Can you recommend an LMS?

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Perhaps you have to someone you know.  Or maybe you have posted this same question on various social media platforms such as Linkedin.

Or you have seen it posted someone on the internet.  I know I have.  Seen it that is.  In the past couple of months, this question is making the rounds on Linkedin with the usual responses that follow.

a. Vendors saying “have you looked at XYZ” (which is their system)

b.  Consumers saying “We like ZYX” (and some of the consumers are resellers, so again it is more of pointing towards..

The problem with asking random folks to recommend an LMS is that they have no idea on what specific functionality you need, nor your budget, nor your challenges or issues you are facing, nor your requirements, nor your training approach or L&D approach, nor your experience with e-learning.

And therein lies the problem.  Just asking to recommend an LMS without the audience knowing exactly what you want is like following the mantra of saying can you recommend me a movie to go see, without telling people you hate dramas, comedies and documentaries.  The responses could include all of those options.

I often receive inquiries from folks asking what LMS do I recommend, with the same approach they post on Linkedin.  In other words, it is just the question with no particulars of what is taking place.

I often bring up FindAnLMS, my search and comparison platform for finding learning systems, including LMSs, simply because I have been told by many people looking for or researching LMSs that they like it and use it. 

In the amount of time you read this line, you could be registered and using the system.   So, before you go ahead and post, can you recommend an LMS, I’d say go to FindAnLMS.com, register, activate and then log-in to conduct your search.

But this post isn’t about FindAnLMS, it is about the question can you recommend an LMS.  And the answer is yes, yes I can.

Recommendations

While I am still working on my Top 50 learning systems for 2019 (published in Jan., plus all the vendors will be found in FindAnLMS),  I do have systems I can recommend based on various criteria.   As with the report (yes, there will be on in 2019), my criteria may not align to what you are specifically seeking. 

Thus, I will try my best to differentiate when it comes to various factors.  I also weigh support as an important piece of the puzzle, and it is because the number one reason people leave systems is due to support issues.  Yet, as I have often noted, it is rarely pushed upon in an RFP, let alone a demo.   Folks seem fine with the vendor noting how awesome their support is, without extracting any metrics or verifiable data.  

But I do.  And I ask it often when talking to vendors.  I’ve seen many a metric and viewed details that you the consumer would not have access to.  I always appreciate vendors exposing this, because it puts them on the hot seat, but, for those who really care about you, doing it actually helps in the end.

I have asked vendors to complete a Support Card, and many have.  But plenty still have not, which makes me ask why.  You the consumer can use the support card as part of your RFP process, which I strongly recommend.  

I’ve provided you with the questions you want to ask, now, you have the vendor respond.   Anyone who tells you it is a secret, should go from your list of potentials.    Anyone who says they do not have the metrics – trust me – there is someone there who does OR they can compile based on what is needed.

Who is impressing in Support

I know SumTotal Learning Management gets tagged regularly when it comes to support.  And I know folks who leave them are usually unhappy for various reasons, but I can tell you that I have had two in-depth meetings with SumTotal including one with the VP of Customer Service/Support and have seen the metrics.  I appreciated their honesty in saying they still have challenges, but they are trying to correct the ship.   I like that.

They have by far the best mobile app for Support, i.e. a support mobile app that clients can download and use (if they have SumTotal).

What is provided to the client are right to the point metrics, status updates, follow-ups and more.  While the jargon will confuse some folks (I recommended some changes) and there are some items I do not see of value to the client (and noted that to them), the support app is of itself, as a whole, well done. 

So I want to give a shout-out to SumTotal for not only recognizing the challenges they face, but doing something about it and backing that up with data, not just words.

Who Else?

Unicorn LMS, ideal for the financial services space and even anyone looking for an LMS targeting compliance and regulatory, provided their Support Card.  They have terrific support and yep, a training department (rare in our industry).  

eLogic Learning, a top notch LMS, has fantastic support  (also sent a Support Card).  I’d say, in the top three of the entire industry.  It is that good, and they also have a training department. 

Other top support card respondents included ePath Learning, Upside LMS, Digits Glo, MATRIX, and G-Cube.

Who Didn’t

I admit I was surprised that Cornerstone Learning Suite, Saba, Blackboard, Bridge, SuccessFactors, Linkedin Learning and even Docebo did not.  The first two often pitch how their support is outstanding, even though I have heard quite a different story (from consumers and from within). 

Extracting information from SuccessFactors is like trying to extract moon rocks from the moon in a spaceship made out of clay.

Cornerstone has in the past provided me support info for my reports, and that is appreciated, but the support card is a call to arms, of saying we want metrics!

Docebo, a system I do like, has a mixed track record when it comes to support. Saba the same thing.  In fact, I’d say that most vendors in the learning system space would be rated average in their support.  That should be a concern and a wake-up call. 

Functionality

If you are looking for an LMS that has NexGen functionality, well, my previous post on the NexGen Grid, should be the place for you to check out.

But let’s say you wanted a top system because you plan to do a lot of instructor led training and add some webinars to the mix.

In the industry the functionality you are seeking is called classroom management (only for ILT) and event management (for webinars, seminars, etc.).  

One feature that I believe is important is the ability for folks who sign-up/register for an event, and it appears in their own G-Mail, Outlook, or whatever service their e-mail is hosted on.  The way this is done is via iCal (you do not see this). 

You would think everyone has this capability, but you would be wrong.   Cornerstone for example, does not, even though it is a robust LMS.

But when you look at administration, especially with “Allow administrators to set multiple levels of approval (e.g., no approval needed, supervisor approval, instructor approval, etc.)”, Cornerstone does, and the majority of vendors do as well.  But again here is the kicker, not everyone. 

Recommending yet?

I was debating with myself (totally one-sided conversation), how to go about it.  Do I provide based on vertical(s) or the total package or NexGen (see the Grid), or social or gamification or….

Overall Yummy

Without showing my hand (you can’t see it anyway, unless you have telepathic capabilities or are looking at me via a hack with my web cam), for top rankings in 2019, I can list a group that I would say to anyone who asks the randomness without providing specifics, a group of folks.  

If you are a vendor who is not on this list, it does not mean that you are a)not in my rankings for 2019.  Please be aware this is a list only for LMSs, but my 2019 rankings are based on all types of learning systems, so you can expect to see LEP/LXP, Sales Enablement, etc. in there.

The way I went about this, is honestly, just thinking it thru, on the whole banana. There is no perfect system – I want to stress this.  But many people will say to me, “We can’t find a vendor who does this…  Or we looked and no one can do this…”, to which I often respond, there are X who can.

No Particular Order (For those who do not want to say “yummy” in their twitter feeds, feel free to say “Recommends”).  If the vendor is in FindAnLMS, I will indicate as (Yes).  Please note this is only for LMSs and not any other learning system. 

For vendors in FindAnLMS, please register for FindAnLMS, then go in and check out their functionality, etc.  Let them know you found them via FindAnLMS. Many have videos and PDFs you can view and download. And many you can schedule a demo, send RFP, etc.

A couple more that I like, but are missing items such as e-commerce (i.e. they target internal – employees) or UI needs an update.

  • Kokm  (Yes) – Internal targeted.
  • Roundtable Learning (Yes), needs a couple of tweaks, but still someone to explore
  • OnPoint Digital (Yes) – Robust is an understatement, UI could be better.

You would rather want to be on the Titanic

Simply speaking, these three have landed on the “DO NOT RECOMMEND” list

  • Grovo – over-rated – yeah it is more of a micro-learning platform, but it is my post, so I’m adding them here. 
  • SuccessFactors –  Part of me thinks they are so driven to be an HCM, they forgot about keeping the learning strong; the other part thinks that the system is not only over-rated but just poor.  In other words, you can do better.
  • ExpertusOne – Once a darling of mine, but now, not sure of the direction of the company nor the product.  A shame, really. 

Bottom Line

The next time someone asks “Can you recommend an LMS”, you can retort with a firm YES and start to name a few. Send them over to FindAnLMS or to this post or just give them the names and let them search and discover.

The key though is discovery.

The rest

is a

Cool journey.

E-Learning 24/7

Bonus note –  A doggie named Ariel was shot and left for dead.  She needs on-going medical care.  She is now at an animal shelter we volunteer at, so if you can make a donation of even $10, it will make a huge difference.  She lost her leg in the process but is a tough and sweet cookie.  Here is the link to the page. gofundmeI am hoping that the training, L&D, HR and e-learning communities can make it happen for her.  We are on our way, with close to $500 raised. 

 

 

6 comments

    1. Not seeing it honestly. The challenge I have with the platform is it tries to be both a performance management system and an LMS. Anytime someone says employee development, I automatically think B2B/B2C is out. Equally, HCM stands for human capital management – so just as a sidebar that term implies something completely else. TY though for suggesting them. I’d recommend having them on FindAnLMS. If you wish to learn how, let me know. TY again.

      Like

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