Our Thinking


The Just Right Learning Management System

Luke Kempski

According to a recent Bersin study, organizations will spend $1.9 billion in 2013 on learning management systems (LMS). With more than 500 LMS providers in the market and most offering the same features, it can be hard to find the best solution for your needs. Today’s LMS applications can be installed or hosted and are available with various pricing models. They include features for talent management, knowledge management and performance management. They have all of the capabilities an organization needs to deploy learning and development to its employees.

An Alternative to the Enterprise LMS

The challenge comes when organizations want to provide learning to critical audiences that are not employees. In these cases, organizations want only the features they need for a defined purpose. They want it clean and simple without the costs and complexity that come with enterprise LMS solutions.

In the last 18 months, we’ve talked to more than a dozen organizations about this need. They want to deliver training to members, customers, the public and other targeted audiences. Typically, they want a dedicated website from which the target audience can learn about the training, register for it, complete it and receive a certificate. Since the LMS is usually a part-time responsibility for the administrator, it needs it to be easy to use for their staff or volunteers.

Customizing an Open Source Platform

As the enterprise LMS has evolved, so too have alternate applications that are built on open source platforms. These alternate applications are customizable, easier to implement and do not require ongoing license fees. We have found that a customizable solution can deliver the exact features an organization needs without the distraction of unnecessary functionality.

For instance, we recently customized an LMS for the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown so they can efficiently distribute and track child abuse prevention training to thousands of clergy, teachers, employees and volunteers spread over eight Pennsylvania counties. By using a custom system, we were able to simplify and focus the learner’s experience on accomplishing the clearance requirements to work with youth in the Diocese. The e-Learning module and the LMS save time for applicants and the Diocese while improving child abuse prevention and compliance.

As more and more training moves to e-Learning, organizations will look for more efficient ways to deliver, manage and track learning experiences. By customizing open source platforms, it’s now possible to get the exact functionality you need – nothing more, nothing less – without entering the $1.9 billion enterprise LMS marketplace.

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