Did You Hear the LearnDash News?

Insights, LMS

The other day I wrote about the changing dynamics in the online learning and LMS space. I've been watching and working in that space since 1995, when we called it Computer Based Training (CBT).

The Good Old Days

Back then, and I'n not joking here, if you wanted a corporate training solution, you would hire a company to bring a special computer to your office. They had painted the outside of the box so it didn't look like all the other PCs. And you'd pay them to “install” it (which meant put it on the network). You'd also pay for their meal in Napa, and any other expenses.

Training was built in Authorware or Director – products from Macromedia, a name people don't know today.

Then, everyone had to visit the office with the blue computer. It was crazy!

The Shift to Online Learning

While I was at Berkeley Lab, I worked with the team at Adobe that would create a Shockwave plugin that could take Director content and play it in the browser (remember Netscape?). It was the first part of a move to building a solution so that everyone at the Lab could take courses without visiting the blue machine.

We then shared this online course infrastructure, including dynamic quizzes that would tell you which courses you need, with a tiny little startup that became Blackboard. That's a name you finally might recognize as I walk down these old memories.

Right away we noticed a challenge. Everyone was using different kinds of home grown platforms for online learning. How would we make sure that a course created in one place could be “ported” to another platform?

So we worked on SCORM – a standard for eLearning so that there would and could be more flexibility. More than ten years later, it would be revisited as the Tin Can project, and a new Experience API would be released.

The Name in eLearning – LearnDash

I left the Lab to start a few companies and did all that before stepping into the WordPress world. But when I did start working with WordPress, I was delighted to discover that people were building online courses and eLearning solutions on WordPress.

That's when I discovered LearnDash – one of the only WordPress plugins that you hear about in eLearning (without even talking about WordPress). It's been on my recommended list for years.

Did You Hear the News?

You're wondering why all this backstory simply to point you to a plugin you've already heard about, right?

The big news today is that we just closed the deal to purchase LearnDash. For the last few months it's been long days as our team does what it does to do the due diligence and work needed to make the acquisition.

But today it was announced and we let the world know.

I've been busy all year as my boss invited me to focus on acquisitions for the last 8 months. We've acquired Kadence, Iconic, and GiveWP. Now LearnDash.

I'm Changing Hats

A better way to say it: I'm changing jobs.

My new role at Liquid Web will be to step in as the General Manager for LearnDash. It feels like coming home to online learning. While I'll still do some product strategy work for Liquid Web and our Nexcess brand around WordPress and WooCommerce hosting, the majority of my time will be focused on LearnDash – to keep it growing and moving forward.

I can't wait!

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