Picking the right digital learning platform (part 1/2)

 

When we started conducting the research that eventually lead to us founding CanopyLAB in 2015, the edtech space was pretty much the least sexy space for an investor to be in. The Learning Management System (LMS) space was always a bit crowded on the platform side, but after eLearning has become a massive¹ industry, new solutions are popping up every day. That makes it really hard to gain an overview of the different systems and to distinguish between the many platforms that are on the market in terms of functionality and approach.

We have compiled a series of the things we believe are important if you want a state-of-the-art learning platform.

 

A castle in the clouds

Today, everything is either built in the cloud or companies with offerings that are not in the cloud yet are currently transitioning. If you pick a platform that is transitioning to the cloud, you risk black-out or grey-out periods where you usage is limited. When you make your investment, make sure your learning system is cloud-based.

 

When you make your investment, make sure your learning system is cloud-based.

 

Quantity vs. quality

Just a couple of years ago, the idea of a learning management system without a series of video-, picture- and content editing tools was unthinkable. Here the industry has changed a lot. At the end of the day, there are better and cheaper apps out there for creating and editing content than platform providers do. Because that is ALL they do. They are world champions at it, so let your designers get the world’s best editor for 12.99 dollars per month and pick the best Learning Management System and use that for learning.

 

Just like all other industries, the price of technology is going down. Some of the more established players on the market are keeping the price of a learning system artificially high, but we strongly believe the learning industry us about be disrupted in this area as well.

 

Price and payment model

Just like all other industries, the price of technology is going down. Some of the more established players on the market are keeping the price of a learning system artificially high, but we strongly believe the learning industry us about be disrupted in this area as well. Of course there will always be differences in price – you can’t get a Tesla for the price of a Skoda, but overall the industry will move towards lower price points and more flexible subscription models.

 

Did you know that studies have shown that publicly sharing your progress can actually help motivate you to accomplish your goals?

 

Social network structure

Did you know that studies have shown that publicly sharing your progress can actually help motivate you to accomplish your goals? According to psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, there are several reasons for this. First, accountability is a huge factor in motivating us. Second, sharing our goals with others allows us to tap into a basic human need for social connection. And finally, positive reinforcement from your social network can motivate you forward to excel. The CanopyLAB platform is the result of what happens when a learning management system marries a social network, and we are just beginning to understand how much that actually improves learner outcomes.

 

Today, a lot of platforms claim to be “social” or “collaborative”, but how are these terms translated into features? Some of the features you can be on the lookout for are

  • Direct messaging
  • Emailing learners in a specific course
  • A newsfeed
  • A personal profile
  • An overview of learners’ accomplishments
  • Following the activity of other users
  • Collaborating on learning assignments
  • Forums for learners

 

For more tips, check out part 2 of our Picking the right digital learning platform series.


¹According to Orbis research, the global eLearning market worldwide is set to surpass USD 275 billion value by 2022.

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