Currently at same stage and understand how you feel totally. We currently have 2 lite LMS's that are struggling to cope so looking to move to next stage. However, every LMS you look at tells you it can do everything and if this is the case how come the prices are so different - it's hard to tell what you are missing (sound famiiar?).
In the end we went with some consultancy, but even this has taken longer than expected. Our challenge is getting something that works for a very organisation with lots of different 'companies' within it - many of them with different needs. We also need it to work with one or more HR systems. I'm so pleased we went with consultancy as some of the things that have come out of the woodwork I would definitely have missed.
Two recommendations I would give you that run alongside the LMS requirement:
Number one - get IT involved with the decision making process right at the beginning. Not only can they give good advice and support, but they may have projects on the go that you are not aware about that will impact your decision. They are also likely to be concerned about impact on existing systems.
Number two - let as many people as possible know what you are doing. In my case there are a number of people in the business that are keen for their systems to be considered. Whilst these may or may not provide the solution it would be criminal for them not to be considered to maximise ROI.
BTW - David Wilson really knows what he is talking about in this area and I notice he's posted. One can assume with all reasonable confidence that any advice he gives on LMS's is good!
It's very easy to make a recommendation but the real key to this are your business requirments. I personally have deployed Saba in 2 different different organisations - one of them changed to SumTotal and again to Cornerstone so a simple which do you use isn't such a simple question after all!
I also have a personal Moodle LMS as I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and once again, it depends on your business requirements. Wherer I am now, Moodle wouldn't be fit for purpose whereas others will say to you - you must check out Moodle. (although for me it makes a great SCORM testing environment!)
My tips would be: 1) understand your business requirements 2) understand your IT environment 3)understand your business requirements 4) check out David Wilson's research papers and also maybe Brandon Hall 5) understand your business requirements and finally 6) do some benchmark visits of your own.
Did I mention you need to know what you want it to do?
I am happy to share our Saba experience with you btw.
You've got loads of info here and I don't want to sound like a salesy vendor so I'll be quick :) e2train's Kallidus LMS has a proven track record and we have lots of case studies and whitepapers on our website which might be useful in your search: http://www.e2train.com/resources/customers
And I can definitely recommend David's Elearnity website, it's a fantastic source of information.
We have EKP here - from Net Dimensions. We implemented this in 2005 and our requirement was for a system which would help us control classroom courses whilst also offering the capability to deal with e-learning as we developed our offering. EKP has done everything we needed and is robust. Like all systems it took a while to get the configuration right and yes, the learning curve was steep at the beginning. We are still growing into the system but the good thing about this LMS is that it is constantly being enhanced by the supplier and they are responsive to requests from their users. As to cost, I think it was around £20K. We have 1500 licences and our annual costs are £3K support and maintenance, £6K for licences.
We use Cornerstone On Demand acorss the globe in our Corporation, the system has a lot of great features. Added functions can bring up the cost of the tool so check this out first. Also check that thweir support models suits the needs of your company.
I have to agree with Andy and the others who ask you to look at your business needs first. Whichever LMS you choose has to fit in with what you need to achieve and not need you to adapt to it. I have used a variety off LMS' (LMSi?) and found them all suitable for different things. It really is horses for courses I am afraid and you may want to consider the external consultant route just to provide an impartial view for you. If you want to talk further, I am happy to share experiences with you.
Looks like you've already had some useful responses. Just to throw a more radical suggestion into the mix:
Do you really need an LMS?
Do consider carefully what your objectives are, what you want to measure and whether there may be alternative platforms that may suit your needs.
Take a look at Jane Hart's article on "What is the Future of the LMS?" which suggests a collaborative platform may be a more flexible and appropriate model for the future.
I've long challenged the idea of the standardised, catalogue-driven LMS experience that many corporate employees are offered. In my experience, the learner can struggle to engage with interfaces that are actually rooted in a datacentric mentality, are therefore not designed around the learner, and even more rarely designed to support active performance. Critically in many of these implementations CONTEXT is lost.
A well designed learning portal, on the other hand, can provide context, focus, access to a collaborative community of peers and experts, as well as content. You can see examples of these here.
In many circumstances, in order to engage and re-engage your audience, less is more - clarity trumps completeness, intuitive action beats rich functionality.
We also use Moodle as our LMS. We have about 750 staff and do quite a lot of our delivery by elearning (including more than half of our induction programme for new staff). We host it in-house on a virtual-server. As Moodle is open-source, the only cost is the Micro$oft server licence and the in-house support time. Once we had the system set up and running, the support time has been minimal, other than setting up new courses which is done by our Training Team (in practice this is usually me!).
I am implementing Moodle in my organisation.
I advise you to go check their website and "play around" with their demo site: www.moodle.org.
Moodle is an open source, free, LMS. It is actually a CMS built including LMS functionality. The great advantages of Moodle is not only the non-cost option (free open source downloadable stand-alone or on servers) but also:
- it can be white labelled and coded with specific company brand standards, in order to look like an internal webpage;
- accessable via the Internet although needs server storage (potentially 2 GB are enough);
- all module entirely learning/training centered and user centers;
- in built learning features such as: quizzes, exams (essay, multiple, open); chats, forums; calendars, events; upcoming events; enrollement to trainign events. All of these easily and highly customasible and to be switched on and off also by role;
- three type of roles: administrator, teacher/trainer, student/user;
- reporting tools: attendance, results, personald development plan.
Being open source the system could also be coded and changed to better fit the internal requets and needs.
Finally Moodle can include any type of content: MS Office, SCORM, videos, audios and so on.
Moodle is used by many organisation in the world both large (Apple, Virgin, UCL) and small.
Hope this makes a bit of sens. But please, log onto their site and you will find all the info you need.
Jellyfish Online Marketing
I too am implementing a moodle in my organisation! Would you be interested in dialing in to a webinar I've set up about making wiki's work through moodle? Nothing as formal as the LSG ones but you'd be most welcome, Feel free to forward to anyone you think would be interested, the more the merrier.
Sumeet Moghe has kindly agreed to chat about his experiences of wikis with us via webinar at 9.30am on Monday 17th May. If you'd like to listen in and ask a few questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you the invite to this short, informal session.
Thank you all so much. What a wealth of information.
The question 'what are your business requirements?' is a great one - only challenge is getting a concise, agreed response.
Time to put on my consultancy hat and get to root of the requirements.
In the meantime I will look at moodle and of course read David Wilson's work.