LMS as the new Netflix of eLearning


A couple of days back, a rant-post on LinkedIn caught my eye. It read as below:

Is this the new catchphrase now, "We're the Netflix of eLearning." Why? What's your 'Netflix Original' then? The stuff you spent time, talent, and money on before you knew whether anyone's going to watch it or not? Where's your own, fresh thinking before you got hit with an RFP or a client requirement? You don't have one, do you? You aren't Netflix. You aren't any kind of Flix.

The acute observation of the post’s author is commendable without a doubt. With so many advertisements and content stuffed with keywords like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Netflix vying for our attention every minute of every day (let’s not disregard the AI and ML powering these targeted ads), it indeed seems like the world is jumping on the ‘Netflix’ bandwagon, eLearning included. Nothing wrong with that IMO, except that blindsiding the critical learning-related features and functionalities in the lure of jazziness, sexiness and AI-ness in your Learning Management System (from both the provider and consumer POV) is not just a short-term strategy but one that sabotages the training too.

Understanding Netflix’s Engagement Strategy

With over 182 million paying subscribers as of Q1 2020 (Source: Statista) watching a combined 164.8 million hours of video every single day(Source: Streaming Observer), there’s no doubt that Netflix has changed the way we view entertainment. ‘Engagement’ is at its very heart and is evident in everything from its UI to easy subscription (and cancellation) process, from its original content to deep user insights and recommendations.

It’s perhaps the latter, its AI- and ML-powered Recommendation Engine, that makes Netflix the most popular OTT (Over The Top)/ Streaming Service provider today. Accordingly to Neil Patel’s blog post How Netflix Maintains a Low Churn Rate by Keeping Customers Engaged & Watching, ‘It knows it has just 90 seconds or less to convince you that there’s something worth watching that’s catered to your tastes, it looks at things such as the genre you watch and your ratings, but also what you don’t watch. And it doesn’t care so much about what you watch, but rather that you watch. When given the choice between calling a friend, reading a book or watching Netflix, they obviously want you to keep coming back.’

Netflix has 1,300 recommendation clusters, based on viewing preferences, and 80% of subscribers’ watch choices come from their personal recommendation engine vs. just 20% title choices were made on their own (Source: BusinessInsider).

LMS and the Netflix Approach

Imagine you are working in Sales and contrary to the traditional LMS approach of ‘assigning’ and limiting you to specific content based on your role/ profile, your level amongst other things, you are offered a plethora of ‘related/ relevant’ courses and videos that ‘you’ can pick and choose from as per your preference, time and need. And that’s just the beginning.

As you start consuming content, example on Negotiations, Communication and Sales Enablement, ‘more’ relevant content, example on Customer Experience, Objection Handling, Relationship Building, is recommended to you automatically as the LMS constantly gathers intelligence from your behavior, skill-set and any other information piece across the board to produce a rich pool of related content and deep search results.

This is how UpsideLMS’ AI-Recommendation Engine works:


What makes this learning journey truly hassle-free is the user-centric UI and enhanced UX, or what is commonly known these days as the Netflix UI, that not only keeps the learner hooked to the platform (hence bringing about continuous learning) but also makes learning fun and sticky.

This is how easy it is to access learning content in UpsideLMS:


But wait, this is not all that a learning platform has in common with Netflix today.

For the training administrators, employee capability development (or extended enterprise training too) is a piece of cake! Gone are the days of manually assigning training to learner/ learner groups. With the right categorization of the learning content (read: tags, categories) admins can merely link Competency Management to the content library (whether integrated with an online content marketplace or is streamed from off-the-shelf content provider or includes custom development content) and the rest is taken care by the system – automatically without a manual intervention!

Further, Notifications on new learning content(similar to the push notification or email you receive from Netflix) ensures that learners don’t miss out on a newly added video or course.

Needless to say, the LMS mobile app facilitates skilling and training in-the-flow-of-work.

This is the lit UpsideLMS’ mobile app for iOS and Android:


So are we, on behalf of all LMS providers living the claim, really the Netflix of eLearning? No, nor do we tout ourselves as one. But what we doing is creating a familiar UX for learners and talking their talk. And if the end outcome of this are skilled and competent learners, who’s complaining?


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