On Creating Passionate Users they had a great picture that captures how many of us feel about LMS products:
As the number of features increases our satisfaction level begins to go down because of the complexity of getting it to work for us.
What often happens when systems become very complex is that they begin to get replaced by simpler systems. This is exactly what's happened in the Content Management space. Wiki's have exploded onto the scene. They only do about 10% of what a typical CMS will do for you. But, they are so dang easy to get going and use. So, they've supplanted the low-end of the market. It forces the CMS products to seek ever higher features to continue to differentiate - a vicious cycle.
I believe we are poised to see this happen in the world of the Learning Management Systems (LMS). They are rapidly growing features that are far beyond what anyone needs. If you look at what's going on at Saba, SumTotal or any of the major players, they are adding features and major functional areas at an amazing pace. There are definitely some low-end LMS products that are easy to get up and going. But that's not really what's going to replace the LMS. They still require you to think and act in terms of "course" and "training" which is slowly becoming the wrong way to think.
Of course, this raises the question - well if we don't really want an LMS, then what's the replacement?
Scott Bradley Wilson helped by providing a post with more detailed visualization of this.
I think that folks who are in the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) space have a much better idea of what will come next. In fact, many of us have all created our own Personal Learning Environment by cobbling together using a variety of tools (RSS Reader, Bookmarking, Social Networking, Desktop Search, Web Search, Personal Learning Blog, To Do Lists). I'm not 100% sure that we've quite got this right, but it's certainly much more meaningful to me as a learner than an LMS.
If you step back and take the perspective of a learner, an LMS is simply one of many content sources and there is no advantage to me as a learner of having to go through and register for the course (except that I won't get bugged about not completing the course). The tracking is not for me as a learner.
That's what makes me think that something more along the lines of a PLE will begin to come together to replace it.
However, I remain skeptical that we really understand how to use these tools to be better learners and thus, are a bit away from having well-formed personal learning environments. In fact, I believe this to be one of the bigger questions that we face as an community.