Top 10 LMSs of 2015

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I track 645 LMSs in the world. I estimate that there is quite likely 800 or so that are in existence today.

Of that amount, 200 would fit at least the average category and of that, well you get the idea.

On Saturday, I published my report, the Top 50 LMSs of 2015, which is available for purchase. Before I jump into the top 10, a couple of unique benefits to this year’s report.

Discounts when you buy their LMS

  • Several vendors are offering discounts, if you decide to purchase their LMS.  It is exclusive to buyers of the report. A few of the vendors are offering at least 10% off the price of the system.  As you can see, that is a big difference maker.

Below are the vendors who offering some type of discount if you end up buying the system.

  • Growth Engineering
  • eLogic Learning
  • Unicorn Training
  • IMC
  • Aduro
  • emtrain
  • Administrate
  • Percolate
  • Digits Glo
  • Adrenna
  • ShareKnowledge
  • CoursePeer
  • Wormehole

Criteria for this year’s rankings

The criteria is based on 15 areas, with each area having points assigned and weighted. Some of the areas were worth more than others because of it.  And within that area, further drill downs took place.

Example:  Mobile Learning.

If you had a native app that got points. If you had a native app that worked with the latest OS of the respected platform you were on, that got additional points (BTW, not everyone in the industry is).  

If you had the first two steps and had on/off synch, more points.  If you had all three and a manager/instructor view, more points.  If you had all four and had additional capabilities beyond that, you got more points.  And so forth.

Support played a key role in here as it does every year.  And the stories I heard this past 2014, were unreal with some vendors and not in a good way.  It always amazes me. It is the easiest thing to fix and apparently with a lot of vendors, impossible to do.

I’ll posting a link to my criteria, when I get back to the states – so you can read the entire listing rather than have it posted OR buy the report, it is in there too.

Profiles in The Report

Each profile in the report contains the following information:

  • Number of Clients, Top three verticals
  • If they have a demo on (my site) it is listed there.
  • Setup Fees Include:
  • How do you define pricing
  • Do you offer a separate pricing model for B2B/B2C
  • Any additional costs (optional items)
  • What is your Unique Value Proposition?
  • Do you offer full service implementation or self-service? What is included in the fees?
  • Roadmap for 2015
  • How many updates per year. What is your down time?
  • Mobile Capabilities (Responsive, xAPI, on/off synch., native app, etc.)
  • Mobile Features (What can the end user do in in the mobile, Manager/Instructor – if the platform is HE or edu – what the student and teacher do
  • Gamification
  • Social
  • Do you charge for APIs?
  • Do you include or offer integrations or interfaces with any 3rd party apps?
  • What HRIS/ERP platforms do you integrate with? What about SharePoint?
  • Do you intergrate or interface with Salesforce?  If yes, can the learner take courses within Salesforce?
  • How many support agents do you have? Do you offer support in another language besides English?(and if yes, list the language(s))
  • Wherer are your support agents based?  Do you offer 24/7/365
  • Is support included at no charge? If yes, what do they receive? If they pay a fee what are the benefits?
  • Is training included for no charge?  If yes what do they get.

If the system is in EDU or HE, there were asked a question on what makes them different than their competitors.  They were also asked on whether they provided plagerism detection too.

So, yes there are ED/HE platforms in here as well, besides Corporate.

In the 2015 Report, systems from Argentina, England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Germany, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and United States were in the top 50.

Top 10 for 2015

Below are the rankings.  The best of the best.  The format is as follows:

a.  Name of the Vendor, with link under it.  b. Brief highlights  c. Bonus fun fact.  For a more extensive details on each of them, along with 34 others, read the report.  As I always do the final few are just named and no profiles are provided.

#10 IMC Learning Suite An all around super performer. The UI on the front end is good, the back end needs improvement, but the feature sets and capabilities are robust.

Big wins for me include required training and minimum two years exp. for support and they have high requirements afterwards, no charge for APIs, robust in mobile including the branding of your mobile app (unique), multi-tenant (Extended Enterprise), separate pricing models for B2B/B2C, understanding of the market.  Ideal for 10,000+ internal (employees) and B2B/B2C.  Has social and gamification too.

#9 LearnUpon–  Continues to get better each year. Very slick UI, buy today can go live today (i.e. self-service) platform. Multi-tenant, strong feature set.

Analytics is just okay, reporting is okay. But the system makes up for it.  SMB, although there is no doubt they are landing +10,000 users too.  B2B/B2C. Sadly no separate pricing model.

#8 CM-Group Luminosity–  Hello, happy land. Let’s get to it – Very slick UI, front and back end. Strong feature set, mobile is very robust, gamification is solid, social is there.

They have a LR and have rules based gamification which can be tied to it, so there’s that.  Everything is included (optional components).  No charge for APIs.  Separate pricing model for B2B.  Mid size and up for internal.

#7 Blackboard – Higher Education   BB is back in town.  The UI is very nice, especially on the front end. Feature set for HE is at top tier status and their mobile UI experience continues to get better.

I list specifically them for HE at this ranking, because well, it works.  I am not a fan – repeat NOT a fan of them for corporate/government, because the platform doesn’t work well for asynchronous based learning (self-paced all in compassing).

It still fits the synch based experience which is sticking the classroom online.  HE strong.

#6  Docebo – Rock star! UI is very slick for front and back end. I still love the one click app into the platform, and the inclusion of content into the LMS (they include some courses at no charge).  A disruptor in the industry, who has the feature sets to contend with in the market.

If there was a knock for them, I would say it is because they charge for extended enteprise (but it is because they include additional layer of support and assistance in helping it setup and then along its way. So I can live with that..but).

I would love to see them create a more robust analytics, but that’s just me.  Anyway, definitely B2B/B2C and for internal mid-size and up (with sweet spot 2,500 users and up).  But you can go small size too.  LMS Ecosystem.

The Top Five–  (banging drums..banging drums.. uh in the good way and not announcing you as the next meal).

#5 Unicorn Training SkillsServe – Financial Services mega-star. If you are in the FS space and want the best, well here you go.  The feature set is outstanding, UI for front end is very nice.. I love the home dashboard, favorites too.

Built-in authoring tool could easily be sold as a stand-alone it is that good.  Admin side, UI is solid..needs to make it better.  The only vendor I have seen that includes a CPD mobile on/off synch app – a huge plus.  They know the industry and it shows.

They offer support for learners (prem. support thus fee), and that is also very unique – uh, not the fee angle, the support angle.   This system is oozing with potential.

#4 Frog –  Jumping high once again, this is a K-6 system that is no prince, rather it is a King. App store, Frog Play, fun design for its target audience make it a wonderful offering.  Extensive resources for teachers, another big win.  I could go on.. it is the best K-6 system period.

#3 eLogic Learning eSSential Plus – Takes it up another notch with some serious major wins.  Feature wise this system always had it, but for me it was really the UI.  Finally, it is being enhanced – with a new look and feel coming by end of Q1.  

Updates frequently, which is a big for me, and their support is awesome. LMS ecosystem, extended enteprise (multi-tenant), separate pricing models for B2B/B2C and internal.  Mid size and up for internal, B2B.

Mobile strong, gamification is coming tied to social, nice as well.  Huge victories for me include:  120+ courses included at no charge, they will build you a custom course for free and include the dominKnow Authoring Tool (#2 in 2014) too.    B2B/B2C super strong. Top 3 in B2B/B2C, Top 3 in Retail and Healthcare.

#2 ExpertusOne The former #1 for the last 3 years is now number two.  The reason for the drop, a slow down to me in terms of continuing enhancements that are forward thinking.  That said, this is a very very strong system.  Predicative analysis (the first to do it), home learner dashboard , geolocation in their mobile app, gamification, and awesome UI, better on the front end though. The admin side still needs some tweaks.

B2B/B2C is elite and yeah, they have multi-tenant (extended enteprise).  They are a LMS Ecosystem.

#1 Growth Engineering– I could write thousands of words on this system and it still wouldn’t be enough. By far the most modern hip front and back end in the industry (i.e. learner and admin).  One of the very few systems, that I as a learner would have fun and want to stay in.  Support is elite. Constantly adding new features and capabilties.  Mobile rolling out includes on/off synch, native app with xAPI.

Gamification – the best in the market. This is a LMS wrapped around gamification, so if you are not into gamification, this may not work for you. My take though, is today you may not be using gamification, but a year from now?  Features are all there and then some.  They are launching Q2 a built-in authoring tool with gamification tied around it and some gaming elements.

Badge Library included, social solid, learner huge win!  #1 in Next Gen, #1 in Retail.  They are also working on a HE version which will offer different features than corporate, another nice win for me.

Multi-tenant (extended enterprise), B2B/B2C elite and mid-size and up (internal).  The biggest weakness to me is their e-commerce, but I have been told that is being worked on as we speak, err I write. So I surmise Q2 rollout.

At Learning Technologies in London this week

Growth Engineering, Docebo, IMC, Unicorn Training SkillsServe and maybe CM-Group (not sure).

Bottom Line

There you have it. The top ten. For those wondering where is my system? Well, check out the report. It’s $599 and frankly, it will save you time and money in the long run.

As for myself? Well, I’ll continue to do what I do.. telling it like it is..checking out the industry and reporting back to you.

Until next week..

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