Looking for a New LMS

Hello All! Working here at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and we are looking at getting a new LMS to support the delivery to eLearning and manage ILTs. We currently use Taleo and hate it. I've been looking around and Absorb LMS caught my attention. Any thoughts out there? We want something that is simple to use (both for the Admin and Learner), simple tracking and reports, ect. ect.....I think we all want these things!

THANKS!, Tim

20 Replies
Marta Burda

Depending on what you want from the LMS, you may want to check out Moodle. It's open source (free and flexible - you can custom-make your own blocks, modules or even themes), supports SCORM (nice integration with Articulate) and it just keeps getting better and better (version 2.3 is pretty neat but rumour has it 2.4 will have even more enhancements). It has its pros and cons but in my opinion very powerful tool.

Steve Flowers

It's tough to give a recommendation since selection depends on so many factors. If you're looking for an affordable and scalable solution, you might want to give Litmos a look. In my org, we've been using Inquisiq for a decade or so. It's simple and affordable, great for launch and track.

In these price points, it's tough to reach perfection. On the other hand, I prefer something nimble to a bloated behemoth.

Gerry Wasiluk

Yes, the choice of a LMS should come down to your total list of requirements.  You need to take the time to flesh then out and then evaluate potential LMS's against them. 

Anything other than that is not very wise, IMVHO.

Sometimes this requirements gathering and evaluation can be a very complex process.  You may have a lot of questions to answer.  Here are just a few . . .


  • Do you need single-sign-on? 

  • Do you want a system that people have to learn or one that is more a back office system that people can easily link into for what they need? 

  • Do you need to integrate with other systems? If so, which ones and how?  Do you have to send data downstream to other systems?

  • Can the LMS enforce the governance/processes you want to have?

  • How good does the LMS support AICC and SCORM (and now Tin Can)?  

  • Do you want learners to search the LMS catalog of courses and is it easy to search and find learning?

  • What kind of reporting environment do you want? 

  • Do you want to do blended learning? 

  • Can you integrate a virtual classroom solution?

  • Do you want certifications, curriculums or automatic evaluations? 

  • Do certifications need to be renewed and automatically reassigned to learners when they expire?

  • How easy is the LMS to use for both learners and administrators?

  • Do you need separate domains or looks and feel of the LMS for different audiences?

  • Do you needed portlets or web services?

  • Do you need multi-language support?  How easy is that to do?  What languages does the LMS support natively?

  • Can you easily configurable the LMS (as opposed to customizing the code--which is something you should avoid)?

  • How complex of permissions/security do you need?

  • Do you need recharge or bill for training?

  • What authoring tools content needs to run well in the LMS?

  • Do you need knowledge management features with your LMS--or does your organization already have them and you need to integrate with them?

  • How well does the LMS company support its LMS?  How good is their documentation?

  • Do you want to install the LMS inside your organization, use SaaS, or move to the cloud?

  • Does the LMS work well with the software tools/browsers/Java used in your organization?

Etc. etc., etc, etc., etc., etc.

Anecdotal recommendations from folks like us, as well-meaning and honest as they are, are no substitute for doing your due diligence and looking at all you needs for a LMS and then picking the one that best meets them.

And I, for one, would want to road test any LMS in some depth before deciding on it.

If you need help deciding on your requirements and evaluation, look at LMS resources on sites like Brandon-Hall.  Or hire someone from a company like General Physics to guide you through the process.

I managed a Saba LMS for many years.   To be honest, Saba, as a cutting-edge visionary LMS leader, works for some customers but not for others.  Same is probably true of the other LMS's recommended in this thread.

BTW, the Saba LMS was just recently replaced by another one as part of an HR suite.  Executives decided they wanted an integrated set of HR applications for data integration and ease of maintenance.  Because software from the company who produced the suite was already being pushed and implemented for others things in the company, they went with HR software from this company.

The result, IMVHO, is a significant step down in LMS capability.  It's a terrible LMS for the company's needs.  It probably will set learning back many, many years.

IMVHO, the moral of the story:  Pick systems by all your recommendations and try to avoid systems chosen by executives who don't understand learning and what learning needs to do to help build an organization.

Marta Burda

Tim Slade said:

Thanks for the info Marta....however, with Moodle being so "open," doesn't it require some programing know-how to truly customize it?


Yes and that would be a con But depending on what customizations you need, you can buy some themes (at http://www.moodlethemes.com/ for example but there are many other sites) and have some blocks developed (depending on what you need). In this case, it is a one-time cost as opposed to certain solutions. But again, Moodle is Moodle, it doesn't suit all needs. You should think this through and do some sniffing around :) Good luck!

howard pearson
Jeremy Meades

I'm a Moodle guy. My company does a lot of work with Moodle but I'd be the first to tell anyone that whilst it is probably the only LMS out there that has been designed for learning from the ground up, it does not mean that it will suit all tastes or needs. The best advice I can give is do your research thoroughly based on what you want.

Working out what you want is key. Any interesting by-product might be that you end up with something that you would not have considered at all before!

Let me throw SCORM Cloud into the mix. Simple, easy to use, trackable but it costs.

Brian van der merwe

hi all,

I have recently implemented a system called redLMS. I have worked on a few LMS systems like moodle, articulate online, knowledge presenter etc etc etc.

I do agree that choosing the right LMS has a lot to do with what you requirements are. In most cases easy to use, upload of scorm or files etc are the norm. Easy of use for the learner and so forth...

What is sometimes overlooked is the reporting, statistics, evaluation of your learners and so forth. It only comes to mind properly once the LMS is bought and implemented and you want to see the actual reports. In that case your already frustrated cause now you have to contact the support team to help out and in some cases you must still define you reports.

If i may say, if i am saying anything at all is that I found the redlms system to be built around the learner and the needs of learners not just the learning content. It is robust and very easy to use that has all the bells and whistles if you want them. I found that the cost was not to bad either compared to other LMS systems out there.

finding the right LMS is sometimes frustrating and very time consuming, dont just settle for anything, TEST everything.

I truly hope you find an awesome LMS suited to your needs.

Peter Zimak

Hello Tim,

I can agree on more info ... Please can you post some more details and specific requirements at your side?

I am a Docebo user, when I started to look for an LMS my "must-have" choice criteria was very similar to few requirements you stated but also some more (specially in "simple to use") - I know for sure that a plethora of easy to use features is available in their two weeks trial ...

http://www.docebo.com/saas/index.php?r=site/index&lang=en

Hope it helps,
Peter

Tomáš Rezler

Dear Tim, I would like you to recommend LMS http://training-online.eu/. I have only great experience with that. During the last year I have been using it in the company where I work and not only me as a learner, but also my employer is satisfied with that.

The biggest advantage is you don't have to pay any monthly fees - you pay only for courses you order and do. Moreover there is no need of license or hardware purchasing.

It is a global LMS - offers tens of languages and it can be very easily modified by yourselves. It is also very interactive, so that is supported by video tutorials and forum.

Hope I helped you and other visitors :-)

tom sire

 

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Karyn Aberts

We spent close to 6 months searching for an LMS replacement. The process can be really daunting and everyone here has given some good advice. I would like to repeat those that said that you need to start with determining what you actually want in an LMS. What features/functions are the most important, and don't make the mistake of assuming all system come with the same basic features. Also, not all features are straight out of the box and have to be purchased as a separate module.

One of the things we did in our search was to bring in several user groups types and asked them to list what they wanted and why. This helped us start our list of what we needed versus what was just a nice to have. I ended up with a spreadsheet of more than 400 lines of what people felt were important. That included the things we thought were basic such as could support SCORM, single-sign-on, email notifications, etc. When I drafted our RFP I included this list and basically made it a yes/no response. We got a great response from vendors saying they found it helpful to see what we were really looking for.

There are more than 600 different systems out there and you cannot research them all. Don't be afraid to go with a lesser known group if they have everything you want. Don't rush the process, and ask them to demonstrate everything, especially if it is a make it or break must have.

If you get a short list and want any feedback to see if I might have some info on them, I am happy to share.