Top 25 Learning Management Systems of 2012By Craig Weiss, Analyst, Blogger and CEO of E-Learning 24/7, http://www.elearning247.co,http://www.elearninfo247.com#25 Mindflash.comThey are a next gen of lite LMSs (feel free my post “When is a LMS, Not a LMS”). New featuresinclude m-learning on the iPad with native app (no on/off synch), integrates with Yammer,themes, custom URL, assessment tool, the authoring tool is the key component, help andfeedback tab.While I disagree on some fronts about their e-learning approach to WBT – can we say linear –they still possess all that is edgy with e-learning and especially with the new genres and sub-genres.#24 LitmosThey were once in my top five a year ago, but no more. While their UI is very user friendly, theyreally haven’t done much in terms of new cool features in 2012#23 Net DimensionsA year ago if you told me that they were in the top 25 systems, I would have laughed in yourface. Now in 2012, they overhauled that UI, added some very forward thinking featuresincluding digital signatures and are now on the rise. Two big knocks hurt them from moving intothe top tier:a. Price – they charge a yearly base of around 20K, this is before the # of users, etc. It’ssickening.b. Sales service – in my experience awful.#22 Pearson – OpenClassPart LMS, part social and yes a very nice part of mobile including apps for iPad. Really foreducation, but yeah others could probably use it. Never heard of them? You will.#21 PanoptoThis is a new breed of the LMS sector. The genre? Video learning platforms.The ability to shoot video with your smartphone/tablet, webcam or another device and thenupload it into a platform is revolutionary, especially when the end user can type in “dog” forexample and the video will go to each point “dog” is said. It eliminates the negative of videowhich requires the end user to forward to other areas.Bookmarking, analytics and transcripts are bonuses. The downside to Panopto is its lack ofskinning and the dual logo. Hopefully this will change.#20 Saba Learning Suite
With its m-learning capability including on/off synch and rather solid UI, the product continuesto be an effective solution.While the pricing is outrageous and the Saba as a whole seems better suited as a HCM, theirlearning suite is a better alternative than those who want Cornerstone OnDemand.Personally, I feel you shouldn’t have to spend the $$$ to find a system that is comparable andeven better than Saba, but if you want to go with the big dogs, this is the one to go with it.#19 WBT Top ClassFeature wise the product is impressive. 21 CFR Part 11, a very strong compliance mgt moduleincl. audit trails and digital signatures, e-commerce which includes the ability to cross-sell andupsell products, accepts not just courses but other items, ability to retain info, if end usercomes back and Verisign too.It offers on/off synch with tablets and smartphones another plus. The UI is average, so don’t goGa-ga over it – because you won’t.#18 Upside LearningAnother super robust feature system. The product is always cutting edge and their mobile isoutstanding. The UI is the best it has ever been, and while the admin still needs improvement –UI wise, overall, this is still an outstanding solution. Social btw, fantastic.#17 OpenElmsA free learning management system hits the ranks. The system was created specifically forbusiness, which in of itself makes it unique. It offers a nice set of features and enables you tobuy and sell courses. It offers for a fee hosting, a trend that is becoming more common in thefree open source space, but for those who will scream, what about freebies, here it is.#16 Meridan KSIWhile the UI needs to continue to enhanced, there is no doubt in mind that this system hasvastly improved over the past year.Big wins: support for tablets and thus mobile learning, home dashboard for end users, nicesocial learning – I love the expert locator and doable performance mgt (for people who wantthat).I do wish they offered more robust analytics for perf. mgt, but that are an issue the wholeindustry including talent management and human capital management systems still findschallenging or umm lack of desire to do.#15 Seminar Learning System
Despite some sales hiccups, this is a wonderful product. A great example of someone who doesn’t do a lot of advertising is under the radar, inexpensive but still provides enough to be effective. Streamline driven and mobile support including tablets. Another example of a very clean, modern and crisp UI. They also offer another product called Portal, so it really depends on what you want. #14 Totara LMS by Totara Learning Solutions Great user interface, easy to use and a wealth of amazing features. They are working on a strong m-learning capability. Best way to see what they are all about is to read my product review on them http://bit.ly/QbgkbW #13 Blackboard Some people see them as the evil empire from Star Wars, but this is still a solid system. While its user interface good definitely need an upgrade, for people who want a true synchronous based platform (i.e. education/higher ed) this will suffice. If you are corporate, I wouldn’t use it, although it does interface with Salesforce.com with the Salesforce component built in. #12 Administrate The system used to require you to purchase their business platform prior to buying their LMS, but no longer. Features include a built in CRM (customer relationship mgt), sales pipeline mgt, marketing tools, event mgt, social learning and yes, classroom mgt. One of the really cool features is the ability to export your accounting data directly into Quickbooks, Sage and similar products. #11 Competentum ShareKnowledge 3.1 Simply put, the best SharePoint LMS on the market. Ease of use is outstanding, nice user interface, classroom mgt, event mgt, certificates, authoring tool (but I would use another), assessments add additional flavor. #10 eLogic Learning - Essential LMS Features include: Extended enterprise – multiple children/sub-portals, each skinned/branded and each on a separate server – many EEs are on a shared server Unlimited portals TinCan with online/offline synch Compliance management, certification management Classroom mgt, event mgt., surveys/assessments, e-commerce, transcripts, ad-hoc reporting and the other standards in the industry (90/10) SCORM compliant Multilingual Skinning/Branding
File repository Custom domain option Extensive APIs support Pay for only active users Integrate with Office 365 via API The user interface is dated, however it is in the process of a major overhaul. Based on what I have seen – the new UI is crisp, clean, modern and really outstanding. The same applies to the admin side. Support is fantastic and what I have found is they really care about their customers, a rarity in today’s space. I’ve never heard them say, “Nope, we can’t do that”. From a customer standpoint – that’s awesome. Pricing wise – extremely affordable. #9 Docebo At one time a true freebie – they still offer a stripped down version, their new fee based system provides enough oomph to make anyone go “Wow”. Features include: The standards – i.e. my 90/10, whereas 90% of the features are the same in the majority of systems in the space SCORM compliant True personalization – one of its biggest strengths Immediate language per end user, this means that each end user can select their own language and the entire system changes to that Built-in help desk What makes it different than say other systems that offer multilingual is that all the languages are already in the system at no additional charge. Bonus: the entire system – front/back end becomes that language including all headers/tabs, etc. Some systems that offer multiple languages do not have the capability to have the entire system change to that language, which means you will still find some “English” in certain areas – regardless of the language you choose – i.e. Latin American Spanish, Dutch, etc. Around $8,500 USD for 2,000 users Pay for only active users (becoming more popular in the industry) Comes with courses that you can choose from at no additional charge TinCan support with mobile learning, however no on/off synch User interface is crisp, clean and modern. Easy to use. #8 Biz Library – CompanyCollege Don’t let the name confuse you, this is a system for the corporate space. Another system that overhauled its user interface to such an extent, that it adds a real wow factor. Features include:
Video box option – rather than just having “text” listings for courses, clients can have video clips with a box so that the end user can click the video box, see the clip and then after selecting the course, go into the video course SCORM/AICC 90/10 standard feature set Next to each video box – ratings – left by end users, codes and due date (if applicable) Mobile learning support, but no TinCan nor on/off synch Alerts Ability to recommend video courses based on what the end user has started/completed – very cool Lists latest/newest videos, most popular, highest rated or courses by duration Pricing is extremely affordable; basically you can get a lot for less than 10K for 1,000 users. #7 Desire2Learn One of the top systems for the education market. They are already in higher education and are now expanding to K-12. They are trying to add corporate, but the pricing is extremely expensive (so much so, I wouldn’t recommend it). However, as noted above, the system is extremely strong in education. Features include: 90/10 standards SCORM compliant Dropbox and file locker where files can also be shared between end users – rather than just uploaded into the file repository SMS (text notifications) which is strongly used today by students in higher education. In fact, recent surveys are showing that college students prefer SMS over e-mail notifications Can add Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ : interesting about Linkedin – it is not that widely used by college students User interface is excellent Instructional design wizard M-learning support, assignment grader can be offline and then re-synched online, but not courses Pricing is mid-tier on the education side. Corporate extremely expensive as in 100K+. #6 SuccessFactors Their product is more geared towards a human capital management system, especially with the BizX Suite. If this is something you are looking for – i.e. a HCM, then they are the ones to go with – over Cornerstone, Oracle-Taleo, SumTotal and alike. The user interface has come a long way. Back in the days, the Plateau platform was ghastly awful. Not sure how SAP will eventually impact the system, but for today it stands strong. Features include:
90/10 standards Jam – which is their social learning and collaboration tool Pricing assistant wizard BizX modules that come with the system: Compensation, Employee Central, Learning, Collaboration/Social, Performance and Goals, Recruiting, Succession/Development, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Planning SCORM/AICC M-Learning – not just courses, but also their Jam tool, recruiting, org chat, ability to connect to experts; no on/off synch Apps available for download: Apple store, Blackberry store, Android store I want to be very clear on this – as a standalone LMS I would not go with them, but as a human capital management system (HCM), I would. Pricing is high. #5 Intuition – Rubicon A fine system with strong features. Features include: 90/10 standards (skinning/branding is also in the 90/10) SCORM Extended Enterprise option – including portals SMS notifications (and yes, e-mail too but that is in the 90/10) Nice user interface, has potential to be better M-Learning with online/offline synch, native app, supports HTML5, gesture based design, MP4 and yes even EPUB Also sells a Knowledge Management Platform, which can be added to LMS for an additional cost Pricing is mid-level to high. #4 IMC-AG Clix Learning Suite Talk about a system that is under the radar, the product is really quite strong. Their target markets are Europe (very strong in Germany – but that is where they are based) and Asia Pacific (strong in Australia). They have yet to focus on the U.S. which is why most folks have never heard of them. Personally, I believe they should -but hey, that is their decision. The system can either be SaaS or hosted on your own servers. I prefer the SaaS. This is another system whose current user interface is dated and frankly awful, but who is working on a new user interface which is really quite nice. Again, clean, crisp and modern. The launch date is unknown, but I surmise it will be live by end of Q1 or early Q2. Features include: 90/10 standard set SCORM
Ability to view user activity, including dates, times, and specific pages visited – i.e., full audit trail File repository Schedule integration with Microsoft Outlook 24/7 support with phone and e-mail M-Learning with on/off synch, however they charge a small fee per user (beyond the LMS) Integrate with Office 365 via API Data warehouse (additional cost) Flexible approval process to allow multiple levels of approval SSO Pricing is affordable. #3 Instructure – Canvas My #1 education learning management system. What can you say, this is a phenomenal product. A couple of years ago, they were really poor, but now, extremely robust. Features include: 90/10 standard Built-in video and chat Facebook and SMS notifications Great user interface Parents are co-enrolled with their student (can view grades, upcoming assignments and due dates, missing work, teacher communication) States standards tracking (K-12 edition) Can leave text/audio/video feedback M-Learning support – native app for iPad, no online/offline synch Open API Pricing is mid-tier. #2 Blatant Media – Absorb LMS Last year, my number one system. This year, it drops to number two, but it is still a very strong system. The user interface has always been outstanding – easy to use. On the administration side, they were one of the first platforms to use a dashboard including graphs. I love their training academy which comes with the system and enables clients to view various videos on “how to” do XYZ in the system. Features include: E-commerce at no additional cost Extended enterprise system Multilingual including a translation point capability HTML5 interface 90/10 standard feature set SSO
Add courses and events to Outlook or your calendar tool with automated waitlist management Proctored exams Add-on Mercury module ($) – news announcements, ability to add banners or videos to advertise or promote courses, new products, etc., contests/sweepstakes capability which can increase participation and completion of courses (end users receive points towards whatever you want to give them), Twitter feeds Pays for active users M-Learning, but no on/off synch Pricing can go from affordable to mid-tier to higher tier depending on number of users. They do charge extra for SSO and adding APIs. #1 ExpertusOne The system comes out of nowhere to deliver an exceptional product. The user interface is good but can be improved (they are well aware of this). Features include: Extended enterprise system – the best one out there FDA validation Workflow engine SCORM compliant 90/10 standard feature set Social learning Lists on the home page (you can turn this off): most popular training courses, highly rated training courses, new training courses, most active users E-Commerce included at no additional fee Extensive end user filter set for search Uses icons to represent types of training, including documents – best of all the icons make sense Select a language and the entire system changes to that language, including all tabs, admin side, etc. Report design wizard SQL Query Report Builder (for those who prefer this method) Identifies compliance courses Easy to use (user interface) on front end and back end and follows a logical process SSL included at no additional fee Accepts APIs M-learning support, online/offline synch is supported, native app Pricing is mid-tier depending on the number of users, but they do charge high fees for items such as SSO (10K USD – one time charge) and each additional language is 5K USD. Personally, I think this is a huge mistake and the one major flaw of an otherwise exceptional product.