Hi Craig, I was interested by your response regarding SAP as this may well be something we could be using in the future. From an LMS perspective, why are you feeling lumbered? I've only had a quick demo but it would be good to chat with someone who has experience of this ie the good, bad and just plain ugly.
I feel your pain!!! We use a system called Cornerstone here at my organisation, but this is more than just an LMS and includes the whole performance management tool along with succession planning etc. I find this system quite difficult to administrate although it is extremely user friendly from a delegates perspective.
I had a meeting with an organisation called Apex with regard to their 'Love Learning' portal and this to me would be perfect for your LMS needs.
It covers the Learning Objectives Validation and evaluation process for the whole Learning cycle. They are also a training provider so if you out-source training at perhaps a management development level they could help you with that too.
Price all depends on the number of licences that you require.
There is another portal called Working Manager that might be of interest, a bit of time since I have been in touch with this organisation but I am sure they are worth a look.
As an analyst we've done loads of research with corporates on their LMS choices and experiences, as well as independently reviewing and profiling most of the leading LMS vendors. We also get asked to provide independent advice on LMS quite a lot.
There are large differences in functionality between LMS products, and even more in terms of usability and flexibility. It really depends on what you need it do; types of learning to be supported, organisational model, approval processes, notification options, reporting requirements as well as integration to other systems. It also depends on how sophisticated you want these processes to be. One of the challenges for corporates is that most vendors claim to do pretty much everything (even in RFP responses), so understanding the differences is non-trivial.
Clearly cost is another big decision factor - both in terms of licence costs and cost to implement and maintain. Product costs can range from a few pounds a user to maybe a £100 per user at smaller scale. Implementation services, maintenance and hosting costs are on top unless you're looking at a SaaS solution.
I have experience of Adobe Connect Pro and Saba. We currently have Adobe Connect Pro which we invested in when we first started to expand our e-learning offering here, and whilst it is very simple to navigate, there are a number of things that frustrate us:
Reporting is not very robust or extensive - there are no matrix reports (ie see whole team with their completed courses etc), no way to see exception reports, and no way of assigning a secondary manager. In addition, the functionality to mark a course as complete when the learner has viewed a certain number of slides doesn't work, so you are forced to put a quiz question in, just so that people don't sit on "in progress".
Everything is flash based, so there's no way of sending someone a link to a certain place in the training catalog (you either need to send them to the start of the training catalog, or straight into a course).
The Training Catalog is cumbersome for learners.
We recently trialled Saba, and found it to have many benefits - the reporting is much more in depth than Adobe and it allows the tracking of classroom sessions as well as elearning. The learner view is intuitive and has the feel of a website, and in addition, the system allows managers to assign courses, the recommendation of courses and for you to add bite size learning assets (such as video) on the home page. Like Cornerstone though, it's more than an LMS, and we found a massive difference in the complexity between Adobe and Saba and therefore expect to face a very steep learning curve if/when we purchase. Their support seems to be very good though, so I only feel a little nervous about the implementation phase!
I've also seen a demo by Sumtotal, and whilst the functionality looked similar to that of Saba, I was not so impressed with their attention to detail and customer service.
I would say that the important things to look for are:
Ease of navigation for learners (as administrators, we sometimes need to deal with complexity for good results, and as we spend a lot more time with the system, we can afford to take time to learn to navigate) If learners find it too much, they wont come back.
Ability to produce the reports needed by YOUR managers and trainers. A lot of LMS providers will tell you that they have a wide range of great reports, but it's crucial to find out what you need to report on and whether the LMS will let you do that.
That it works with courses created by your authoring software.
Support offered by the provider - don't be fooled by phrases like "platinum level support" - don't be shy with using their support during your trial to see how they respond!
I'm afraid that I've been lucky enough to be kept away from the cost side of things, so I can't help there.
Hi Juliette. I tend to agree with the post from David Wilson in that there are so many other factors to consider. As already pointed out, a number of vendors will claim to be "all things to all men....", but in reality they are 'capable' of doing a lot of things, but nothing more than that.
A few considerations:
1) What's the size of your organisation ? This affects license cost, and also whether you need a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The greater the numbers, the more rationale for an enterprise solutions like NetDimensions EKP, Plateau, Blackboard etc etc.
2) Do you already have a suite of applications ? If you do, then enterprise solutions may well lead to functional overlap or redundancy. If you have a suite of best of breed applications, then component solutions are worth considering.
3) What are your system development and support capabilities ? Would you look to develop and maintain in house, or have this hosted and developed for you. If it's the former, then it is worth considering some open-source solutions like Moodle and Sakai. If it's the latter, make sure you bound your requirements, as costs will escalate.
4) Do you need to consider performance management, succession planning etc etc ? Some products, like Netdimensions EKP, are better for such tasks than others may be.
I design and analyse solutions in the education and government space, with experience of those already mentioned in here, as well as other products like SumTotal. I wouldn't recommend the latter, as there are better solutions affording greater flexibility for you. I'd seriously consider open-source if there is a restricted budget.
While we're using Moodle as our LMS and we find it immensely scalable and more user-friendly than most of the corporate LMSs, the above links are a strong pointer in the direction that workplace learning is likely to take in the next decade or so. So, I wonder if we should be instead investing in collaboration platforms and consider the use of Analytics to help us get LMS like statistics.