May 9th, 2012 WordPress

Everyone these days wants their LMS to do something unique or something special. Wouldn’t it be nice if these “LMS wishes” were put together in one place?  Well, now they are.  A recent study released by RedTray  believes they have found the top 10 most wished LMS features.  The results of their study can be found in an ebook that they put together.

According to their study, the following are the top 10 features people want from their LMS:

  1. Reporting
  2. Learner support tools
  3. Calculating ROI on training spend
  4. Collaboration tools
  5. Course reviews and ratings
  6. Social media
  7. Competency management
  8. Ask an expert
  9. Learning certification paths
  10. Virtual classrooms

Not a bad list, and quite frankly, I liked some of the ideas (specifically the “ask an expert” option).  Interestingly, I didn’t see anything that directly related to the new Tin Can API project, but I suppose an argument could be made that item #10 is kind of related.

Another one on the list that stuck out to me was #3 regarding calculating ROI for training.  This is something I bring up in conversations on this site as well as on LinkedIn, and it seems to always bring out some strong opinions.  Personally, I fall into the category of people that believe Instructional Designers, Trainers, and others in our industry owe it to the client to show ROI in some capacity. Be it in dollars and cents or some other fashion. 

I think a ROI component in a LMS would be nice, but I also think it might not be practical.  For example, using the Kirkpatrick method for measuring impact (ROI) is far too complicated… but I suppose that’s why this list is called a “wish” list.

the last thing I found interesting is that 43.4% of people participating in the study currently host their own LMS, yet 45.3% of people would prefer a SaaS LMS.  I think at the very least this tells us is that change is difficult.  There are tons of SaaS LMS options available out there, but people are staying with their own hosted versions. 

I suppose my biggest concern with the study is that it really lacks the sample size for the results to be seen as an accurate pulse of the learning industries LMS desires.  The study only surveyed 175 people, and all these people were from the learning industry.  I’d be interested to know what the other side (non learning professionals) want out of a LMS… but perhaps that’s another study. 

If you want to see the survey for yourslef, you have to submit your name and work email (the form will not accept “gmail”).  Not that this is a big deal, and I can appreciate that they want to grow their mailing list.


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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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I didn’t participate in the survey but I would like to put a plug in for some features that are not on your list:

1) full AICC, SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 compliance (that may have been implied by your original request — I am not sure) for lesson packages and delivery
2) flexible eCommerce options – ability to sell access to individual or groups of lessons, to individual or groups of learners and ability to limit access to a time period and pay using multiple payment options
3) ability to schedule and limit access to individual lessons or groups of lessons by individual
4) ability to automatic remind individuals of need to complete or start lessons using a flexible timing delivery of email, twitter, facebook or Google+ messages on a daily, weekly, monthly basis
5)ability to print or email individualized completion certificates

Avatar Brian Sullivan

Some pretty good ideas there, thanks for your input Brian! I still can’t help but wonder what someone “outside” of learning and development would prefer out of a LMS? (they probably wouldn’t really know what was possible so the answers could be interesting)

Avatar Justin

Is there anywhere a succinct definition of Learning Management System? At least one you are using for this discussion?

I find the term too wide for my purposes — for many it encompasses (or is only) management and scheduling of physical resources — rooms, instructors etc. For others it is or includes big company competency management. Often it is focused on traditional school classroom management with designated instructors teaching courses with assigned students and specific classes.

I prefer the term Learning Delivery System — it more accurately defines what I think of in the context of online learning.

Avatar Brian Sullivan

Learning management system, simply put is this:

a web application that delivers training.

Web application is a website attached to a database. This allows lots of information to be saved and displayed on a website at any time and based on the demands of it’s users (like the WordPress site we are on now).

The web application that delivers training (the learning management system or LMS) has at it’s core a GRADEBOOK that keeps track of all of it’s users activities. For example, WordPress is a web application that takes user registration but in it’s basic form, only takes simple user information like name, email address for example.

The gradebook component for an LMS is central to all of the activities surrounding issues of user management, activity tracking, assessment tracking (test scores), permissions, etc… Without a gradebook component to manage the users and their activities, it is not a learning management system; but simply a content management system (CMS) like WordPress.

Avatar Jung Feng

A better thought up UI that increases and simplifies usability would be on the top of my list. A lot of LMSs (especially older, more established one) require multiple clicks and/or page refreshes to accomplish a task.

I think I may have voted for that feature but I guess it wasn’t requested enough.

FYI I am in the L&D industry as a elearning “person” in my organisation, mostly to do with development of elearning modules and administration of a LMS.

Avatar Alfred Low

Good point Alfred, many of today’s new programs/apps center around useability – LMS industry falls behind a bit in this area relying on some pretty old navigation schemes.

Avatar Justin

[…] perhaps I can add this as a LMS wishlist item. Justin View all posts by Justin Justins website TweetShare this:SharePublished in […]

Interesting list!
Unfortunately, I suspect that many of the people who voted for #1 may not understand the real dynamics and design of meaningful LMS reporting! I have seen so many companies that measure the wrong things, or make incorrect conclusions from their data.
#3 is linked to this, and so many people fail to define what the measurements will be BEFORE they design the learning! So often the problem can be solved by something other than “…some training…”
So many people think “…social media…” is also useful, in many cases the LMS a repository of tumbleweed non-conversations and un-moderated firefights.
Many people are afraid to ask the fundamental question, (one of them…) when designing learning for clients – “How will we know when the training has been successful?”.
Without that, and follow-through, you do not know what to report on, how to measure it, or how to support anyone.
Just my 2p worth.

Thanks for sharing this list. I found it interesting, but more interesting to me is the question Justin poses. My company is currently in the process of implementing a new LMS–that would be a learning delivery system as well as competency management and resource allocation. Kind of an all in one.

Anyway, Justin’s question interested me because our LMS team consists of learning folks and non learning folks. It’s a cross departmental team of hr, training folks, and IT professionals. Ultimately it takes all of us working together to make it happen. So far we have been good about keeping the learner/user in mind. I’m rather proud of the team since its easy to get caught up in making sure it does what WE need and want it to do to make our jobs easier. Instead, we’ve made a few admin functionality sacrifices to ensure users get what they need.

To answer your question Justin–I agree with you. I think usability is all non learning and development folks want from an LMS. They want it to be easy to use and accessible. Hopefully that’s exactly what we’ll deliver.

PS-from the list I think 4, 6 and 10 are so important! A lot of LMS’s have social media these days, but I see few with virtual classrooms–and by virtual classrooms, I don’t mean a Microsoft LiveMeeting integration.


Avatar Tim

Very nice work. Everything seems to under one roof.
I have a question. Does this LMS support this case.

Suppose, I want a user to complete a particular Content today & Receive the next content based on two conditions.
1- Previous Content is complete.
2- Particular Timegap has been passed. (Suppose, I want the user to receive the content, after 24 Hours of completion of the previous content)

Looking forward to your response.

Avatar Omar Afzal

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