NexGen Learning System Grid 2018-19

NexGen Learning System Grid 2018-19

Welcome. Welcome. 

To the 2018-19 Learning System Grid, identifying the Leaders, Risers, Steady and Slow vendors for NexGen functionality. 

For this year’s grid, an additional vendor was added per group (last year it was five per grid).

This was not an easy process, in that there has been a huge uptick in next-generation functionality this year, which is great, but saying NexGen doesn’t mean you really have it,  nor does having NexGen functions mean you have the latest features or enough of the functionality to be truly defined as such.

When deciding on the NexGen Grid, I focused on several items, which included

a. NexGen Functionality Tier 2   (Not every vendor has all of these items, just a FYI)

b. NexGen Functionality Tier 1  (Should have at least 80% of it now, or I know it is on your roadmap to hit the 100% mark)

c. My LMS and LXP Templates, respectively.   So for LMS and learning platforms, I compared based on the template (which is quite extensive) and the same for those in the LEP/LXP space (Sorry, I still think they should be LEP, so going back to LEP/LXP). 


When looking at the systems, I focused on NexGen components and not the price of the system, nor the entire perspective of the system (with 15 point criteria – that is for the Top 50).  Thus there are vendors who I would buy on the grid, just as there are those I wouldn’t buy, for a variety of reasons, that are not tied to NexGen functionality.

For example, I like Thought Industries as a customer training LMS, but the platform is missing items for NexGen, which is surprising because it has the modern UI, which folks would thus assume, oh, it must be NexGen. 

On the flip side, Grovo is by far one of the most overrated systems on the market, especially with the assumption that it must be “forward thinking” and thus have NexGen robustness.  I used to be a fan of the platform, but their “micro-learning” platform isn’t such a big deal, any learning system can accept micro-learning, and well, I just do not see the whole, “wow” factor for them. 

I held off listing links to each of the vendors because you can find all the leaders and risers in my FindAnLMS platform, thus you can compare them, see their functionality, visit their sites, contact them, schedule demos and more.    Most of the Steady Grid is in FindAnLMS, and yep, even one in slow Grid. And yes, it is 100% free to search, compare and use. 

But I am NexGen – aren’t I?

As a vendor you may say to yourselves, “Hey we have 100% of NexGen Tier 1 and 40% tier 2, how come we are not here?”  My retort, because those on the grid have a higher Tier 2 percentile, are more agile and forward thinking (based on observations over the current year).  

How many did you look at?

500 for the 2018-19 Grid.  As in 500 Learning Systems.  Could I have gone 1,000 or 1,200 or 1,300? Sure.  But I cut off at 500, looking at systems known and not so well-known.  I included LEP/LXPs as well, as they are adding more NexGen functionality. 

NexGen Tier 2

A couple of points here.  I didn’t weight PWA as equal to many of the other features.  While PWA is a very good alternative to having native on/off mobile apps, I understand that it is something that just a lot of vendors will not do, and I get that.

Nor was digital badging at a high weight either.  I still see it as a NexGen Tier 2 function, but one that is more likely by 2020. 

Machine Learning aka AI (albeit they are not really the same thing, but folks tend to think so)

I did score higher for vendors who have an open algorithm, which means that the admin can change the weights for the algorithm, and thus folks do not have to complete a piece of content.  They do not get access to the code, mind you, just the algorithm provides the flexibility, otherwise, the vendor is telling you, they know more about your training or L&D then you – I really dislike that philosophy.

Everyone is a Winner

That is something to say when you provide training or L&D to your employees and customers. It is something you tell the kids after they get destroyed in a baseball game or soccer match.

But, in business, well, at least for this grid, not everyone is a winner.  I mean, I think three out of the four grids identify wins in so many ways.  The Slow Grid, uh, not so much – unless that is your goal,  “NexGen Technology? What’s that?” – And then post a photo of Sputnik as your logo.  

Now The GRID for 2018-19


Leader Grid


Cornerstone Learning Suite, Fuse, Litmos by SAP, eLogic Learning, SumTotal Learning Management, Growth Engineering

I will say that this year, Cornerstone, Fuse and Litmos were separated by mere points, very close. Not check the stubs close (sorry Florida), but close.

Leader Rankings – top three

  1. Litmos by SAP
  2. Fuse
  3. Cornerstone Learning Suite

Again, super close. 

Cornerstone made a huge jump as well and regardless what some folks might think of the system, and I admit, I still think they are an HCM overall, they have hit a homer with NexGen functionality.   They still have challenges with that admin side though (but that is on my report for learning systems – not yet out – until 2019).

Litmos was second in last year’s NexGen Grid on the Leader side.  Lots to like here.  They are strong in Tier 2 NexGen. Best Learning Ecosystem on the market, total Tier 2 power component.  Has added LearningTech to the ecosystem too. Video management is tight. Has machine learning, with AI components.

Fuse is a new entry.  I really came away impressed overall with their NexGen functionality, although I equally believe that as whole the system still needs a few of this and that.  But again, this is about NexGen. 

eLogic continues to be in the leader grid – the second year in a row, and the same for Growth Engineering.  

eLogic is 100% on Tier 1, and at 70% with Tier 2.  They allow each learner to have their own theme (first vendor to do so). Video management is great. Coaching is in the works. Mobile is great, with on/ off synch, native apps.  They are on pace to deliver in Q1 2019 a new skills component, but as of right now, they have a very solid competency piece (just a side note).

Growth Engineering is still a very good system, lots of NexGen functionality. A big minus though is the lack of Tier 2 – Ecosystem in terms of a content marketplace, although that is in the works for them.  I love the mobile Knowledge Arcade which is very cool and tied to the LMS, but not a fan that to use it – in terms of adding content to it, you need Genie their authoring tool.  If they can find a way to change that, huge win.  Still, if you want NexGen, this system delivers as a whole.

SumTotal Learning Management (Formally known as SumTotal Learn) jumps over from Steady to Leader in just one year.  A major accomplishment, and while I have zero proof here, to me, Skillsoft is a key factor in this IMO.

 I have known SumTotal for a long time, and I can say, that this latest version of the product is by far the best version. Please be aware that I did not compare folks success/failure based on consumer feedback on whatever, but will say, that my support mobile app that SumTotal now offers is quite good and should be used by every administrator with the SumTotal Learning Management system (it is also available with their other mods too).

One big miss though is the lack of auto-detect Frames Per Second, and deep learning (but it is on their roadmap by the end of the year, and in watching them over the past year, they are hitting their roadmap, so I am confident they will deliver.

Risers Grid


CrossKnowledge Learning Suite, coorpacademy, EdCast LXP, Spoke, Eurekos, Docebo

In last year’s Grid, Docebo was in Steady, so going from there to Risers is a win in my book.

CrossKnowledge Learning Suite scored quite well. The big minus though is they charge for their mobile app (they are not the only one who does this BTW), but still you can’t be NexGen megastar by charging for a mobile app.  Especially when your app has on/off synch, knowledge reinforcement capabilities, native apps in iTunes and Google Play and can do a lot.

Rocked in Tier 1 and Tier 2 – scored high with learning ecosystem, outstanding Admin analytical data capabilities, auto-detect frames per second (big). In fact, they scored 100% with video management. Has machine learning, content curation, coaching. 

EdCast LXP delivers a lot here, especially with machine learning, content curation, and coaching. I loved their mobile apps with on/off synch and knowledge reinforcement tool. Has an LRS too, which is Tier1, and a nice win.  The ecosystem is a work in progress. 

coorpacademy LEP equally does quite well across the board with NexGen.  They scored 100% in video management (auto-detect frames per second, add the assessment to a video/within a video, video streaming – all LEP/LXP does this as a whole).  With Tier 1, they scored 95% (missing the notepad angle, which in hindsight in NexGen Tier 2).  Tier 2 around 50%. Big wins with Coaching, Content Curation and Deep Learning (the term that will replace machine learning eventually).

Docebo, hit is strong with the social playlists – which a lot of vendors do not have, and it is a Tier 2.  The challenge for Docebo and many others is that innovation is still not fully there (I’m not blaming them here, it is a challenge in the entire industry as a whole). While they were the first vendors to have one-click for a course marketplace, I am waiting for more. 

Nevertheless, they are a worthy NexGen system that folks should explore. 

Spoke is a definite riser. They are missing machine learning, but that is in the works I’ve been told.  Video management includes auto detect frame per seconds and video streaming. They have content curation, coaching, LRS too. Watching them over the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of great capabilities.  Minus is the lack of mobile apps, including on/off synch.  Still, they are someone to watch in the coming year.

Eurekos isn’t someone you may have heard of, but perhaps you should.  Video management scores 100% (yes, the video in a quiz, and auto-detect is part of it). Coaching, content curation, Tier 2 ecosystem is all there.  But they are another vendor who has yet to adopt the mobile on/off synch and native apps aspect (And to my surprise, there are a lot of vendors in the space who haven’t either).   Still NexGen worthy – robust.

Steady Grid


Unicorn LMS, Workday Learning, Degreed, Saba, Torch LMS, Learn Amp

Unicorn provides a lot of nice functionality, and Minds-I (now included as part of the platform – is itself the best Knowledge Reinforcement Tool on the market – great product), but as a whole Unicorn is in the steady section.   Oh, 100% on video management for those wondering. 

Workday Learning does a few nice things, but still is missing the whole package. I mean yes, they have a cool UI with the “Netflix angle”, however, they are missing a chunk of the learning ecosystem that exists in Tier 2, which really is baffling to me.  The miss of having 3rd party content marketplace is a surprise.  Has machine learning though.  They are my 2018 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde winner.  

Degreed scores well in so many categories and their skill ratings is really nice, and definitely Tier 2. Video management though is mixed, they have it, but lack auto-detect and quiz/video contained within.  Admin analytical data is nice, could be stronger IMO, but still, NexGen exists.  Mobile is there, but again, they lack on/off synch.   Oh, and they still have a closed algorithm. 

Saba’s machine learning is fantastic, but they haven’t really pushed the envelope beyond that powerhouse of a component.  I sit on the fence with them. They do some nice NexGen things, but others ehhh.   Yeah, they were close to the Jekyll and Hyde thing, a close second. So, runner-up there!

Learn Amp, ranked #1 LEP/LXP for 2019, is on their way with NexGen.  Lots to enjoy here, especially content curation, content marketplace, learning ecosystem.  Machine learning is yet to exist, but on its way, along with some very innovative skill rating mechanisms.  Mobile is a miss.

Torch LMS is a very solid NexGen LMS, but a minus to me is the lack of mobile apps, let alone seeing the value of having mobile apps period.  I understand their perspective, but it is just a bummer.  Anyway, solid and steady.

Slow Grid


Mind Tickle, Panopto – Video Learning Platform, Thought Industries, Linkedin Learning, Grovo and SuccessFactors.

SucessFactors is a two-time winner, err, I mean at the bottom of the grid. Which I am still trying to figure out why they haven’t fully embraced NexGen across the board.  I am looking only at learning here, and not HCM, but even then to be honest, it still struggles in terms of wow factor, but I digress.

Mind Tickle! – had some very nice NexGen last year, but has slipped. 

Linkedin Learning, an overrated system in my book, that is sort of a hybrid LMS with LEP/LXP components, really is not a full NexGen system. 

Grovo already noted.

Ditto on Thought Industries.

Panopto – very forward thinking – years ago.  Not sure what happened, especially for a video learning platform. 

Honestly, there could be a lot of vendors in the slow grid, so if you say, “hey my system should be here, cause they are slow to new learning tech”, I hear you.  I could only have six, but there is always next year!

Bottom Line

This year’s Grid was quite tight in terms of those who landed on it versus those who did not.  Again, if I expanded to 10 in each grid, then who knows – maybe you would be on that grid (if you are not).

You can download the Grid HERE. 

The big takeaway for me though is that NexGen has come along way.  And I anticipate a lot more forward-thinking functionality in 2019. 

Especially in the areas of skill capabilities, video authoring and marketplaces with learningtech.

Grid up for a wild


E-Learning 24/7

Bonus – A list of all the vendors in FindAnLMS, always 100% free to use.