For the last decade or so the popularity of Learning Management Systems, have been on a steady rise across varied corporate audiences and industries. LMSs have been implemented for effective and continuous corporate training. According to a recent research paper published by Gartner titled ‘IT Market Clock for Human Capital Management Software, 2015’, the market for learning management solutions is mature and highly commoditized. The vendor landscape has also undergone a wave of consolidation in the past five years. Most large organizations have an LMS in place to help manage their needs but few organizations are taking a stand-alone approach to CLSs. instead of viewing learning as part of their talent management initiatives. The report also cites G-Cube as one of the selected vendors. Our proprietary LMS WiZDOM with its wide range of features and implementation plans, has been truly the perfect learning platform for organizations who are serious about training and dedicated to human talent enrichment through perineal workplace learning.
However, parallel to the maturity of the LMS market, is the continuous evolution of learner needs. This is why, according to yet another research paper by the Brandon Hall Group – LMS Trends 2015: Is it Time for Something Different?, an astounding 38% of organizations interviewed have stated that they are actively looking to replace their LMS. So, there are obviously some areas where learners as well as organizations are expecting more than their current corporate LMS can deliver. The report goes on to explore the areas which displease modern learners the most. By working on these, modern LMSs can definitely align to the learning needs and preferences of the modern corporate employees. Here are the top 7 reasons why most organizations and employees are dissatisfied with their current LMS:
- Lacks Ease of use: No matter how many bells and whistles a LMS boasts of, if it is not easy to get a hang of, its bad news! An effective LMS has to work in a manner that is natural and conducive to how people want to learn. The structure of content within the LMS should be in a way that is easy to find. The learners should also find it easy to navigate within the LMS to find content or other resources. The LMS structure thus has to be intuitive, making sure the learner reaches what he or she needs within minimum clicks. The reason for many users citing usability as an issue is in most cases is due to the over-packing of features that cannot be utilized and make the LMS structure unnecessarily complex.
- Outdated Look and Feel: Modern users are not technology challenged and want to experience the best of technology in learning as well. Modern learners want the corporate LMS to look and behave in a modern way. Older legacy LMS did not put a lot of priority on the look and feel of the platform as it was strictly a platform that would disseminate learning content. But as LMS increases their scope and learners spend more time on the system, it is necessary that it is also easy on the eyes.
- LMS not aligned to current learning needs: This area of concern stems out of a deeper dissatisfaction from the LMS apart from ease of use and looks. Learning needs of employees evolve and this is especially true when they are much more exposed to the latest developments within their industry and beyond. Many employees now expect a wider choice of learning content, fluid learning experiences – whenever and wherever they need. When the deployed LMS fails to come to par with ‘what’ and ‘how’ the learners want to learn, the time is ripe for a serious change.
- Transition to Cloud: Many organizations prefer on premise LMS implementation as this ensures complete autonomy over the infrastructure and system reliability. But at the same time, there is a growing shift towards Cloud LMS solutions as well. There are many reasons for this including ease of system maintenance as installed solutions require high or very high IT involvement, which can be avoided with Cloud solutions. Also, cloud-based solutions are a relatively new concept in the LMS market, and are more modern looking than installed solutions. These systems are also much easier to update and upgrade, to align with evolving learner needs. New features are easier to deploy and they roll out more frequently than they do to an installed base.
- Limited or Lack of Social learning features: According to Brandon Hall Group’s Study, 61% of companies say that their employees need to connect with learning resources either weekly or daily to be effective at their job. But in spite of this, companies spend a larger percentage of time and resources on formal learning content and tools. Modern LMS which incorporate social learning tools are becoming more popular as they allow companies to facilitate and encourage the type of informal and on-the-job learning that was previously taking place simply by chance. LMS which have blogs, shared media, discussion boards, and multiple communication tools designed to keep learners connected to learning and to each other are thus far more effective than legacy LMS which have limited or no social learning features.
- Inability to integrate with other enterprise software: LMS are now being looked upon as complete solutions for employee development – not just one-off learning platforms. This is why LMS need to integrate with other organizational systems like HRMS. This links learning to the perceived needs of the employees or the needs stated by their managers. As learners are directed to the kind of learning content they can utilize the most, the utility of the LMS is increased manifold. LMS integration with other systems within the organizations also ensures that the outcome of learning is measurable and it is easier to link it with compensation packages and employee evaluation.
- Poor Vendor Support: LMS implementation is a process that consumes time as well as moneys. Most vendors provide support to users in the first few months of deployment but extent of support needs to go beyond just the initial phase of LMS implementation. Vendors should provide additional support to analyse the utility of the LMS and work along with learning mangers within the organizations to find ways of maximum utilization. Only then the true ROI of the system be realized.
It is clear that the time is ripe for change and the needs of the users are definitely driving the change. Even the developers of the mighty SCORM standard – which is heavily responsible for how learning management systems be-have – have seen the light and continue to develop xAPI, also known as the Tin Can API. This new standard is designed specifically to shatter the box that SCORM had built around learning content and open the environment to just about any learning experience imaginable. This aligns to the finding that majority of the learning takes place outside of formal channels. And modern LMS have to align to this reality to truly benefit the modern learners.