Learning Management System Vendors
Learning management systems have completely changed the onboarding and ongoing training process for companies. The LMS system market itself has changed. With every improvement to one LMS, there’s another one with two more improvements behind it. Users have become more demanding the deliverability, cost, and efficiency of LMS software, and for good reason. Learning management systems have become a building block to the success and progression of growing businesses.
Learning management system software usually targets the segments of two market industries: education and corporate. LMS companies that are well-established and have been around for a long time have stayed that way. That is, once a company is implementing a learning content management system, they’re not switching it. Even with traditional or modern LMSs, it’s no easy task switching vendors. That’s why picking the right vendor first is important.
What is a Learning Management System?
An LMS (learning management system) is a system designed to help organize and deliver training throughout an organization. The learning content management system definition is synonymous. The two terms were once different because at one point in history, the LMS could not create content (some still don’t), but now, many LMSs make content creation available right on the platform. The LMS system itself is the way in which a team coordinates the learning process and the tools they do it with. The main tool used by a team (generally instructional designers and HR staff) is a learning management system software. This software helps teams deliver digital training to employees as opposed to having to print off training manuals and host training sessions.
We’re going to breakdown factors of LMS systems, vendors, and comparisons to make the choice as simple as possible.
The LMS Platform
Imagine an LMS as a table. That table is has a base. The base could be four legs, three legs, or one large leg. Regardless, those legs make up the base of the table that you inevitably are going to put things on. Now turn this table analogy, and make it digital. You have an LMS platform. On that platform, you organize files and files of learning content. But how do you know if you need a table with one leg or four? Or, better yet, why have a table with four legs when you can have the same, stable table with one?
Okay, before we get too carried away with the table analogy, we’re going to describe some types of LMS software platforms.
SCORM Learning Management System
The Sharable Content Object Reference Model is a model adhered to by content intended for an LMS. It’s created outside the LMS, then formated by SCORM to become readable to the LMS. SCORM was necessary for LMS engineering. It helps the programmer understand the language of the content to become implemented into the LMS. SCORM-compliancy is common in traditional LMS systems. Even today, with technology available to eliminate the SCORM compliant LMS, some LMSs still support it because customers are used to it and have built mass training content libraries since implementing their first LMS.
A SCORM LMS will more than likely dissipate when companies learn the benefits behind using an LMS without SCORM. Moodle is an example of an education targeted LMS that obeys SCORM but supports and suggests using content without it. At Lessonly, we are not a SCORM-compliant software. Lessonly software has the capability to build content on the platform instead of having to create SCORM-compliant content outside of it.
Open Source Learning Management System
Open source LMS software is software that is created to sell to a general user, and for the user to then customize it on their own. Open source LMSs have a framework of code that is left open to developers to build upon. Much open source LMS software is free initially because it takes a lot of work to customize, maintain, and develop it on the administrative end.
The cost can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on how the LMS needs to grow. With an open source LMS, you’d have to hire a development team to work on the back end, a customer service team (if your software is being used externally) to work with clients, server space to house it, and an IT employee if anything breaks!
Open source learning management systems take time, and if you try to turn a lot of learners to it, they might be off-put by a bland interface and clunky usability. If you have the resources in place to take on an open source LMS, then you should make sure that it is customized and ready for a great learner experience.
Licensed/Supported Learning Management System
A licensed or supported learning management system is an LMS that is housed and supported by the company that sold the LMS to you. Licensed LMSs are generally Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This means that you sign a yearly contract to use the software for a fee. With that, you get the completed software and support from the product’s staff.
With licensed software, you don’t have to have a team to develop the product or customize it. With Lessonly in particular, you can brand the interface to your liking. Any new updates to the product are done by the development team and rolled out for all customers. The software company’s staff is available to help with implementation and fixes. As a client, you’ll never have to figure out why something isn’t working, you simply just report it. With a licensed LMS software, the client is relieved of maintaining the LMS and can gear focus toward creating and delivering great learning content.
Learning Management System Vendors
When communicating with LMS vendors, know what you want for your business. Some LMS providers are open source and SCORM-compliant, some are licensed and open source, some are neither open source or SCORM-compliant. There are benefits to each LMS software. List all the things you want in your learning management software. When you’ve decided what kind you want, break the LMS software list down into features and functionality then compare.
Learning Management System Comparison
Sales representatives are going to help you decide what you need in a learning software and what they can provide. At Lessonly, we feel it’s important that our customers know is Lessonly is a good fit for them. We use our opportunity to chat with prospects to really hone in on their needs and discover new ones. If those needs don’t match up with what we can provide, we suggest trying a different software company. It’s not that we wouldn’t love to have more clients, but we know that our LMS is not fit for certain contexts. For instance, if you are looking for another SCORM-compliant software, we’d happily educate you on the switch from needing SCORM to not needing it, but Lessonly is not SCORM-compliant software.
But before talking to a sales rep, you can answer a lot of common, initial questions in your own research. By visiting LMS comparison sites, like G2Crowd or Software Advice, you can read in-depth learning management software reviews.
Any LMS software comparison will display features, functions, testimonials, and even free trials. Some sites will have charts with a large list of functions and features with simple check marks by the ones that each LMS software provides. If you don’t want to wade through a lengthy chart, create a smaller learning management system comparison chart for yourself.
On your chart, you can write down your top software choices, and present your own learning management system software comparison to your team. Your team can then try out any free demos and fix the software into the strategy of the learning content management system. Reviews prove to be beneficial in speeding up the decision-making process.