What Students Hate About Their LMS

What Students Hate About Their LMS
Summary: We’ve talked to students to find out what the pitfalls of LMS platforms are. Learn the common mistakes to avoid, to get a great LMS.

Design From The 2000s

Online services that we use in 2023 are well-designed and thought through. When students open their Learning Management System (LMS), they expect similar quality. Yet, many eLearning platforms seem like they come from 20 years ago. Looking at such designs, students want to close the browser tab ASAP.

Apart from the visuals, poorly designed LMSs are often cluttered and confusing. They can have too many menus, buttons, and options. When students first open these platforms, they feel completely lost. Often there are no tours showing them how to navigate the platform. Without a straightforward User Experience, it’s difficult to interact with the LMS.

Most commercial LMSs are either oversaturated with unnecessary features, or miss crucial ones. For example, medical students would benefit from Virtual Reality (VR)-powered operating rooms. Meanwhile, English literature students will likely take VR as a toy cluttering their dashboard. Boxed solutions by definition can’t fit everybody's needs. Instead, they cover generic requirements.

Poor Third-Party Integration

No one likes to keep passwords for multiple platforms. If students have to move between multiple services while studying, the learning experience is disjointed. As a result, students lose their focus. To organize their coursework, students use third-party note-taking apps, productivity tools, and cloud-based storage services. When poorly designed LMSs don’t support such tools, students struggle with their learning. They are forced to switch between different platforms, logging into each one separately. This leads to confusion and low engagement.

To enhance the learning experience, students can use interactive educational games, Virtual Reality simulations, and real-time feedback tools. If these tools are not integrated within the LMS platform, students can miss out on interactions with the course material and peers. To integrate such learning tools, make sure that your LMS operates to Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standards [1]. LTI is an industry standard for integrating learning tools into an LMS. With LTI, there’s no need to log into third-party apps. Instead, students can use a single sign-on to access all the tools and games. Think of it like logging into YouTube with your Google account.

Shallow Mobile Optimization

Sure, every LMS has a mobile app. But the learning experience on a mobile is generally much weaker than on a desktop. Third-party integrations are often not adapted for mobile. Things like virtual labs for science experiments, or additional assessment tools, often only work on the desktop versions. Naturally, some content doesn’t work well with smartphone displays. It can require a larger screen. Still, at the very least, a mobile LMS should support basic features like file uploads, instructor feedback, or collaboration tools.

Weak Analytics

Part of the reason why students use LMS platforms is to track their progress. Still, quite a few LMS platforms have weak analytics features. This means that students can’t accurately track their progress. For example, some LMS platforms don’t provide clear and detailed reports. To tackle the issue, an LMS can have a personal dashboard. Here, students should see their grades, course progress, and badges. Make sure your LMS does this. Another issue is real-time grade updates. Too many students have to wait hours, or sometimes days, to check their grades. All of this happens because teachers have to manually copy grades from learning tools to the LMS.

Lack Of Communication Tools

If done wrong, online learning can isolate students. This doesn’t only apply to abstract concepts like the sense of community. It’s also about simple and practical tasks. Group projects can be difficult to pull off in outdated, poorly designed LMSs. An old school solution to this issue would be to add a forum. Unfortunately, online forums don’t work very well with group assignments. Forums are good for posting ideas and updates, but they don’t really help with real-time collaboration, unlike group chats and video conferences. Forums also lack project management tools like task lists, calendars, or deadlines.

Privacy is also a concern. Students don’t want teachers and faculty to oversee their communication. As a result, students prefer to stay out of built-in chats and forums whenever they can. To solve the privacy issue, an LMS can integrate social media and third-party messengers that students can trust.


LMS platforms have been around for decades. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, eLearning skyrocketed. Yet, millions of students still use outdated platforms. An LMS is no longer a tool for reading educational content and uploading assignments. Today, eLearning platforms are supposed to be social and user-friendly.


[1] Your Guide To LTI® & LTI® Advantage Standards

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