DevLearn Pondering #1: Why Don’t You Like Your LMS? #dl09

frustrationLast week I attended the DevLearn09 conference in San Jose (California) and I had a ball – not often you can say that about a conference! DevLearn is an annual event put on by the eLearning Guild and this year’s did not disappoint with big name keynotes like Andrew McAfee, Eric Zimmerman and Leo Laporte. More than anything though it’s the real wealth of knowledge shared in the conversations with the presenters and attendees that gather in the form of eLearning professionals, developers, designers, analysts and writers that impressed me.

Back to the title of this blog – it began the the first night while having dinner with a few conference attendees. The topic turned to Learning Management Systems (LMS) and immediately it became apparent that in general, people do not like their LMS. They often like their eLearning authoring tools, but not their LMS. Frustration at having to always write custom reporting queries seemed to top the list, closely followed by the need to do a training course to learn how to use the system and the general lack of flexibility.

Now maybe I live in a land of ‘rainbows and unicorns’ (I’ve heard that saying a lot lately) but this has not been my experience, and I truly was not aware of the extent of the disdain that some people feel for their LMS. This was by no means the only time this sentiment was expressed through out the conference either. On day one in the Social Learning Camp (run by Mark Oehlert with boundless energy, fueled only by salad) Aaron Silvers took a show of hands as to who felt their LMS vendor actually wanted their learners to have a good, engaging – dare I say ‘fun’ – learning experience. It shocked me to see not one hand went up! (More on that session here).

On another day it was clearly stated by another industry leader that sometimes when LMS vendors attend a conference like this and hear the pains of their target audience, they suffer the harsh realization that they have no business being in this industry, because they just don’t get it.

Anyway, my point is – it’s not cool. Why should people pay (sometimes through the nose) for a service that they aren’t happy with, where they feel the learners needs are not really at the heart of the system? They shouldn’t.

We’re doing everything we can to listen to what you have to say and understand your needs when it comes to your LMS. We don’t want a cluttered system that’s hard to navigate because our mantra is all about simplicity. But we do want to offer a fresh, intuitive system that provides the tools you need to:

  • Get your content online quickly
  • Deliver it out seamlessly
  • Facilitate communication between all levels of user
  • Build community around knowledge sharing
  • Effectively report on user progress
  • Make learning and training as fun as possible!

That said, I’m sure that we can do more. So tell me please – why don’t you like your LMS?