Why The Best LMS May Not Be Right For You: 3 Things To Have In Mind

Why The Best LMS May Not Be Right For You: 3 Things To Focus On When Choosing A Learning Management System

Choosing an LMS for your organization may seem like a straightforward process - you make a list of features that you need in a Learning Management System. Once done, benchmark every Learning Management System available in the market against the features you need for your school or business. Finally, pick one based on customer reviews and price. While this process is not wrong per se, it misses out on one key step - eliminating LMS tools that come with too many frills that you don’t need.

A Learning Management System with too many frills may clutter your system and make it harder for your educators to execute basic actions; and this could make the process less efficient. That is not to say that a feature-rich Learning Management System is bad for your organization. Instead, it is important to know your users and pick a Learning Management System that will work for them.

1. Minimalist LMS With Integration

The trouble with eliminating Learning Management Systems that come with too many frills is that this brings down the number of choices you have. Top-line Learning Management System developers tend to build products that appeal to a larger audience. This means that their products are meant to cater to every unique requirement. Features that are important for one organization or industry may seem redundant to another. Eliminating such a Learning Management System because of its frills would mean taking away a number of top-line products from your list.

Another way to look at this is that choosing top-line LMS tools (that are also the most expensive of the lot) would mean paying for features that you don’t need. A good example of this is ‘analytics’. Many academic institutions choose to go with specific LMS tools for the interface or the experience they provide. Analytics, which provide teachers with the tools to understand student engagement are often under-utilized. These institutions thus pay for a sophisticated Learning Management System that they may not need.

A good fix for this problem is to pick a basic Learning Management System that comes with the ability to integrate with third party programs. This way, organizations may pay for a basic Learning Management System software that can be fit with features and programs as need arise. One word of caution here - this strategy requires the use of in-house developers. If that is an expense that your organization cannot afford, then this may not be an optimal solution.

2. Support Infrastructure

The idea of picking a basic low-cost Learning Management System that may then be embellished with third party features that your organization specifically needs may have its drawbacks too. Such learning management systems are most often priced low not because of the lack of features, but for the absence of support infrastructure.

From a Learning Management System developers’ perspective, it is cheaper to build new features to a product than it is to provide continuous support. What this means is that the onus of understanding the platform and integrating them with third party features falls on your developers and this could be a frustrating ask. Some minimalist LMS platform developers charge extra for support and this is a good investment for organizations, especially if you plan to integrate your product with third party features.

3. Industry Focused

Starting with a basic Learning Management System and building features on top of it may prove to be a costly decision, especially if you have a large of features to add. An alternate way to do this is picking LMS tools that are focused on specific industries or organization sizes. This eliminates Learning Management Systems that are targeted at the general audience and also ensures that your basic tool could come with at least some features that you need out of the box.

A comparison of the leading software in learning management will show that product like Docebo, for instance, is targeted mostly at the medium and large enterprises while an alternative like Cornerstone targets the small and medium industries. Tools like BirdDog go a step further and focuses on HR processes in the SMB segment. Picking one that fits your industry size and segment and has integration capabilities would be closer to ideal.

Final Word

Keeping all talk about features, price, and integration aside, picking a Learning Management System does not have to be a top-down approach. It does not hurt to let the teachers and educators try the various alternatives that your organization is looking and use their feedback while narrowing down on a tool. All said and done, they are the end users and their satisfaction determines the effectiveness of the product.