LMS Products of the Year 2010

A lot of great products out there this year, new updates and latest versions; new companies, new services and just some real innovation.

These standout to me.

LMS

I include Learning Portals, LCMSs, as part of the mix.

Categories

  • Big Dog (Saba, SumTotal, Plateau, Cornerstone OnDemand, Learn.com)
  • Open Source Systems – That have to be 100% free to be considered
  • Extended Enterprise – System must have e-comm, multi-tenet – fully skinnable, additional functionality
  • Social Learning – must have social learning functionality beyond just the standards FB like page, microblog, RSS feed, upload video, follow me thing, these are systems that either advertise themselves as SLMSs or have a significant strong set of SL features
  • Emerging Technology (Innovative) – Systems that incorporates innovative features or components ahead of the curve; and it works – clearly the key here

Normally, I wouldn’t provide a specific breakout, say Big Dog or Small Dog, but people ask me whom I like or dislike, etc.

Big Dog LMS

Saba

I like this system and its functionality in comparison to the other players in this space.

That said, across the board for all Big Dog systems, their social learning functionality was weak. Learn.com offered some robust SL capabilities, but you have to pay for one of their premium versions to have it. Otherwise, you get bleech, IMO.   If you are seeking TM as your focus and you want one of the big dogs – I found Plateau’s system to offer appropriate functionality for it, but found some real concern in other areas (see my product review).  Saba does a good job as well.  Please remember for TM or as some vendors like to pitch as “performance management or knowledge management”, the modules are extra and are not part of the system (at least for now).

Open Source LMS of the Year

Academia

OLAT

Nothing wrong with Moodle mind you and a lot of people love it, but if you want to look at someone else, here is that someone else.  It is made for education/academia, although it states for others and corporate – which in this space, I disagree.

Corporate

OpenElms

Made specifically for business. Comes with Jackdraw authoring tool, and in the tool you can use Captivate, Articulate, Camtasia & PowerPoint content. You can also sell your Jackdraw courses in the e-comm marketplace. Assessment tools, audit trails, communication, learner and admin functionality exists in this system. SCORM 1.2 compliant, skinnable & 3D virtual training room components all part of the system. Oh, yeah 100% free.

Extended Enterprise

As aforementioned months ago, this is a new trend and it continues to grow. While many systems have offered in the past e-comm modules, these systems created solutions/features within their LMS for an “extended enterprise” or as one puts it “channel product management” capabilities. E-commerce is standard, multi-tenet off the main system, with each distributor/wholesaler/reseller/sales agent, etc. the ability to have their own system off that initial system, with own look and feel, and features that can be turned on or off at the top tiered level or at each sub system level (depending on the vendor’s system).

The e-commerce component itself includes a robust function set beyond just the ability to accept credit cards; and the look of the site typically appears as a “learning portal”, clean, crisp and reminds me more of a web page with products (again, depending on the LMS vendor or system) with maybe advertising capabilities included.

Pricing varies, from an “unlimited” plan of seats taking a percentile of product/courses sold or per minimum amount, to seat bundles to a tiny percentile of a product/course (per).

A really good EE system, offers this and for those who just want the standard LMS, provides these features too, without missing a beat. What makes the difference? Great across the board.

Extended Enterprise 2010 System of the Year

Absorb Anywhere LMS

It has all when it comes to an EE, especially the look and feel that screams COOL for the end users of your company and your distributors, wholesalers, etc. I have to admit the first time I saw it, I was blown away and it just continues to impress. The front is crisp and clear, the back end is admin friendly and EE feature set is beyond robust. Accepts APIs and shopping cart.  Reporting, is solid. Social Learning is limited.

Social Learning Management System of the Year

Upside Learning

E-Learning 24/7