LMS True or False

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Ahh, the LMS/LCMS world where everything is a wonderful world of pear trees, green grass, sunny days and where there are no myths, no falsehoods, just internal bliss – awaiting the customer. 

Let’s Play True or False

  • The Big Dog Learning Management Systems are the best in the market – FALSE.   This is a major misnomer in the industry and it is too bad. There are a lot of really good LMSs (inc. LCMS) out there that are mid level and honestly even small dogs. 
  • My Learning Management System features learning paths, group employees by department/unit/division, add/delete employees, etc. and theirs can’t. MOST OF THE TIME FALSE.
    Nowadays, the majority of LMSs offer similar basic functionality, including the curriculum paths – where employees in department x only see that curriculum, while employees in department y see that one; plus grouping, adding/deleting employees and more are starting to offer employee batch uploads.

    However, something not all vendors offer -AND THEY SHOULD – deleting the employee and their info., but it actually is still saved in the system, stored, so if you accidentally made a mistake you can get it back. Trust me the accident issue occurs, and right before you scream into the night, wouldn’t it be nice to know someone has your back?

  • LMS/LCMS vendors who offer multiple systems/flavors of the systems are targeting certain company size (employee wise).  TRUE.  There are vendors in the market who offer multiple systems, pre-built with functionality (and yes, some custom), and target them for the size of the company. This does not mean you can’t purchase the one you like – nor that they won’t sell it to you – they will; but what it does mean is that they are targeting larger sized companies (10,000 or more employees), but still want to sell across all company sizes, hence multiple systems. Something that is starting to appear is where the vendor identifies the system and minimum recommended employee size (you would see this only with vendors who offer multiple systems or who offer multiple flavors of the system).

  • There are niche LMS vendors who target only the small to mid size company or even just the small size company.  TRUE.  There are LMS vendors who target their systems for non-profit, for niche markets, education, associations and government, so it finally makes sense to offer it on company size.

  • The demonstration of the Learning Management System you are seeing is the one you are actually looking at purchasing. SOMETIMES FALSE.

I call it Bells and Whistles syndrome.  Some vendors’ sales people will show you their demo that includes all the bells and whistles that come with the solution and fail to mention that to you (they should).

Solve it: When the vendor is showing you the LMS/LCMS ask them if that is included in the system or an extra cost.  Make sure to write down what costs extra. Warning signs for auto checks on extra costs these days include additional social learning functionality/social media components, talent/performance management (although most vendors will tell you up front pre-demo that unless you want to see it, they will not show it),  additional branding options, e-commerce, etc.

Always have them show you a live demonstration of the system and not a recorded one. I don’t care if they tell you (and some will – if they offer the recorded demo) to look at the recorded one first; you want to see a live demonstration.  Let’s face it, unless they are awash in cash, they are in the business to sell. I surmise that if it means showing you the product versus losing you, they will show you the product.

  • It is worth the extra dollars to purchase a LMS that comes built in with an authoring tool. FALSE.  Actually, I see no real advantage for having a built-in authoring tool, other than it generates some more revenue for the vendor.  Yes, it simplifies some things because you can build your courses within the system and then save it to use the course. But it is a rapid e-learning authoring tool stripped down, nothing more.

From the price perspective – there are plenty of open source solutions you can get that are  free or less than $100.  If you want to buy a name brand or more recognized rapid e-learning tools – you have some pricing options.  Any top rapid e-learning authoring tool will provide you with a fully functional 30 day trial.

  • If I decide to buy an off the shelf  rapid e-learning authoring tool (example: Articulate), I should buy it from the LMS vendor. FALSE. You can always find a lower price elsewhere.

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One comment

  1. I believe the real question here is, does your organization need an LMS? I have been working with companies to select and implement LMS’ for almost 10 years now and the one constant is that technology is not going to solve the real issues inside the training department.

    The real issues revolve around alignment of training to business objectives and content. Until the alignment and content issues are clear no LMS is going to solve the problem.

    From a functionality standpoint so many people want the bells and whisles but the question remains, do you really need all that extra stuff or are you only going to use 30% of the functionality of an LMS anyway. That is where you are taking my thought process in this discussion.

    Thanks for getting it started. Look forward to continued conversations.

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