HR Technology® Conference
At this year’s conference, Josh
Bersin is slated to explore some of
the more dramatic ways technology
is transforming today’s learning
BY DAVID SHADOVITZ
Josh Bersin’s session at this year’s HR Technology® Con- ference features a fairly straightforward title: Learning Systems: Where Are We Now? But, as those attending it
will no doubt learn, the challenges facing HR leaders on the
learning-and-development front haven’t been this complex
and formidable in a very long time.
During his 75-minute workshop on Oct. 9, Bersin,
president and CEO of Oakland, Calif.-based Bersin &
Associates, will—among other things—walk his audience
through a few of the more notable changes that have taken
place in the $13.6 billion learning-and-development market in
Near the top of Bersin’s list is the proliferation of new types
of content and learning approaches. The market, he says, is
no longer just about e-learning and instructor-led training;
it’s now about delivering and publishing videos, self-authored
content by other employees and social learning experiences.
“The amount of content has gone up in orders of
magnitude,” Bersin says, adding that many companies
today have way too much of it. “They have webcasts, they
have documents, they have training materials, they have
audiotapes and videotapes—to say nothing of the virtual
classroom and all the content that’s there.”
At the same time, Bersin points out, the universe of
learning-management-system vendors has consolidated.
Whereas there used to be 30 or 40 vendors thriving in that
space, he says, today, there’s just a fraction of that number.
First, he says, bigger vendors started to buy up small
vendors; then, the talent-management vendors began to buy
them up. So today, he says, there are very few stand-alone
LMS vendors investing in new tools that support the large
pool of learning content in existence today.
Because of this, Bersin says, training departments
have been forced to “lash together” their old-fashioned
LMSs—which typically aren’t very good at leveraging
these new capabilities—with tools from start-ups and their
own I T departments; then, they need to try to get these to
successfully work together.
Bersin also notes that, as educational institutions start
to “wake up to the concept of e-learning,” there’s more and