What Do You Hate About Your LMS?

Sarah Flesher

Your LMS is a piece of software. And, like all software, there are things that users like and things that users hate (just ask Bill Gates about Windows Vista).

What is it that you hate about your LMS? After hours of searching the internet, reading blogs and scanning complaint boards, I've come up with a list of 6 common issues that users hate about their learning management systems.

What is an LMS?

An LMS (Learning Management System) is a software-based platform that supports your eLearning and training programs. It helps you to deliver online and offline courses, manage users and track training performance over time.

Just like in an educational institution, an LMS allows you to manage curriculum, training materials and evaluate learners.

Learning Management Systems serve multiple purposes, including general internal training, certification training, compliance, onboarding, customer training and to sell courses. However, their primary role is to ensure that all employees have the knowledge and skills needed to perform specific tasks to an established and documented standard of performance.

LMSs have the greatest impact on overall cost of training. But according to a recent study published by Capterra, 26% of people are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their current LMS. Let's investigate the common reasons users hate their LMS.

1. The LMS does not support our evolving training needs

A learning management system that cannot be adapted to changes in training or to future requirements as an organization grows is not scalable.

In a Capterra study where respondents stated they had changed their LMS, it was noted that those changes were because :

  • the LMS lacked features needed

  • the previous LMS wasn't supported

  • the LMS didn't support company size.

So, scalability is important. But, what does scalability mean?

What is Scalability?

The Technoppedia website defines scalability as "an attribute that describes the ability of a process, network, software or organization to grow and manage increased demand".

In other words, a learning management system that is scalable can be customized to fit your organization now and in the future.

When you are talking to vendors about LMS features, ask about the scalability of their product. Find out about how often the product is upgraded, add-ons, ability to deliver to mobile platforms, etc.

The LMS that is right for you will be the one that fits your organization now and tomorrow.

2. The LMS does not provide the reports we require

Reports generated by your LMS are a key deliverable. They provide you with information you need to analyze and improve your workplace learning program.

Your LMS must be able to create the effective reports delivered to the right people -- they need to provide administrators at all levels with the data they require.

Unfortunately, 81% of LMS users are dissatisfied with reporting capabilities.

Many learning management systems use only a set number of report templates that cannot be customized or enhanced. This means that your users may not get the data they need to analyze learner trends regarding usage, exam results, difficulty of specific exam questions, knowledge retention and comprehension, training completion times, etc.

Indeed, the biggest challenges for training measurements mentioned were respectively data activity and standardization (51% of respondents), lack of data (45%), and data accessibility (35%).

3. The LMS cannot be accessed by mobile platforms

In this age of miracles and wonders, we have come to expect everything to be accessible through our mobile devices. Our phones and tablets are our links to the world and so why should we not be able to complete our workplace learning using them?

With mobile learning, training can be consumed everywhere, at the point of need. In fact, according to Capterra's study, 27% of respondents see mobile learning as one of the most desired features.

If you want your learning to be mobile, your learners need to be able to access your LMS from whatever platform they are using. The mobile learning experience should be more than just a simple copy of the desktop experience. Available apps allow web-based LMS pages to be properly sized for smaller screens.

When shopping for a LMS, make sure to ask your vendors if their systems support mobile learning and, if so, ask about platforms that their systems can deliver content to and about SCORM and Tin Can compliance. Test the LMS on multiple platforms and browsers before you buy or lease. For more information, check out the LMS Buying Guide eBook.


Sarah Flesher

Sarah is an Instructional Designer at BaseCorp Learning Systems and is currently completing a PhD in Educational Technology. Her research focuses on implementing competency-based learning systems in all types of organizations. When she doesn't have her nose in a book you can find her at the gym, on the ice, on the ski hill, drinking wine or in a coffee shop … with her nose in a book.