Building An In-House Learning Management System: 4 Pros And 4 Cons To Consider

Building An In-House Learning Management System: 4 Pros And 4 Cons To Consider
Summary: Should you build your LMS from the ground up or invest in a ready-made solution? In this article, I’ll share 4 benefits and 4 drawbacks of building an in-house Learning Management System.

4 Pros And 4 Cons Of Building An In-House Learning Management System

A Learning Management System gives you the power to develop and deploy online training for a worldwide audience. It can also complicate matters if you don’t choose the ideal solution for your organization’s needs. The first question to consider is whether you want to piece together your own software package to create a robust system, or opt for an LMS solution that’s already available on the market. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of an in-house Learning Management System as opposed to pre-built third party platforms.

Benefits Of Building An In-House Learning Management System

1. Complete LMS Customization

You’re able to customize every aspect of the LMS when you develop it in house, from reporting capabilities to the eLearning authoring tools and deployment methods. On the other hand, a pre-packaged LMS platform may only offer limited customizability. For example, you can adjust the layout of the dashboards or the color scheme. However, the software elements are already in place and cannot be substituted.

2. Improved Functionality

Greater LMS customization translates into better functionality. Personalization means that you can add features and tools that most benefit your organization, instead of having to make do with the options that are already ingrained into a pre-built Learning Management System. Your team is also able to pick-and-choose specific elements to make the LMS more user-friendly based on their skills, talents, and experience level. They can fine-tune every aspect of the user interface to make it more intuitive. Granted, personalizing the software suite does take a certain degree of tech know-how to begin with.

3. Brand Integration

Many modern LMS solutions allow you to add your own logo and color scheme. Building an in-house LMS gives you the power to fully integrate your branding. In fact, you’re able to incorporate your brand identity from day one, instead of having to incorporate it into a pre-made template. Your entire online training program reflects your image on the front and back end, thereby enhancing the aesthetics and boosting credibility.

4. Targeted Expenses

When you create your own LMS from scratch you only pay for the LMS features you require, instead of having to invest in a package deal. For example, your organization may not necessarily need certain LMS metrics or support services. Thus, you can omit these LMS features from your custom-built LMS and include functions that may not be available in pre-built systems. You have the ability to piece together the perfect in-house Learning Management System for your training needs. All of this equates to better resource allocation, since you can target your expenses and streamline your LMS budget. Building an in-house LMS allows you to maximize your LMS investment by omitting unnecessary expenses.

Drawbacks Of Building An In-House Learning Management System

1. Greater Investment

One of the perks of an in-house LMS is not having to pay for extraneous features. However, developing your own LMS can also incur greater expenses. This is due to the fact that you have to piece together your own software package. On the other hand, most LMS solutions have everything you need to get started, including reporting and content creation tools. You must also consider the human resources involved. In some cases, you may need to hire a dedicated team to develop and deploy the LMS and the online training content.

2. Slower Turnaround Time

LMS platforms that are ready to go have all the elements you need to develop, deploy, and track online training. You don’t have to spend time researching the various software components or customizing the system. It’s a complete package, even if there are limited personalization options. As such, an in-house LMS has slower turnaround times. You cannot deploy onboarding online training resources in a matter of days. Instead, you must develop, test, and fine-tune your new in-house Learning Management System before it’s ready to launch. That also involves test driving the software that you want to include in the LMS platform. For example, reporting tools or apps so that you can track learner performance.

3. Risk Of Technical Challenges

There’s always a chance that you’ll have to deal with tech glitches, even if you purchase pre-built Learning Management Systems. However, the risk is higher when you develop an in-house LMS. First you must ensure that all the software elements are compatible with one another. Then there are programming and customization hiccups to consider. Migrating data to the new LMS is more difficult than expected, or the online training content is only accessible on certain devices, when it needs to be multiplatform-friendly. This leads to numerous rounds of troubleshooting and revisions to alleviate the problem.

4. More Maintenance

There are two drawbacks to bear in mind in regard to the maintenance of an in-house LMS. The first is that you have to continually upgrade your bespoke LMS as technology evolves. There may be new software to integrate a year from now, whereas a cloud-based SaaS platform takes care of the upgrades and keeps track of tech trends. The second downside is having to upkeep your own LMS and monitor individual software updates. For example, downloading the latest version of the eLearning authoring tools that you integrate into your in-house LMS, or purchasing new reporting software to provide more detailed analytics for your organization. You must invest the time and resources into ongoing maintenance, whereas this is generally included in the monthly subscription/licensing fees for pre-built Learning Management Systems.

Which LMS approach is right for your organization? Should you invest in a pre-built system or build your in-house LMS and completely customize the LMS platform? The answer depends on your training needs, eLearning budget, and in-house talent, as well as the overall demand for resources. Rapid turnaround times may require a pre-made option, while a bespoke solution is ideal for teams who want complete creative control and don’t mind investing time or resources.

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