The Dangerous Myth of the “All-in-One” LMS

If you are looking for an all-in-one LMS, then you will either be looking for a long time, or you will be unknowingly tricked out of your hard-earned money.

I don’t know when it happened but at some point in human history a very smart marketer created the concept of “all-in-one”. The premise being that you only need to purchase the one item and nothing else. The product will literally do everything you need. It clearly worked so well that we see the same marketing tactic used today in nearly every industry. From software to kitchen products, the all-in-one moniker still has a strangle-hold on our purchasing psyches.

The reality of course is that this is never the case. Ever. It doesn’t matter the product, this is a promise that is made for short-term gain. Most companies that promise an all-in-one solution aren’t telling the whole truth.

Anyone claiming to sell an all-in-on LMS either doesn’t know about the industry, or they are being intentionally deceptive.

All-in-one LMS promises are dishonest.

As much as I would love to say that our LMS is all-in-one, I can’t. Doing so would actually damage our reputation and quite frankly I am surprised that any LMS provider takes the risk. Anyone with a bit of experience in this space knows that an LMS simply can’t be all things to all people.

The truth is that there is a very easy explanation as to why the all-in-one LMS doesn’t exist. When an individual or a company is searching for an LMS they are attempting to align the LMS with their objectives. While many of these objectives can be shared, in the end there are unique qualities about every organization that aren’t considered by LMS providers.

This isn’t a knock against LMS providers. I certainly don’t take offense to it with regards to LearnDash. If anything it’s a testament to the creativity that exists in people. Even today I come across use-cases for LearnDash that I would have never considered when we first started the company. If we tried to be “all-in-one” then there stands a good chance that we would unnecessarily limit their capabilities.

The point here is that for an LMS to claim that they are the only solution you will ever need means that they are also ignoring  what makes you and your organization successful in the first place. Your fundamental core qualities. Your “special sauce” that you wish to put into your learning program to make it uniquely yours.

Instead of searching for the all-in-one LMS unicorn, choose a solution that gives you feature flexibility.

While I know you would love to find that one solution that does everything we need I think that we both know that you would be looking for a lifetime. I am in this industry every single day and I can promise you that no such solution exists.

But what does exist are extremely robust platforms that are flexible enough to help you fulfill your desired training goals. Learning management systems that you can own instead of “rent”, immediately bringing you more value. Our WordPress based LMS is getting industry recognition for this very reason. Affordable, flexible, yet robust “out-of-the-box”.

But if you don’t want to use WordPress then there are other very capable solutions out there. When hunting for your LMS don’t focus on just the core features but also the ability to expand upon those features in a cost-effective, timely manner. Your learning objectives will change and you want an LMS that can grow with you instead of hold you back.

You don’t need everything all at once. Just some features, right-away.

It is tempting to want to believe that there is a piece of software out there that can be everything in all situations. Perhaps the best reminder you can give yourself during your LMS hunt is that you don’t need to find an LMS that does all things right from the start.

But how do you know what you need? You use e-learning storyboarding. This is your roadmap and something you can always come back to as you build out your course (or multiple courses). Storyboarding inherently helps you flush out your critical learning objectives, which in turn helps you to prioritize features. With these features in hand you can intelligently compare solutions.

As you start comparing features, it is a good idea to compare the businesses behind those products. Are they receiving relevant industry recognition? Are they involved in the e-learning industry, producing valuable content? Do they have an active community? These act as signals about what you can expect from the company moving forward and once you have bought into their culture. If they have a static YouTube channel or blog then that could be a deciding factor between two really comparable options.

If you are in the market for an LMS remember that your situation (while potentially similar to another) is going to be unique based on your business, audience, and fundamental objectives. We would love to hear about your goals and invite you to contact us with more details. We would never claim to be something we are not and will give you our honest assessment whether LearnDash is a good fit based on your needs.

Author

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Twitter | LinkedIn

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