Not all learning management systems are equal. With over 600 LMS vendors providing solutions for a variety of education technology needs, from generic to niche solutions, open source to proprietary platforms – how can you be sure that you have the right learning solution for your association? When is it time to look for a new Association LMS?
[wbt_section_heading title="Are Your Learners Frustrated?"]
How many support requests are you fielding each day? Take a look at some of the support issues being raised by your learners, instructors and colleagues to find patterns that may identify how your learners are getting frustrated by the limitations of your LMS.
For example, at a recent event, one association executive told us that he is frustrated at how difficult it is to find the courses that are relevant to his specialty in his association’s current LMS. They have no ability to search, or filter, the course catalog, which means that despite offering courses tailored for different professional specializations, he has to scroll, and scroll and scroll, to find the courses that are relevant to his needs.
Now this seems like a small issue, but consider how valuable this member’s time is. He is more than likely voluntarily participating in training outside work hours, in time that he could be spending on other interests, or with his family and friends. He is now spending too much time trying to find the courses, so then he does not have enough time to properly engage with the content, and his learning experience and interaction with your association have been negatively impacted by this frustration. Will he think twice about engaging with your content the next time?
You LMS should allow you to personalize learning for your members, pulling member profile and group information from an integration with your member database to personalize the learner’s training history and available course options, removing from the display any courses that are not relevant to their needs. Simple usability features can make all the difference to your learners, such as having a searchable course catalog, or being able to filter on a number of criteria, such as keyword, credit value or type, or whether the course is associated with a certification pathway. Do your learners need a new association LMS?
[wbt_section_heading title="Are You Wasting Time?"]
Consider the time you spend tracking, analysing, and reporting on your learner’s progress, achievements, or certifications. Can you access all the information you need in one system? Does your LMS integrate fully with your member management software or association management system? Can you track all participation in continuing education, certification or credential management from within your LMS, and write this back to the member profile in your AMS or CRM?
If you are spending time re-keying data from one system to another, or manually collating information regarding continuing education or certification from multiple systems or sources, because your current LMS does not fully integrate with your AMS, you are wasting time. If your system provides only limited reports that do not allow you to access the information you need, forcing you to compile custom reports to provide the analysis you need for planning, you are wasting time.
One association that has now adopted TopClass LMS told us that the reason they switched was that their previous LMS, which was open source, did not integrate fully with their AMS. This meant that there was a huge impact on their productivity as they had to manually compile reports and were spending too much time on administration. Since switching to TopClass LMS, they have experienced significant productivity gains, and are now able to focus more on developing high quality educational content for their members. You can read their story in the recommended stories below.
[wbt_section_heading title="Has Your Association outgrown your LMS?"]
Many associations outgrow their first online learning solution. Often times, associations choose an open source LMS, or an entry-level learning solution with limited functionality or support for a limited number of users, as a way to inexpensively test the feasibility of providing eLearning to members. As the association and its members become more familiar and confident with creating, delivering, and participating in online learning, they can often outgrow the limitations of their first learning solution. If the association grows in size, or merges with another association, and the membership becomes more diverse with more complex education requirements, an LMS that doesn't scale with with the association growth and is not designed for association learning may struggle to provide the functionality and support required by both members and association management.
Still not sure if you need a new Association LMS? We wrote about what makes an Association LMS different, and in another guest post, analyst John Leh, of Talented Learning explains how Association LMS differ from corporate LMS. These articles may help you decide if your current LMS is not meeting your needs.
If you think that you have outgrown your current learning solution and need a new association LMS, or you’d like some advice on enhancing the learning experience for your members, contact us for a chat or check out some of our learning management system resources.
At WBT Systems, we have been working with associations for over 15 years. We have grown alongside some of our oldest customers, and we would love to help you achieve your education and certification goals.