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5 Signs That It’s Not You, It’s Your LMS

Hilary Stecker | 5 min read

Companies are investing more and more in training and developing their workforce. Organizations spent $1,296 per employee on training in 2017, research has found. It was the sixth consecutive year that training spend increased.

In short: big picture forces have made training, development, and internal communication more valuable than ever. As early adopters work to meet this need, they’re finding their systems not quite able to keep up with their business and ever-growing needs.

And it’s not an isolated problem—a Brandon Hall Group study found that, of the organizations surveyed, half were actively considering switching learning management system (LMS) vendors. So, why are people so unhappy with their current LMS solution?

1. Not user-friendly and/or cumbersome to use

During sales calls with potential clients we often hear that people are looking for a system that’s more intuitive, user-friendly, and simpler to use—overall a platform that’s less “clunky” than their current solution. More often than not, we hear that their current LMS is just too cumbersome and at times even confusing for both end-users and admins alike.

When an LMS is confusing or just too hard to navigate, it’s both frustrating and doesn’t create a meaningful experience for anyone. For example, if an employee needs to pull something up for quick reference, but it takes almost a dozen clicks to find what they’re looking for, they’re simply not going to use that LMS. They’re going to end up asking someone nearby, who may or may not have the correct information.

Learning has changed: admins need to be able to push information out in real-time; users need to quickly locate information in the flow of work. An LMS needs to be an efficient, smoothly operating platform for both admins and users. Otherwise, neither group of people will use it.

2. Poor reporting and analytics functionality

Something that always draws a reaction from L&D professionals looking to replace a clunky LMS with a newer, more functional system is when I dive into the analytics.

A major component of any eLearning initiative is the ability to instantly track and comprehend learner actions. When the information and data pulled from a report is disorganized, limited and/or overwhelming, it becomes nearly impossible to digest, let alone help make improvements or show ROI. Reporting should be clear and concise so you can quickly gain the insight you are looking for in order to take action.

For example, when I pull a Module Exception Report, I instantly see whether an individual user has viewed and/or completed a specific piece of content. I also get the big picture view, as the report shows the total number of users with access to the content in question. As an admin, I am then able to take strategic action to ensure all learners complete the necessary piece of content. When it comes to mandated training, such as compliance training or state regulations for instance, this information is absolutely imperative to audit prevention.

The most important data points needed when it comes to reporting are the three W’s: Who, What, and When. Quick, regular access to straightforward analytics allow L&D professionals to think tactically and make the high-level tweaks and adjustments needed for effective and successful training initiatives.

3. Inadequate technical support/customer service

We’ve all experienced first hand how tricky technology can be sometimes, and let’s face it, as tech savvy as we’d all like to be, not everyone can be Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. We hear on a regular basis how customer service and technical support is of utmost importance and at the top of the priority list when it comes to evaluating new LMS vendors.

When asking prospective clients about their current experience in this area, I’ve heard too many horror stories to count! Support tickets going over a month without a single response — others calling into technical support for help, getting the runaround, passed from representative to representative within multiple departments, only to be told that (often hours later, might I add) that type of support doesn’t fall within their current package… honestly, the nightmare could go on!

There is nothing worse than being stuck with no help to be had. This also directly impacts the overall effectiveness of your L&D professionals and the training and development programs they’re working to put into place.

4. Inability to scale and outdated

One of the biggest threats to an organization scaling up is losing the culture that made the company successful enough to scale in the first place. The farther away locations are from headquarters, the harder it is to show people the why behind the what, in terms of day-to-day work, communications, and overall culture.

Your LMS needs to have strong communication and social features, and clear branding that speaks to each person regardless of where they are. Your learning platform should offer a solid and meaningful sense of community—which reflects the core of who you are and what your business does. Individuals can interact and engage with the platform and that culture as you grow. It’s a great way to not only retain your employees but to ensure those you add along the way feel included and on board as well!

5. Too costly

Cost is always going to be a topic of conversation and carry a pretty heavy weight in the overall decision making process when it comes to any software purchase. Making sure you understand all costs and fees associated with the LMS solution is essential to making the best decision possible.

The most common fees and costs I’ve come across when speaking with potential clients are around implementation, integrations, licensing, data storage, on-going service and/or maintenance, upgrades, features or functionality levels, etc, … really, the most important thing you can do is make sure you’re getting everything you need out of your investment and that the cost associated with it makes sense.

The long-term benefit of an LMS solution that’s able to grow and support your organization’s ever-changing needs will outweigh the upfront initial costs. Don’t turn down a great-fitting solution strictly because of costs. And on the flip side, don’t choose a platform that has too many unnecessary bells and whistles—you might end up with a system that’s not user-friendly, overwhelming, and causes more headaches than it’s worth. 

Remember the old saying, you get what you pay for? 

To sum things up: replacing your current LMS with a solution that better serves your needs can be a scary task, but often a necessary one. This task doesn’t have to be so intimidating! If you’re wondering if it’s time to make the switch here are some questions you should ask yourself while considering your options:

  • Is it user friendly with great UI/UX?
  • Is it configurable, with a practical feature set?
  • Does it incorporate social learning and communication aspects to improve engagement?
  • Does it support functional integrations?
  • What does their technical support & customer service model look like?
  • What’s the cost, does it fit my needs, and is it worth the overall investment?
  • Does it support relevant analytics needed to track and measure?
  • What’s the impact if I keep things the way they are today?

Investing in the training and development of your workforce is single-handedly one of the most valuable things you can do for your organization. Ensuring you have the right tool(s) in place is crucial to the success of any training initiative. Now that you’re better informed about key LMS pain points and what to look for moving forward, it’s time to take that final step towards making a switch.

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Hilary has been smitten with sales since her very first business class at Western Michigan University. Post-college, Hilary spent six years honing her skills in the big city of Chicago before she and her husband moved to Bozeman. In her off-time, Hilary can be found enjoying all of what the Bozeman outdoors has to offer — particularly when the adventure ends with a cold beer and TSwift tunes.

Measuring the ROI of L&D: a Cheat Sheet

It isn’t always possible to draw a direct connection between continuing education and the bottom line. But the equation isn’t always too complicated to figure out. There are ways to use cold, hard numbers to illustrate the impact of learner-centric L&D strategy.

In this cheat sheet, we’ve boiled ROI down to a handful of simple equations to help you get the most out of your learning and development.