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The LMS, NGLE and LXP are dead, long live Learning System Suites and Specialists – says Fosway in its in 2020 Fosway 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems

Cirencester, UKLearning NewsFosway

In a move that recognises the ongoing evolution in learning systems in 2020 and beyond, Fosway, Europe’s #1 HR industry analyst, is redefining the market in a bid to help organisations better understand what they are buying. The reclassification of learning platforms on its brand new 2020 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems waves farewell to the LMS and NGLE classification and rebases its analysis on whether a solution is a Suite or a Specialist.


In 2017, Fosway led the market by classifying Learning Systems as either LMS (Learning Management System) or NGLE (Next Gen Learning Environment), preferring not to formally use the LXP (Learning Experience Platform) term as despite emerging hype, as we believed it was not a meaningful buying category. At the time, we also predicted that the sub-classification was likely to change as vendors built cross-over functionality to enable them to appeal to a broader set of buyers.

Three years on and the noise level has grown, but clarity hasn’t. There has been an explosion in vendors using the NGLE/LXP labels to appeal to modern buyers scarred by bad historic LMS experiences. What they are is a mix of disruptive ideas and new ways of delivering learning. What they are not is a single buying category, so the moment to re-classify has come.

‘What we have seen in the last three years is a convergence in solutions where traditional LMSs have upped their game in terms of next gen features for learner experience, collaboration and gamification’ explained David Wilson, CEO of Fosway. ‘Meanwhile the next gen learning platforms have been forced to back-fill traditional functionality around face-to-face training and compliance by customer demand. This meeting in the middle leaves everyone confused about what the terms mean and what they really need to support learning in their organisation.’

So, as of 2020, Fosway is changing our classification for the 9-Grid™ for Learning Systems to segment into Suites and Specialists.

Learning System Suites are platforms supporting and integrating a broad range of traditional and next gen learning approaches. They aim to cover all the main bases – traditional learning management, heightened learner experience, old and new learning channels. They are the evolution of LMSs that have added next gen and learner experience capabilities, but also the evolution of the NGLEs/LXPs that have back-filled learning management capability to become a ‘one stop shop’ for managing modern learning.

Learning System Specialists are the opposite. They unashamedly focus on one area of capability with a disruptive high impact agenda. Whether that is being the best at mobile learning, doing AI-managed adaptive delivery, or building integrated learner experiences from multiple sources, specialists have a focused proposition and want to lead the market in their chosen focus area. Specialists will rarely be the only Learning System in an organisation. They cannot cover all the areas of learning that a company needs to manage or support. Instead their goal is to disrupt the Suites and to deliver heightened impact in a specific area of modern learning.

 ‘It’s been clear to us for some time that we needed to offer buyers greater clarity around learning systems’ said David Wilson. ‘Our goal is to help buyers cut through some of the market hype and figure out what is a real priority for them, what is missing from their learning ecosystem, and which suppliers might be best placed to help them.’

The 2020 Fosway 9-Grid™ for Digital Learning is also released today and reflects an ever-diversifying market filled with more choice of solution than ever before. From AI and personalisation to the continued dominance of video and the rise of learning in the workflow, the trends report reflects a dynamic but increasingly complex level of choice for L&D.

Both reports can be downloaded online and find out more from the Fosway analysts in person at the Fosway Analyst Lounge (Stand P40) at Learning Technologies London on 12th and 13th February 2020.