I'm pleased about Sage Road's recent collaboration with the eLearning Guild on their new "Deep Analysis" Report on the Evolving LMS. You need to be an eLearning Guild member to get a copy of this report; Might I suggest that now is as good a time as any to join if you are not a member.
The Report is a brief summary of top issues that eLearning practitioners are likely to encounter where LMSs are concerned in the next 18 months. It is not meant to size the LMS market - or evaluate LMS platforms - or to identify Moodle Service Providers. It IS meant to give people in the trenches a look at the biggest issues they will mostly likely encounter where LMSs are concerned, to get a head start on planning for how these trends are likely to affect their elearning business.
So, with this in mind, one of the trends we did NOT discuss in the recent LMS report was an observation from the world of educational publishing. Educational publishers such as Pearson have acquired LMS companies such as eCollege (Pearson acquired eCollege in 2007) and Fronter (acquired by Pearson in 2009) and publishing houses like Thomson's Cengage forge LMS relationships with companies like Angel (now part of Blackboard).
This week's announcement about Sungard and Epsilen's new partnership is raising a flag on the horizon that eLearning practitioners might want to observe over the next several months - specifically, keeping and eye on what publishers and LMS vendors are doing together related to strategic partnerships and market consolidation.
Higher education publishers and administrative management systems companies appear to be exerting their influence in the area of higher education learning management services provision. In addition to helping to carve out a new learning resources management niche NOT completely dominated by Blackboard, publisher/LMS partnerships are looking for ways that make it easier to cluster, bundle and (eventually monetize) digital learning content assets, giving publishers a new digital revenue stream.
eLearning content authors may find that they may be increasingly caught between a rock (commercial publishers who are deconstructing professionally produced content assets and buying LMS companies to help take that content to market in new ways) and a hard place (the user-generated content producers, who are creating "good enough" video, audio and apps that are relatively easy to find and share on the open web).