Top 50 Learning Systems for 2019 (50 to 30)

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Back by popular demand, the top 50 Learning Systems for 2019.  As in last year’s post, the rankings will be split up over multiple blog posts and weeks. 

First up, #50 to #40 listed, followed by mini breakouts for #39-30.  Next post by Feb. 1st will be #29 to #20 – might push it to #11), following week I will be traveling to speak at ATDTK, Feb. 8th at 8 a.m. on “So, you wanna buy an LMS?”,  then off to LearningTech19 in London, thus the post on Feb. 17th, will cover the Top 10 systems.

As mentioned in a previous post on how the award rankings were conducted including methodology, please go here.

Every vendor, with the exception of Blackboard (who is coming soon) can be found on FindAnLMS.com, my learning system search engine platform, an independent and trusted source to search, compare and engage with vendors in the learning system space.  Thus, you can be always assured that the best of the best will be on the platform, no more searching for months, reaching out to vendors who never respond (ours do), spending way too much time seeing if the system has what you need AND as a result blasting RFPs to vendors who won’t meet your needs and your budget!

You can see pricing ranges, user bases, implementation time-frame and of course functionality in one stop shop experience.  You get your very own calendar and dashboard. We built our platform to mimic an LMS. 

Couple of notes

a. Rankings are based on 1,000 vendors across the globe

b. New functionality – NexGen played a bigger role than in year’s past. It has always been important, but this year had an extra weight to it.  This includes vendors who have a content marketplace over those who don’t, thus they received more points on that feature, for example.

c.  Support always plays an important role.  The number one reason folks leave systems is the lack of support, yet it is rarely inquired about in any RFP, let alone demos.  Feel free to use my support card that I send out to vendors and/or ask them directly. 

d.  I look at a lot of factors when putting together the top 50, so please, do your due diligence.  Yes, they are the best of the best, but one might be great in say FS (Financial Services as their only vertical) and you are in consumer goods, so uh, they are not the system for you. 

Or, you may have had issues with a vendor, see them in the top 50 and go “how can that be?” – which I’d retort, “I base it on a lot of factors and variables, so while I understand, I wasn’t there to learn the challenges, issues or whatever occurred. While a vendor may have failed to live up to what they promised (since I wasn’t on the call or handled your search for you), I can only go by what I as an analyst look at, etc.” 

e. Response time in communication was a variable.  If they do not respond or it takes the length of a steam engine in the 1920’s, then yeah, there is a problem.  Same with vendors who have zero clue on why e-learning and/or WBT was created in the first place – so that is a variable. Why would you want to do business with a vendor who is selling a system, but has zero interest in learning about the history of our space?  You wouldn’t take your car to a mechanic who didn’t know about older models, and yours is an older model, would you?

f. Mobile played a bigger role.  I get it that your customers may not be using mobile, but the fact of the world is that mobile is very important.  I found it weird that one vendor said they had on/off synch for the app, but didn’t have one in either iTunes or Google Play.  Uh, is it Palm or blackberry?   I also looked at update time with the mobile app. If the app hasn’t been updated in the last three months, that should be a warning sign. 

While there are 50 vendors in the rankings, due to a tie at #7, the list ends at #49. This is due to me having both at #7, then a vendor at #8 and so forth, rather than what some do, which is count 7 to 9 per se, then move from there.  Thus the rankings go from 49 to 1, and the ranking you see below is the ranking noted in the mini report coming out in end of Feb.

The Rankings 49 to 40

#49 Blackboard Learn (Corporate)

#48 Create LMS

#47 Springest Go

#46 UpsideLMS

#45 Tessello

#44 Edcast Knowledge Cloud

#43 TILE

#42 Persona Learning Management

#41 Looop (LEP/LXP)

#40 Accord LMS

Rankings #39 to #30

#39 BizLibrary – Depending on the system you have, you might have seen their content (they created), but many folks are unaware that they also sell an LMS.  While the system lacks e-commerce and an LRS, it does however, pack a wallop with an extensive feature set. 

Two minuses for me though is lack of mobile apps (everyone does mobile responsive) and is miss on stronger analytical data and data visualization, which while the system does provide solid reporting and analytics, the way the world is heading in the corporate space, a system needs more to match it.   For those who go to FindAnLMS, you can schedule a demo directly with them and compare feature sets with someone else you might be looking at.  Oh, and send them your amazing RFP. 

#38 G-Cube – Not a lot of folks have heard of this system, but not hearing about them isn’t a reason for ignoring them on your list for consideration.  They have always been on my radar and each year, I just see them as a solid player worthy of a ranking.  The system lacks e-commerce, content marketplace, LRS, listing of most popular courses/content, and a couple of learning environment feature sets, but on the flip side, has machine learning, content curation, coaching, compliance management, mobile including apps and classroom management. Administration side of the house is quite good.  Supports PENS, a standard I wish all vendors did – but very few do, and of course, SCORM.

#37 eXact LCMS – Repeat winner and the best LCMS on the market. Don’t be fooled by some authoring tool platforms who pitch themselves as an LCMS (because uh, they aren’t), nor the few other LCMS players on the market who pitch how awesome they are – maybe in their minds they are (and I’m happy for you), but in my eyes, eXact reigns supreme.  I do wish their UI was a bit better, but in the LCMS space, UI has never been a top priority as a whole for vendors.  Excellent compliance management, offers classroom management, solid learning environment functionality.  If you want e-commerce, and LCMS isn’t for you.  Best suited for employees and B2B.

#36 SkyPrep –  Get your red hot SkyPreps here! Sometimes I see system names that I recognize folks cannot pronounce because it is so weird to begin with, this isn’t the case here.  Anyway, that isn’t the reason you should consider them (or maybe it is..your choice!). Wonderful UI/UX, classroom management, compliance management, multi-tenant, excellent administration functionality, mobile apps and coaching to name a few features.  I always have fun in the system (not sure if it is a good thing, but in my mind it is, I mean who wants their learners to go “ugh” when they go into your system?).  Big minuses for me include a lack of skill management (they have features, but not all that I look at, still though, might be enough for most folks – as I am picky), and video management.   Fun fact – you can be live in about a month – now that is fast.

#35 Agylia –  When they first changed their name, I admit it looked like Argyle and I heard a couple of folks I know call it at. Now, though it sort of rolls of the tongue, not as argyle.  If you want a system that truly is mobile first, and many vendors pitch that, I can truly say they are. Mobile apps, on/off synch, knowledge reinforcement tool to boot.  Can have e-books in the system as well, along with podcasts (most vendors do not offer this capability). Excellent functionality across the board, very good UI/UX.  Lacks machine learning (but many vendors do at this point in 2019), still I’d use the system. Track record on roadmap is very good.  Support is outstanding.  Repeat winner.

Break Time!

Who in the Top 50 to 30 appeared in past rankings for 2018, 2017, 2016?  Here they are

  • Blackboard (2018, 2017, 2016)
  • Create LMS (2018, 2017)
  • Tessello (2018, 2017, 2016)
  • TILE (2018)
  • Persona Learning Management (2018, 2017 – 2016 under their other name)
  • Accord LMS (2018, 2017, 2016)
  • G-Cube (2018, 2017)
  • eXact LCMS (2018, 2017, 2016)
  • Agylia (2018, 2017, 2016)
  • BizLibrary (2016)
  • TorchLMS (2018,2017,2016)
  • Talent LMS (2018, 2017)
  • Asentia LMS (2018, 2017)
  • Saba (2018, 2016)

Back to The Rankings

#34 Torch LMS – UI/UX is very good, lots to like here, but the biggest item that continues to bother me is the insistence from Torch that mobile is not needed (beyond being mobile responsive, which they are).  Thus no mobile apps whatsoever.  This isn’t some new decision by them, it is a decision that has existed for years (at least since m-learning gained popularity).  System is strong functionality wise, but lacks e-commerce (which is odd since they can do B2B and customers, so e-comm is relevant IMO), multi-lingual while good, still is missing multi-byte languages. The system supports every course standard including xAPI and PENS, but misses out on an LRS and content marketplace.  If those items are nothing burgers for you, then this is a system to consider.

#33 Percipio by Skillsoft – An LEP/LXP that does quite a bit, very good UI and UX. Mobile apps include on/off synch and knowledge reinforcement capabilities. While the system offers content curation, it is currently missing machine learning and coaching.  On the other hand it does offer competency and skill management. 

#32 Talent LMS People always say to me, “you can’t find a good system at a very affordable price point.” To those folks I say, “check out TalentLMS, which can be found on FindAnLMS (nice plug).”

Seriously though this is a solid system that really is very affordable especially with user counts above 2500.  System offers among other things, mobile with apps and on/off synch, very strong administration capabilities, SCORM and xAPI, content marketplace, multi-tenant with separate branding for each tenant and classroom management.  A minus for me is the lack of machine learning (while understandable many vendors still lack it – the majority to be honest), and coaching.  UI/UX is good. 

#31 Asentia LMS  – From the fine folks at ICS Learning Group, this SaaS based system is by far their best product (they offer another LMS too).  Keeps getting better every year, and when it debuted a couple of years back it started out as good, so there’s that. Feature-rich including coaching, content marketplace, LRS and compliance management. Reporting offers ad-hoc and use of filters.  Minuses include the inability to have your individual learning plan and course catalog seen on the same screen, no mobile apps (except for mobile responsive) and lack of video management.  Very nice UI/UX.

#30 Saba Learning Welcome back (please hum the Welcome Back Kotter theme)! I say welcome back because earlier in 2018, I stopped recommending them for a variety of factors, but changes have been made, commitments to boosting up the system with a soon to be launched new UI/UX (I’ve seen it, looks quite nice), but the admin side still needs fixes.  Robust system.  Mobile apps including on/off synch but UI on the app could be better. Feature-rich system, support though is average. I like that the company has me:time, an LEP/LXP (acquired as part of the Lumesse acquisition) which depending how they play it, could end up being a big-time win here (as it is, to me, a very good win).

Bottom Line

There you have it, the first list of rankings from #50 to #30.  If you didn’t see your favorite vendor here, well, they might be in the 29 to 1 rankings or they might not be here period. I can state that if they are (Adobe Captivate Prime, Axonify, Mind Tickle!, QStream, Bridge LMS) they failed to make the rankings for 2019, so no need to hold your breath thinking you will see them, unless during that time, you see them in your mind, before you pass out. (Don’t hold your breath.)

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