Having the right learning management system (LMS) in place at your organization makes a huge difference in ensuring that your learning efforts add real value to the company’s bottom line. Sometimes you just know you really ought to have a new LMS, but all kinds of things get in the way, especially time and money, which should come as no surprise.
But here’s the thing: The pain of making a switch is a small price to pay in the final analysis to reap the benefits with an LMS that works well for your company. Here are the top 10 signs that the writing’s on the wall for getting a new LMS:
- You and your colleagues routinely talk about how much you dislike your LMS, what you can’t do in it but wish you could, and generally manage to get your job done in spite of your LMS. It’s a painful situation to be in. Just remember there’s a light at the end of the “switch” tunnel, should you decide to enter it. And that’s exactly what you should do. Make sure you take the time to clearly define what it is you want an LMS to do for you to avoid ending up in the same situation with a different LMS!
- The learning assessment and learner feedback options are less than robust. The most important thing of all about your work as a learning professional is whether or not your “students” are learning what’s needed to add more value to the company’s bottom line. That’s the first aspect of evaluation that your LMS should facilitate. The second is learner feedback about the course or module itself, meaning the quality of the learning experience you provided. Both are essential, and it’s critical that your LMS provide robust functionality that helps you get at both of them so that you can engage in continuous improvement of your learning efforts. If the LMS you use leaves you wishing for more when it comes to learning assessment and learner feedback, it’s a good sign you need to think about making a switch to a new LMS.
- Its “Big Data” functionality feels rather small. In this digital age of Big Data, your LMS should be providing you plenty of reporting and data analysis functionality. Remember that there is a real purpose to Big Data – it offers the opportunity to leverage extensive amounts of information into better business decision-making. In the learning department, that translates into making decisions that lead to improved learning outcomes. You need awesome metrics presented in visually appealing ways that allow others to quickly grasp the message contained within the data. Learner analytics should include progress, success, and engagement indicators while administrator metrics should provide a window into what kinds of learning experiences and how much exposure is needed to reach success. Those are just the absolute basics of what an LMS should provide.
- It doesn’t provide a full range of multi-device access. Despite the promise of mLearning, it’s still very much in the early stages of development. Mobile access to the LMS environment, whether for learners or administrators, will only become increasingly urgent. So ask yourself this: How robust is access to your LMS on smartphones and tablets? And if you want to really be up-to-date and ahead of the curve, you should be looking at learning through wearables such as Google Glass and smartwatches.
- You find yourself wishing your LMS integrated better with your company’s other systems. This is something that needs to move off of your “wish list” and onto your “requirement list.” But there’s simply no LMS options that automatically integrate with every possible system you might desire, so there’s usually some real work to be done in an integration effort. The key to making this happen is making sure there’s a rich API environment in which to develop the needed integrations.
An astonishing percentage of companies are dissatisfied with their LMS. One survey published in January 2014 found that fully 60% are unhappy with their LMS, describing it as either “very ineffective” or only “somewhat effective” (source). A different survey published in February of the same year found similar results, reporting that nearly half of the respondents (48.2%) were so dissatisfied that they are actively seeking a new LMS provider (source). How many of the five signs above apply to your company? Even one would be grounds for making a switch, and the time to do it is sooner than later.
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