If that’s true, then the initial reason for cannabis companies to sign a contract with an LMS provider disappeared long ago. Even if only a handful of large cannabis companies dominate today’s internet, it is nonetheless both inexpensive and easy to set up a website and show the world what you know.

You don’t have to be a computer programmer or even a digital native to run an online course outside a learning management system these days. There is also a load of terrific free tools available for cannabis companies who want to add online components to their face-to-face training.

While technology administrators might resist an online cannabis industry training landscape over which they have little direct oversight, the proprietary course shell that is the LMS will eventually wither and die, because the alternatives are only going to get cheaper (if they aren’t free already), better and easier to use.

My cannabis industry training programs do not prepare companies to teach online, but education will reflect reality when enough programs recognize the fact that online education is here to stay. At that point, the well-trained online cannabis trainers of the future will never accept the limitations of designing their courses entirely inside an LMS.

What then should take its place? If cannabis companies plan now for this eventuality, they can have a much greater role in determining the structure of the new ‘wired‘ business than they did when the learning management system arrived on the scene decades ago.


Online Cannabis Industry Training

Online courses in the cannabis industry, at least in theory, can be taught by anyone in the world who possesses the minimum credential and an internet connection. When employed adroitly by shortsighted cannabis business administrators, this fact can create a lot of downward pressure on employees’ wages.

Despite their obvious limitations, there will likely still be a place for a Cannabis Learning Management System (LMS) in the post-LMS world. Plenty of cannabis businesses will always prefer technologies that require minimal training since so many of us have so much else to do with our lives.

Learning management systems that play well with outside applications will allow even some of the most creative cannabis companies to create great courses within a proprietary shell.

However, working outside the LMS, well-trained cannabis instructors will be able to do far more than meet the minimal requirements for moving training online, and the quality of those courses will be far better than the online classes offered back in the early days of the internet.

It demands a certain mood for thought experiments, but in fairness, we are not alone in either fearing or working towards a “system-less” future. Before dealing with the consequences, it is only reasonable to recognize the factors that if properly unfolded, would render the LMS obsolete:

  • An already popular non-LMS solution becomes a good enough substitute for a much better user experience. Google remains the ideal candidate, if not through one app but its G Suite bundle and the Classroom add-on. (A fair question: Why hasn’t this happened already?)
  • Corporate consolidation allows for a “race to zero” that may not kill LMS but limit than two a few players who can offer cloud-based learning at unbeatable prices, erasing all competition. Or in the blunt, almost sadistic words of Amazon’s Bezos: “Your margin is my opportunity.”
  • The newer generations of cannabis companies and employees not just eschew old models, but actively work to bury them and set a brand new start, and do it in a rush. Unexpected, new flashier apps go viral all of the sudden to dealt a final blow.
  • A model of true, decentralized (or as some insist on calling it, “federated) education proves sustainable and reaches massive growth before existing LMS get in on it.

LMS Industry Factors and Considerations

Now, the second part of the discussion concerns whether these factors would lead to a better or worse outcome. In other words, will future classes be free from the shackles the LMS became for present-day cannabis industry employees; or if its weakened role will fall prey to commercial solutions, leading to fragmentation, high costs, and even worse scenarios of privacy and civil liberties?

The debate, at this point, is riddled with speculations. This is not to say key moves if seen collectively, will not prove crucial to understanding the desires and anxieties of the market going forward. In the specific case of Moodle (an LMS), there are key attributes that can guarantee survival, with a key caveat: It might need to think beyond the LMS form.

Not so much the product, which may survive; but the mindset such as:

  • API or Die. Moodle’s internal infrastructure, one of its lesser-known strengths, is based on them. It is a clear method to keep control of data flows. The challenge: Allowing the APIs to interact with the ecosystem at large securely and seamlessly. The LMS would still be there, even if students don’t realize it.
  • Federated MoodleNet. While the current blueprints for the social network show limited functionality, it could very well be Moodle’s interface for the coming decade. The challenge: Going beyond the already aging social network paradigm and anticipating the future expectations of digital interactions and user feeds. (In other words, Instagram, not Facebook.)
  • An “Evidence” (Learning Record) Management System. What if the future of the LMS is an LMS-LRS hybrid? It’s already clear that data is only becoming a stronger prerogative across organizations of all sizes. The challenge: For the ecosystem at large, to learn how to articulate a common language, one that arguably already exists: xAPI. This will change the game, turning the LMS from the “walled garden” into “hubs” that help users track and showcase their progress to anyone.

Let us know what you think.