LMS Year In Review

The top challenges of 2018 and how they’ll impact 2019.

You worked hard all year to identify the best LMS for your organization and get your leadership team on board for the purchase and implementation. Then you worked even harder to get your team into the system and create a place where employees can really make themselves at home. So, next year is going to be smooth sailing, right?

Err… Not necessarily.

We’re sorry to say it seems to be the nature of business that solving one problem typically leads you to uncover the next problem. And even more so from year to year, when the big trends behind those challenges simply morph into new big trends in the following year.

We know it’s cliché, but there’s something about the end of one year and the start of another that brings out the philosopher in all of us. So if you can indulge our 24/7 urge to talk LMS strategy, here’s a look at what our clients found to be the top challenges of 2018 and how we think those challenges will evolve in 2019.

Looking Back: LMS Implementation in 2018

The biggest overall trend in 2018 was simply the increase in companies adopting LMS systems. It’s estimated that 77% of companies in the U.S. offer online training to employees for professional development, making up a market of $5.2 billion that’s expected to increase by double digits over the next few years. And since more companies than ever are using LMSs, the challenges for 2018 focused on organizing, publicizing, and building engagement within a new platform.

Challenge #1: Centralizing resources and communication

Phase one of integrating an LMS into your company focuses on bringing all of your resources into one place. From training modules and career-pathing resources to chat rooms, centralizing information into a one-stop-shop for employees and management teams alike was a huge goal in 2018.

“Most organizations were looking for a place to centralize all of their resources so they could control resource versions and train and communicate with teams,” says Beth Hawes, Client Experience Lead at Wisetail. “They often had a great solution for one of those challenges, but nothing that met all of their needs. So bringing their content into one site and creating a central hub for training, communication, and resources was a huge step forward.”

Challenge #2: Integrating systems

As companies reorganized resources and communication structures into their LMS, the next step was to bring in official company information and processes so employees have access to high-stakes information like payroll, benefits, and career opportunities using powerful single sign-on technology.

“The most effective LMS uses single sign-on technology across all of your company’s accounts,” says Hawes. “This gives your employees the ability to log into their LMS and find everything they need — FAQ, benefits, payroll, job openings team communication and updates. This reduces the day-to-day hassle of using different systems for different purposes, increasing the likelihood employees will login to the LMS.”

Challenge #3: Employee engagement

Another learning priority for 2018 was managing the ongoing struggle to keep employees engaged and motivated within the LMS. Because even the most interactive and engaging community will fail if no one logs in!

“A common question from our clients is how to keep employees engaged and motivated within an LMS,” says Hawes. “But the secret is actually very simple in theory, if challenging in practice: you just need to keep a constant stream of new information that gives them a reason to log in. Employees should think of your LMS as the best way to connect with their coworkers and find out what’s happening within the company.”

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Wisetail LMS employees Meghan and Stevey discuss the Wisetail LMS platform.

Looking Forward: LMS Implementation in 2019

As companies wrestle with these initial LMS challenges and overcome them, their solutions will unearth new priorities in the new year. Here’s a look at what we think will be on the top of every LMS manager’s to-do list in 2019

Priority #1: Getting out of the inbox

A significant side benefit of organizing and growing your LMS? As your employees become more active within the platform, they’ll stop contributing to the business world’s 270 billion emails-a-day problem and start really communicating.

“Business email today is increasingly becoming added noise and spam,” says Hawes. “It’s a powerful thing to have a communication mechanism that can ensure an employee has read what you’ve sent them instead of missing it or deleting it.”

Priority #2: Bringing leadership into the fold

Because companies have done such a great job of building momentum around their LMS, 2019 will see that interest expand into the C-suite.  

“It’s one thing to get the CEO’s sign-off on a new LMS, but it’s a whole other thing to get the CEO to log in and interact with employees,” says Hawes. “We’ve seen organizations have incredible success with interactive dialogs with the CEO or announcements from the CEO, so we think 2019 will see established, proven LMS attracting even more C-level engagement and accessibility.”

Priority #3: Driving company culture

Company culture continues to be a critical priority for organizations across all industries and especially retail and restaurant businesses that directly serve the public. In fact, a 2016 Deloitte survey indicates that 82% of CEOs consider company culture an important competitive advantage. So as your LMS increasingly becomes a place where people gather, it’ll also start to play a vital role in building your company culture.

“When our clients go through their initial launch, they’re mostly focused on the basics of training the team to communicate and find resources within the LMS,” says Hawes. “But as they grow, they bring in more personality and team-building with contests and calls for engagement.”

“For example, some companies ask silly questions like, ‘What’s your favorite holiday memory?’” says Hawes. “There’s no real purpose except to grow the culture and bring people together, which have a powerful community-building effect on employees or franchisees that are spread out across the country.”

More and more businesses are embracing the training and culture benefits that come with cloud-based LMS, but few find themselves fully prepared to tackle the implementation challenges that can come with it. We hope this review of 2018 and 2019’s top LMS priorities can help you navigate whatever comes your way in the New Year!


Sarah is a writer for Wisetail. By analyzing and condensing cutting-edge research and data, she helps L&D professionals develop their instincts and arrive at actionable insights for employee engagement and training. She loves to consider the possibilities of humanizing, organizing, and minimalizing all things HR.