most exciting aspects of business. It’s a $360 billion market, and it defines success or underperformance for virtually any business. Every time you hire someone, launch a new product, or change the way your business operates, there’s a huge need for training to be filled. And with SkillsTech and a vast new creator content marketplace, it’s one of the most innovative tech marketplaces in the world.
Many call this space “edTech,” but it really is so much more. The traditional edTech market evokes programs like Moocs (Coursera), online degrees (SNHU, Capella, Strayer) or platforms like Khan’s Academy. Well, these are only scratching the surface. In the corridors of innovative companies, we now find incredibly powerful solutions that use virtual reality, augmented reality, AI-enabled learning paths, and highly intelligent career paths.
All of this is possible thanks to the large number of technological innovators in the space. In fact, I’ve always observed that as soon as a new technology is invented, the very first use case is often learning. (It’s arguable that sex and dating may come first, but quick learning comes second.) See how many educational YouTube videos you find.
When the personal computer was invented (1981), the very first application we had at IBM was the “laser disc.” And the technology-powered learning market has never slowed down.
One of the reasons “Learning Tech” is so popular is that we now have APIs and industry standards to help us out. Ten years ago, the only way to measure or track online learning was SCORM, an old standard built around CD-ROM tracking originally developed for aviation training. Today, the X-API allows us to track and measure every interaction a user has with content, very similar to how advertising technology works. This means HR and L&D managers can be endlessly creative while continuing to measure and iterate to understand what works.
And there are many more innovations on the way.
First, the explosion of growth of what we now call “cohort learning.” As you remember in school, people tend to learn in small groups. That’s why we always had our offices together in elementary school to work on various projects. Well, this idea is spilling over into corporate training with all sorts of ways you can “learn from your peers” in exercises or courses. (All our Josh Bersin Academy is a cohort-based learning platform.)
The second is the appearance of the video. Once thought of as a way to “capture an expert” like TedTalks, it’s now a way to “micro-capture” moments, ideas, and concepts in a highly memorable way. In fact, TedTalks are losing popularity because they are too long! TikTok, one of my favorite apps, is a perfect example. TikTok is basically a very nifty micro-learning app and I challenge L&D leaders to create the world’s best training on TikTok. If you have any good ones, send them to me and I’ll promote them.
(TikTok is trying to build this, by the way, by promoting the hashtag #LearnonTikTok. It’s filled with noise right now, but I now find cooking tips, yoga classes, and some pretty cool how-to videos. real AI. is new to them, but wait.)
The third is the AI growth. Of all the AI applications in HR I’ve seen, learning is probably the hottest. Platforms like EdCast, Degreed, Eightfold, and more can guess your skills, monitor your online activity, and recommend content in the workflow. I first wrote about this in 2016: it is a reality today. And now that Microsoft, LinkedIn, Cornerstone, and other big companies are investing in this space, it’s only going to get better. And the new space I call SkillsTech is sweeping through all businesses. (AI-enabled coaching is another tributary of this space.)
Fourth is the the emergence of the game. We built playful learning at DigitalThink in 1999 and 2000, but now it’s even better. Providers like NIIT, Allen Communications, and many other content providers create courses with challenges, points, leaderboards, and all the artifacts you find in Starcraft or Game of Thrones. Now that virtual reality is coming, it’s just going to get better.
Fifth, of course is VR. I’ve been a fan of companies like STRIVR, Mursion and fast growing companies like Talespin, Immerse, Attensi and Virbela for years. Microsoft, Accenture and soon other big companies are investing in this area, and I expect it to revolutionize training in the short term. You should definitely check out these providers: their training solutions deliver experiences you simply won’t forget.
(The metaverse is alive and well in the corporate learning space: mark my words, it will transform the way we learn.)
What is the Metaverse? Facebook’s strategy and how Microsoft, Disney and Amazon could win.
The sixth is perhaps the most important of all: the emergence of what I call the Creator Marketplace for Enterprise Learning. Just as the entire media landscape is built around the Creator Economy (YouTube, Instagram, Tiktok), the same is happening in training. Not only are companies like Udemy (courses created by experts) growing 2-3x faster than traditional publications, but you have a creator economy within your company. If you’re using tools like 360 Learning, Articulate, and more and just encouraging your employees to share what they know, the sky’s the limit.
And there is much more.
This week we just published a very interesting research study that explains this market and lists more than 40 of the best suppliers, as well as a strategy guide to help you get started. This one will be available for free for 60 days, so I encourage you to read it now. And give us a call if you want help with your Learning Tech strategy.
Understand SkillsTech, one of the largest marketplaces in the business world
The Global HR Capability Project
Building a Business Skills Strategy: It’s Harder (and More Important) Than It Seems