Where’s the LMS Love?

wheres-the-loveHate is a strong word, but let’s just say that people really seem to dislike their Learning Management Systems. I’m sure this is not shocking news to anyone; the litany of complaints about any given platform seems to be getting longer every year. In a recent Brandon Hall Group webinar, a poll of attendees found there was not much love for current LMS solutions. Only 8% of respondents said their company’s employees loved their LMS. About a third said that folks just don’t care. The scary part, though, is that 27% said they outright hated their system.

Is that the best we can hope for? That people just won’t care, but at least they don’t hate the technological embodiment of the entire learning function? It looks like organizations are no longer willing to sit still and just accept the fact that their LMS is not living up to their expectations. Back in 2011, the Brandon Hall Group LMS Trends Survey found that one-third of organizations were considering replacing their LMS. In the 2013 survey,that number was 42.3%.

What’s going on? The challenges are arising from all sides. Just look at the top three things people dislike about their LMS. Administrators are disappointed with reporting features, learners find their systems too hard to use, and governance groups find there is a lack customer support.  Ouch. It seems as though no one is happy.

Combine that with the fact that only 45% of companies gave their LMS a score of 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale when with came to overall value and it is clear that something is not right. When looking at feature sets, ease of use and the ability to meet current needs, the ratings were even worse.

There is a bright spot, however. 61% percent of companies gave their platform high marks for system reliability. In light of the other results, however, it appears as though there are a lot of underperforming systems with 99.9% uptime. It’s hard to defend a sub-par system by saying, “Hey, it least it works all the time.”

This is a wakeup call for providers. Companies are clearly more willing to make a switch than ever before. The growth of solutions deployed in the Cloud means that migration is perhaps not as burdensome as it might be for an installed solution. Many providers are recognizing this climate and are becoming very flexible when it comes to migrating data and content from an old system (I’ve heard the word free tossed around once or twice).

The other good news is that LMS providers are listening. Ease of use is a rallying cry in the industry. The advent of more socially-oriented platforms means a much more learner-centric environment where intuitive interfaces are king. I predict that in coming years, we will see ease of use begin to drop down the list of things causing people to dislike their LMS.

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