aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

LMS Resources

Posted by Ellen on May 8, 2010

I know, I know. You don’t have time for all of this. You need an LMS and you have a teeny tiny amount of time to spend figuring it all out.

Resist the temptation to skim the surface!! Several studies have revealed that at least HALF of the organizations that invested in an LMS were at least somewhat dissatisfied with their selection! Many orgs find themselves having to pay more than they anticipated to add or change features they thought they were already getting or in the configurations they needed.

One way to reduce the risk that will happen to you is to go into the process as informed as you can be. To help make your search for info more efficient, I’ve compiled a list of blogs/posts with super info on LMSes and LCMSes, and welcome suggestions for others.

Starting Points

A great place to start with a broad picture of LMSes is Connie Malamed’s eLearning Coach interview with Tom Werner of Brandon Hall Research, “Learning Management Systems: Expert Advice.”  

ASTD offers this “Field Guide to Learning Management Systems.”

Choosing an LMS? Lots of resources on this one (a Google search will give you even more):

This TrainingForce post lists basic steps for the LMS process overall as well as some guidelines for what to include in the RFP.

From a techie’s point of view, see “1o Things to Consider Before Choosing an LMS” by Dave Mozealous, an Articulate quality assurance guru.

The E-Learning 24/7 Blog: The Truth and Realities of E-Learning, written by Craig Weiss, elearning and training development specialist and consultant, is a constant source of great info on LMSes. He has so much helpful info on this topic, it’s hard to select just a few posts, but these might be of particular interest include:

If you’re trying to figure out whether to host your system inside your firewall or have it hosted via the Web, “SAAS LMSs and Vendor Client Lists Questions” is essential reading. 

Looking for ideas on defining your requirements?

Here’s an example of how consultants at Managers Forum assisted some clients in separating what they “needed” from what would be “nice to have.”

And be sure to take a look at Tony Karrer’s “Rapid LMS: eLearning Technology” post in the eLearning Technology blog. His series on LMS RFPs is required reading! Start here:

Considering Open Source?

A history of Moodle and its incremental growth can be found in the Donald Clark Plan B blog.

Craig Weiss at the E-Learning 24/7 Blog posted his take on the “Pros and Cons on Moodle.” 

And Craig gives us some Open Source LMS options other than Moodle, too.

For general info about open source options, see:

Keeping in mind that UpsideLearning wants to sell you their own LMS, Amit Gautam’s post on “The Real Cost of a Free (Open Source) LMS!” raises some important concerns that you need to weigh before you jump headlong into Moodle or other open source options. Amit knows LMSes — making the Upside Learning Solutions Blog one of my regular reads.

Another blog with some thoughtful advice about open source options (and from another LMS vendor’s point of view, so take that into consideration as you read) is Manish Gupta’s “When or When Not to Use Open Source LMS?” at the G-Cube Solutions blog.

More Helpful LMS Blogs!

Looking for more LMS-oriented blogs? Amit Gautam has his own list of  Top 13 LMS and Learning Technology Blogs (and we’re pleased that aLearning made this list!).

Resist the temptation to take shortcuts by skimming past the great info that’s out there. Make sure you’re not one of those dissatisfied LMS clients — go into the process as knowledgeable and prepared as you can be!

9 Responses to “LMS Resources”

  1. Jane Hart said

    First question: Do you REALL need a LMS – See and and and for starters

    • Ellen said

      Jane — Thank you for reframing what should be the FIRST question 🙂 and for adding these helpful links to the conversation!

      In Chapter 2 of my book, aLearning: A Trail Guide to Association eLearning, I provide a series of decision-making points for exploring the necessity of an LMS or LCMS.

      Love your blog, BTW!

  2. […] as Jane Hart said in her comment to my post “LMS Resources,” the first question is really whether we need an LMS at […]

  3. […] as Jane Hart said in her comment to my post “LMS Resources,” the first question is really whether […]

  4. Sarah said

    Great post, thank you! Is there such a thing as a ‘direct purchase LMS’? What I mean by that is an LMS software application that a company buys, installs on their servers and uses as they see fit – no license fees that are per user/seat. Does anyone have a link for a list of those?

  5. Ellen said

    Sarah — Thanks for checking here! Most LMS companies will charge some sort of license fee, whether the system is on your server or theirs. You might check out Craig Weiss’ valuable LMS search tools to see if one of them fits your needs:

    And if you’re an association, you MUST look into the Tagoras report, newly revised (I’ll have a more complete post on this soon):

    Brandon-Hall Research also tracks LMS systems, so you might check there as well:

    If I think of a system designed as you mention, I’ll pass on the lead. Right now, the business models of most LMS providers are based on those license fees.

    If any aLearning Blog readers out there can help Sarah, please add your voice!


  6. LMS Shmellemess. Sure we need them (well for now anyway), but does it drive anybody else nuts that the e-learning debate focusses so much on the technology and platforms that we are using? Surely the most important thing about e-learning is the learning part. There is so little discussion about creativity in content, yet without good content, your LMS fades in to insignifcance.

  7. Ellen said

    Tracy — My roots and heart are in instructional design. Long-time aLearning Blog readers know how passionate I am about relevant content presented in engaging ways and at an affordable price. Unfortunately, without an LMS, most learners wouldn’t have access to online learning. So one can’t be more important or essential than the other, particularly if the organization needs to track learner participation in elearning sessions.

    You might also have noticed that the aLearning Fundamentals online tutorials are offered outside of an LMS. We’re a great example (IMHO!) of a situation where an LMS isn’t necessary and so isn’t used.

    So we agree. But, probably because an LMS is usually the most significant part of an online learning budget, posts at aLearning that discuss LMSes get the most hits, the most subscribers, and the most late posts (as yours was).

    Call the LMS a necessary evil if you wish, but necessary it usually is….

    Thanks for stopping by — I hope you’ll browse the blog for posts unrelated to the LMS Shmellemess debate 🙂

  8. lms scorm said

    All the added links are so useful. Thanks for adding them into the content. And please keep posting such helpful information.

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