As technology becomes more advanced, it is often well-received when there is a solution that comes along that attempts to make things a little bit easier.
Whether it’s easier to use, manage, or understand, it tends to be an attractive option at some level.
In the world of learning management systems, this is often in the form of “all-in-one” solutions.
A favorite technique of infomercials for years, the “all-in-one” offering is tempting. Why would you want to do “more” when you can do “less”?
But a jack-of-all-trades is seldom the master at one.
Learning management systems that claim that they have everything you could possibly need are doing customers a disservice. The reality is that there is not a single LMS out there that can fulfill this promise (believe me, if it were possible we would have done it by now).
As a solution provider, stepping away from the “all-in-one” approach means that you are admitting you’re not good at all things, and this can be scary. However, at the same time you are doing your customers a huge favor. You are giving them access to solutions by people who are experts in their field.
Let’s consider an example. When we first launched the LearnDash, customers often asked us to create an online forum within the software that could be used in conjunction with courses, and we researched what it would take to do so.
After serious consideration, we opted against it. Mainly because we weren’t forum experts, and we also didn’t want to bloat our LMS with a feature that may not be used by a portion of users.
That said, we still felt it necessary to give people a forum option, and it turns out that the same folks behind WordPress are also behind an extremely popular forum solution – all we had to do was link our offering to theirs.
In the end this became a win-win situation. We didn’t have to pretend to be forum experts. We didn’t have to learn all about how forums worked, enhance forum functionality over time, and so on. On the flip-side, our customers ultimately got access to the best, most popular forum solution for WordPress.
This is just one example of course, but I think it highlights my main point. In the context of learning management systems, when providers attempt to build every imaginable feature into their solution, it is bound to fall short somewhere. It could be in the software’s performance, the quality of the support provided, or in relation to feature development and maintenance over time.
Avoid the headaches and stay away from the “all-in-one” (“magic-pill”) solution.