LMS Selection Advice: Who Do You Trust?

By Gordon Johnson, VP Marketing, Expertus

Gordon Johnson, VP Marketing, Expertus

Gordon Johnson,
VP Marketing,

Corporate learning transformation. For years, it seemed like wishful thinking — available only to a few visionary L&D leaders with very deep pockets.

But now, that promise is within reach for any organization — thanks to recent innovations in learning management systems, cloud computing, social networks and mobile technologies. As the economy rebounds, it’s no wonder demand for next-gen LMS platforms continues to surge.

Not surprisingly, LMS supply is also on the rise. Analysts say that more than 600 learning management systems are now available. Staggering! With all those choices, no one can become an LMS expert overnight. But that leads to an important question:

In today’s noisy market, what is the most efficient, effective way to find an LMS that fits your organization’s needs?

In other words, if you needed a new learning platform, where would you look for reliable information?

How Would You Narrow The LMS Field?
We’re interested in how you would deal with this challenge — but we don’t want to assume anything. So we invite you to cast your vote in a simple poll (below). The answers are public, so everyone can learn from these results as votes are submitted. (Please respond only if you work for an organization that uses a learning management system — or may need one in the future.)

Who Would You Trust For LMS Selection Insight?
Certainly, choosing an LMS isn’t a quick one-step process. Effective B2B software selection requires due diligence and careful consideration. But with so many new and existing sources of information, we’re curious if today’s rapidly changing LMS environment may actually be changing the buying process, itself. So please tell us who would have the most influence on your decision process:

1) Business Colleagues
A classic choice. Reaching out to others in professional circles is not only easy and efficient — it can also be highly effective because trust is already established. On the other hand, it can work against you, if colleagues have only limited knowledge of next-gen LMS products, or if their requirements don’t align with yours.

2) Learning Community Forums and Events
How much LMS intelligence do you gather from industry conferences and webinars? It can be very helpful to see real-time vendor demos and hear live word-of-mouth referrals. But attending forums can be time consuming and costly — and some of the most compelling new products may not participate in the conference circuit.

3) Trade Publications and Portals
A wealth of online information resources are now widely available from industry associations, publishers and even vendors. However, sometimes the lines are blurred between sponsored messages and independent advice. Finding actionable advice requires a discerning eye.

4) Industry Analysts
Firms such as Bersin by DeloitteBrandon Hall Group, Gartner and Forrester have established themselves as “gold standard” advisors to business IT decision makers. They use rigorous methodology to analyze technology trends and vendors in the learning, talent and HR space. However, their insights are exclusive — available only to companies that invest in research subscriptions.

5) LMS Selection Specialists
Some of the most interesting resources on the purchasing radar are experts who focus on LMS guidance — drawing upon former experience as learning practitioners or in LMS development. Examples include Craig Weiss (eLearning 24/7), John Leh (Talented Learning), and Katrina Baker (author of LMS Success and The LMS Selection Checklist).

6) Free Online Referral Services
This is where LMS selection meets online dating. Several sites offer sophisticated matching capabilities — and even personal guidance by phone, if you wish. However, the other end of the spectrum feels more like Yelp, where unfiltered user-generated reviews are the primary source of intelligence. This category is bursting with new players at the “Yelp” level, but full-service sites like Capterra and Software Advice are earning most of the attention.

7) Learning and Technology Vendors You Know
Do you look for more personalized LMS referrals from existing training content or technology vendors? Although they may be biased, they understand your organization’s needs, and they’re likely to have a finger on the pulse of the vendor community.

8) Social Media Research
How valuable are social channels in providing LMS guidance you trust? For example, would you seek vendor referrals from learning-related Twitter communities (such as #ATD, #guildchat, or #lrnchat)? Or, if you’ve established a Professional Learning Network (PLN) to filter information from multiple social media channels, would you ask those contacts for LMS recommendations?

9) Google and Other Search Engines
We all know search offers a quick, easy “anytime, anywhere” path to virtually unlimited information. But what role do you think it should play in helping you find useful LMS intelligence?

10) Other
Did we overlook a category? Tell us about it. Enter your custom choice in the “other” box, or leave a more detailed explanation in the comments below.

Pass It On!
We’ll collect poll data for several months before we analyze the results in a follow-up post. The more responses we gather, the more helpful the results will be for the corporate learning community. So please use the social media links below to share this post, or click here to share the poll.

Looking forward to seeing what your collective responses reveal. Thanks for sharing your opinions!

Note from Gordon: Are you ready now to see how your organization can benefit from next-gen LMS technology? Watch an ExpertusONE online demo, or contact us for a personalized consultation.

Feature Image Credit: Pixabay

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