user-generated content is going to change eLearning; anyone who thinks otherwise or who is not yet planning for the shift is going to be left wondering what the heck happened in just a few years.I've not seen a lot about Mzinga in the eLearning world, but it represents something pretty interesting. Mzinga is a merger of KnowledgePlanet (an LMS provider and also the maker of the eLearning simulation tool - Firefly) and Shared Insights - a community / business social networking software company.
From what I can gather from the press releases and based on who's in charge of the combined company, it appears that KnowledgePlanet is somewhat the loser. The top execs at Mzinga are not the top execs from KnowledgePlanet. It makes me wonder what this says about the LMS and tools market. We are beginning to see dominance by a few bigger vendors and if you can't be one of them, then it's tough sledding.
The other interesting thing here is that it seems like LMS vendors really are moving away from being LMS vendors. Previously, I talked about how they are now referring to themselves in terms of talent management and workforce productivity. There have also been moves to become focused on a niche such as an industry or function or certification.
This merger points to another direction - combination of LMS capability + community / social networking. I'm not sure I quite get what that means yet. I wonder if mzinga does? The description of their offerings seem still mostly separate (communities software and the KP learning platform). Also, if you go to the solutions page, it doesn't mention Firefly. And even the name of the page - Community Solutions - suggests that the LMS isn't all that important.
Luckily David Wilkins - who I've known for quite a few years - has helped me try to understand. It sounds a lot like an LMS with integrated communities. But like Q2Learning, they aim to provide visibility into community activities. This is something that I think makes sense, especially when trying to get communities going. David helps to paint a bit of a picture:
...think certification training with links to discussion forums or a Wiki or relevant files in a shared file repository...He also pointed me to a Gartner quote:
Enterprise social software will be the biggest new workplace technology success story of this decade.This certainly helps us understand why you might want to have someone like KP's sales and marketing to help you sell community software into the enterprise.