#25 to #11 LMSs of 2012

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It is the holiday season and for those who see me as the grinch (okay a few vendors do, but I digress) here is a special post.  Next week, 12-12-12, will be #10 to #1 learning management systems for 2012.

This week:  #25 to #11 (cheering and booing is allowed, but please keep it to yourself)

Drum Roll please

#25 Mindflash.com

They are a next gen of lite LMSs (feel free my post “When is a LMS, Not a LMS”). New features include m-learning on the iPad with native app (no on/off synch), integrates with Yammer, themes, custom URL, assessment tool, the authoring tool is the key component, help and feedback tab.

While I disagree on some fronts about their e-learning approach to WBT – can we say linear – they still possess all that is edgy with e-learning and especially with the new genres and sub-genres. 

#24 Litmos

They were once in my top five a year ago, but no more. While their UI is very user friendly, they really haven’t done much in terms of new cool features in 2012. A shame really. I have an idea on why this happened, but that’s for another day. 

#23 Net Dimensions

A year ago if you told me that they were in the top 25 systems, I would have laughed in your face. Now in 2012, they overhauled that UI, added some very forward thinking features including digital signatures and are now on the rise. Two big knocks hurt them from moving into the top tier:
a. Price – they charge a yearly base of around 20K, this is before the # of users, etc. It’s sickening.
b. Sales service – in my experience awful.  

#22 Pearson – OpenClass

Part LMS, part social and yes a very nice part of mobile including apps for iPad. Really for education, but yeah others could probably use it. Never heard of them? You will.

#21 Panopto

This is a new breed of the LMS sector. The genre? Video learning platforms.

The ability to shoot video with your smartphone/tablet, webcam or another device and then upload it into a platform is revolutionary, especially when the end user can type in “dog” for example and the video will go to each point “dog” is said. It eliminates the negative of video which requires the end user to forward to other areas. 

Bookmarking, analytics and transcripts are bonuses. The downside to Panopto is its lack of skinning and the dual logo. Hopefully this will change. 

#20 Saba Learning Suite

With its m-learning capability including on/off synch and rather solid UI, the product continues to be an effective solution. While the pricing is outrageous and the Saba as a whole seems better suited as a HCM, their learning suite is a better alternative than those who want Cornerstone OnDemand.

Personally, I feel you shouldn’t have to spend the $$$ to find a system that is comparable and even better than Saba, but if you want to go with the big dogs, this is the one to go with it.  

#19 WBT Top Class 

Feature wise the product is impressive. 21 CFR Part 11, a very strong compliance mgt module incl. audit trails and digital signatures, e-commerce which includes the ability to cross-sell and upsell products, accepts not just courses but other items, ability to retain info, if end user comes back and Verisign too.

It offers on/off synch with tablets and smartphones another plus. The UI is average, so don’t go Ga-ga over it – because you won’t. 

#18 Upside Learning

Another super robust feature system. The product is always cutting edge and their mobile is outstanding. The UI is the best it has ever been, and while the admin still needs improvement – UI wise, overall, this is still an outstanding solution. Social btw, fantastic.

#17 OpenElms

A free learning management system hits the ranks. The system was created specifically for business, which in of itself makes it unique. It offers a nice set of features and enables you to buy and sell courses. It offers for a fee hosting, a trend that is becoming more common in the free open source space, but for those who will scream, what about freebies, here it is.

#16 Meridan KSI

While the UI needs to continue to enhanced, there is no doubt in mind that this system has vastly improved over the past year. Big wins: support for tablets and thus mobile learning, home dashboard for end users, nice social learning – I love the expert locator and doable performance mgt (for people who want that).

I do wish they offered more robust analytics for perf. mgt, but that is an issue the whole industry including talent management and human capital management systems still finds challenging or umm lack of desire to do.

#15 Seminar Learning System 

Despite some sales hiccups, this is a wonderful product. A great example of someone who doesn’t do a lot of advertising, is under the radar, inexpensive but still provides enough to be effective. Streamline driven and mobile support including tablets. Another example of a very clean, modern and crisp UI. They also offer another product called Portal, so it really depends on what you want. 

#14 Totara LMS by Totara Learning Solutions

Great user interface, easy to use and a wealth of amazing features.They are working on a strong m-learning capability. Best way to see what they are all about is to read my product review on them http://bit.ly/QbgkbW

#13 Blackboard

Some people see them as the evil empire from Star Wars, but this is still a solid system.

While its user interface good definitely need an upgrade, for people who want a true synchronous based platform (i.e. education/higher ed) this will suffice. If you are corporate, I wouldn’t use it, although it does interface with Salesforce.com with the Salesforce component built in. 

#12 Administrate

The system used to require you to purchase their business platform prior to buying their LMS, but no longer. Features include a built in CRM (customer relationship mgt), sales pipeline mgt, marketing tools, event mgt, social learning and yes, classroom mgt. One of the really cool features is the ability to export your accounting data directly into Quickbooks, Sage and similar products.

#11 Competentum ShareKnowledge 3.1 

Simply put, the best SharePoint LMS on the market. Ease of use is outstanding, nice user interface, classroom mgt, event mgt, certificates, authoring tool (but I would use another), assessments add additional flavor.

E-Learning 24/7


  1. Hello Craig, thanks for this. It was great to see instructure Canvas as that is what we have been trialing for our academic side with real success.

    As a small college/graduate school where 70% of our students and 80+% of our alumni continue to pursue advanced professional licensure training and certification, our challenge is to find an LMS we can afford that will do both corporate ( with potential sale of our compliance approved courses to global alumni companies) and academic customers though they are different markets.. Bizlibrary is attractive but does not have the on off sync. nor are they mobile. We want the corporate platform to be clear,simple,and mobile because of the remote, always on the go, locations of many of our alumni.

    One company did not make your top 25 list..Digitecinteractive/knowledge direct.. can you give me a hint as to why? From demos and conversations, digitec appears to be a good match particularly for our Continuing Ed products given their 1. success with engineering, AmerMedicalAsso and legal compliance clients. and 2. they have been around elearning for some time (another important sales point), continue to innovate, and are not too big/expensive.

    Merry Christmas and thank you for the Sandy Hook links.. a nation in mourning never needed the Christ Child as much as we do in 2012. Victoria

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