I love to travel. I especially love it when I get the opportunity to present all over the world on a variety of e-learning topics. I love meeting new folks who have either been big fans and supporters of e-learning or are totally new to e-learning and seeking out information and knowledge.
Yet, despite the knowledge transfer, the gaining of additional insight, I am always perplexed at the number of folks who talk about LMSs as though they are no longer relevant and use words like traditional or out dated.
They forget to realize that a learning system, learning platform are just semantics – as noted before. You can have a modern learning system that is really crummy, just as you can have with a LMS. Equally you have can an awesome LMS all modern and feature rich, just as you can with some learning systems.
Yeah, they forget that part.
I especially have a slight peeve when hearing how you should not buy a commercial system, rather build it yourself – because you know it gives you more control and you can do more with it than a commercial platform.
I scoff at this idea. The people who love to toss this around, fail to mention to the audience that they often have the internal resources and people to do such a job. They fail to let people know that building something isn’t free, even if the software to do so is equally free.
Wing it no more
In January of this year, I presented the top systems for 2013-14.
In June of this year, I published the top 50 LMSs Mid-Year Rankings report.
And now, I present my top 15 systems for 2014 as of mid-year (final 2014 rankings will be in December).
If you want additional insight, greater depth of information, including top systems by verticals, user size and markets, you can find it in the report available for purchase. You also find data and factoids that in many cases is not available anywhere else.
15 to 11
#15 Administrate – Part CRM, part financial tools, and a unique approach that works for a LMS. If you are seeking a system that is a mash-up of useful business tools with a strong LMS, than this is a system to examine. A very nice win is the ability to create marketing lists and marketing campaigns.
#14 MediaCore – A pure video learning platform. If it is about video and you want a system that can edit video, capture video including real time presentations, acquire video via mobile devices and offer functionality of a LMS, than this one to check out.
Their ideal market honestly is education, but they as many other VLPs have realized that corporate is a delicacy that cannot be passed up. Has a YouTube style.
#13 Blackboard – What is their to say about the most well known synchronous based platform best suited for education and has a strong core of users in the education market? Well, they have added Salesforce.com to their solution and entered the corporate space as well.
Education they should be highly considered, but I wouldn’t go with them for business. Video demo on lmsdemos.com
#12 My Big Campus – One of the best systems out there for K-12. The user interface is fantastic, the system offers a lot of features and frankly it is fun, especially if you are in secondary (6 to 12th grade – which I feel is its strength).
Extensive resources for teachers including EduTalk, connects with Google Drive and Docs for students and teachers and super strong social.
#11 Meridian Global – Don’t let the web site fool you – because it really needs an overhaul, this is a strong system. Multi-tenant (aka parent – children), on/off synch and responsive for mobile and an updated UI adds real flavor to the system.
Mobile is an extra fee. I should also note that they prefer a minimum of 2,500 users. This makes no sense in my book, because you could have 500 users and have a high budget for training and equally you could have 5,000 users and your budget is slightly higher than 35 candy bars. Video demo on lmsdemos.com
10 to 6
#10 CM-Group Luminosity Reach – Very slick LMS with gamification, very modern UI and mobile capabilities. The system continues to get better every time I look at it. Mobile responsive, e-commerce and easy to use makes this a winner.
Mentor includes native apps for iOS and Android, performance tools, on/off synch and analytics are super savers in this solution, but the issue I have is that it costs extra. Dump the fee CM, should be the rallying cry. Okay, I’ll start, you follow!
#9 Aduro – I know it sounds like a song, like Bolero, but this song is anything but heavy. A UI that will remind you of Windows 9 metro, with a feature set to match, showcases the power of the platform.
My 2013 Newcomer of the year, continues to go about it the right way. How you might ask? Well you receive at no charge, a custom domain, HTTPS:// and SSO. Strong in social, gamification is solid and multi-tenant are just a blissful. Supports mobile. Video demo on lmsdemos.com
#8 Unicorn Training – SkillsServe is its name, the LMS that is and financial is its game. Best system for the financial market in my opinion with a wonderful modern UI on the user side to boot.
The admin side needs some updating, but with a “favorites” capability for learners, mobile app for recording and tracking CPD progress as well as on/off synch, and powerful video tools such as the ability to upload video from any mobile device (that has a camera) and full video course analytics and tracking, makes Unicorn a rarity in the industry. And that is a great thing. Video on lmsdemos.com
#7 Frog Learn – Kermit would be proud to have this LMS as a friend. The system is K-12, but ideal for K-6. Its user interface is modern with a wonderful fun twist, again needed for that age bracket. App store is included, drag and drop and FrogPlay which includes gamification with avatars and self-grading homework, makes it hop.
#6 Docebo – A system by any other name is a system whose name is often mispronounced. Seriously though, this is a wonderful LMS that includes one-click apps (you pick, you click and whalla it is in the system), free courses included – which are okay, but hey they are free, a very modern user interface and mobile.
Content distribution network, built in video converter, multi-tenant and gamification are just what the doctor ordered or in this case the customer needed.
If there were any minuses it would be the charging of extra items such as gamification ($19/mth), e-commerce ($39/mth), white labeling ($39/mth) and their classroom management ($199/mth). Docebo will probably say that not everyone wants A or B and thus they can pick and choose. I say let them have it and if they don’t want it, they can turn it off.
5 to 1
#5 eLogic Learning – Another system whose site needs an overhaul (and I’m happy to report it is being done), because it gives off an impression that this system isn’t as fantastic as it is listed to be.
The support and service are elite and the system itself has a lot to offer. I always love vendors who constantly update and enhance their system multiple times throughout the year and eLogic is no exception.
Multi-tenant, e-commerce, Tin Can, mobile responsive and a extremely powerful set of features showcases this system. Gamification intertwined with social is on the horizon and the previous minus – lack of true assessment component has been resolved.
One of the awesome capabilities is the system comes with a custom course that eLogic will build for you at no charge. It is like winning the lottery, okay, the scratch off lottery ticket, but still..
#4 Instructure – The system built for err including speedgrader continues to deliver. Ideal for the higher education market, Canvas comes with a load of free LTI apps, an app store, modern UI, SMS notifications and a slew of other feature sets that just work.
Mobile supported with native iOS and Android apps, Canvas continues to be on a hot streak. Which has me wondering if that is the case, where is the on/off synch and gamification? Two components that are really necessary in today’s HE market. The answer? I’m like their customers are still waiting to find out.
#3 IMC Learning Suite – Welcome, welcome to all who seek a system that brings together an extensive feature set, modern UI, on/off synch, native apps and mobile responsive design and oh yeah, a hearty dose of compliance capabilities that would make even the grinch smile with envy.
The solution in just the past six months has gone from solid and nice, to super slick and hearty all in a positive way. So, what is stopping IMC from being number one? I few items that still need to be solved, including an e-commerce that does not include self-bundling. Video on lmsdemos.com
#2 Growth Engineering – Ever heard the term, “Funtastic”? No? Well, that’s good because I just made it up. Anyway, Growth Engineering is not your same ol same system. First and foremost it is really fun for the learner because this system is 100% wrapped around gamification.
Succession planning? Gamification interwined. Authoring tool? In the works and will enable you to build gaming courses (please note: it is still in build mode). Classroom management? Event management? Happiness in a box? Yep, its all there, and all wrapped around gamification.
The administration side is no joke, rather it is a relaxing breeze of features you have come to expect, with a hint of coolness to tie any administrator over with a back end that delivers and works the way it is supposed to do.
The number one gamification system on the market, pounces into number two. Will it get to number one?
#1 ExpertusOne – What can be said, that hasn’t all ready been said about this LMS? In case you may have missed it, I believe it stands above the crowd and then some.
The system is rich with a modern UI for the front and back end, responsive mobile with on/off synch and native apps, gamification including a leaderboard and badges, compliance management and predictive learning – something that every system should have in its arsenal but does not.
System also includes SMS notifications in case you were wondering. Multi-tenant too.
Did I mention the auto integration, err actually appears within Salesforce.com solution? Enabling people who are already in Salesforce.com to take courses, assessments and everything else someone going right into the LMS, without themselves having to do so as well.
If there was anything to say whereas Expertus needs to improve upon, may come from its assessment tool which lacks the ability to leave feedback for correct/incorrect feedback.
The LMS delivers over and over again, but I’m waiting for more. Because a system that has added so much cannot stop. It needs more, because we all will expect it.
At least I am.
There they are – your top 15. Curious to know where SumTotal, Cornerstone, Saba and SuccessFactors ended up? Buy the report they are in there. Wondering if your system made the top 50? Guess what? If they did, they are in the report.
Want even more information than listed above about each of the systems mentioned? No worries, it is in the report.
Best of all, when you buy the report, you will receive not a 30 minute free call with me, rather, 50 minute free call with me.
Simple yet robust.
Modern, traditional and everything in between.
The way it should be.
For any LMS.
Couple of quick notes: To post on lmsdemos.com is 100% free and every vendor in the top 50 list were offered the opportunity to create a video demo (which cannot contain any sales pitch whatsoever) and have it on lmsdemos.com.
To see a sample of the report – Let’ See it (actual pages from the report)
I do offer services to find you the right LMS that meets your needs and expectations. Why do it yourself? When I can do it for you. Want to know more? E-mail me today.
I love following your blog and find your comments very helpful. I wonder if you have ever considered addressing the topic of “LMS provision on both sides of the pond: differences and similarities”? I say this because as a UK based user of a US based system (Oracle Taleo Learn) I find there are some challenges specific to location – no matter how much a vendor tells you they are global and have an office in every city in the world!
Just a thought!
Keep ‘em coming!
Helen Smyth (nee Dewhurst)
Head of Norgren University
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NORGREN – WE DELIVER ENGINEERING ADVANTAGE
Honestly, there is no difference. The only items are what is in the system – that can vary by vendor, what someone customizes (if they so desire) and adds perhaps via APIs, integrations and so on.
But having a system in the UK and used by someone in the states is the same as having a system based out of the US and used by someone in the UK. It comes down to the system itself.
Honestly, I am not a fan of Oracle iLearn formally Taleo, and its system is different than many others in terms of look and feel, feature capabilities, etc. To me it is dated. But that is just my perspective.
What do you think about the latest news about Skillsoft buying SumTotal?
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