Five signs you may need a new LMS

Key trends in learning, new tech features are redefining the higher-ed classroom—be ready

LMS-change-signsAccording to the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research, 15 percent of U.S institutions are planning to replace their existing Learning Management System solutions within the next three years.

One of the reasons for institutions are planning to replace their LMS’ is because though these systems have been around since the late 1990s, only recently have they begun to evolve with dynamic capabilities that tap into eLearning’s true potential made possible by today’s internet technology.

The Center also found that the average lifespan of an LMS is eight years, so the percentage of institutions replacing their systems should continue to rise in the near future.

It’s also always prudent to replace a system before it’s too late, which means schools and corporations using LMS’ for teaching and training are strongly considering new solutions before exhausting their current one. This is especially true if their existing LMS isn’t meeting the needs and expectations of teachers and students, or is becoming unmanageable or too expensive to maintain.

Here are five indications it might be time to consider a new LMS solution:

1. Unreasonable cost of ownership

Current-generation LMS platforms might cost less upfront for software but can have a high total cost of ownership when support, maintenance, and plug-ins are included. If your LMS is becoming more costly for these reasons, or if subscription costs keep rising without new system features, now is probably a good time to evaluate newer next-generation systems.

Scalability is also a consideration. As system use grows as courses and learners escalate, it’s important your LMS can seamlessly meet the demand without interruption. Cloud-based systems address this issue in addition to the many other pluses they offer. While some can be pricey, many next-generation cloud models are affordable, so it “pays” to shop around and carefully evaluate a number of systems before deciding which LMS is right for your organization.

(Next page: Signs 2-5)

 2. Your LMS lacks popular updated features

Outdated LMS’ offer little more than a way for teachers to store and deliver content such as course management, tests and quizzes, or create and archive lectures and lesson plans that can be accessed online at a student’s convenience. These are valuable fundamental features of any learning system, but good LMS’ today go beyond to provide a number of dynamic features growing in popularity among educators and learners alike.

For example, consider evaluating new systems for dynamic built-in features such as a “virtual classroom” capability and integrated social features—including forums, chat, and messaging—that foster classroom collaboration and engagement, both on a peer-to-peer and instructor-student level.

In addition, newer next-generation cloud-based LMS’ seamlessly connect with major social media accounts. What’s more, some systems provide analytical tools for both instructors and learners to have a better understanding of how their classes perform or how they as individuals perform across a number of factors.

3. It’s a headache to use

Older systems can be cumbersome with their dated functionality and a user interface that’s anything but intuitive. If your LMS requires users to regularly download files and install plug-ins to utilize elements of the system, then it’s probably time to consider something new.

Today’s cloud-based systems can have virtual classroom capabilities built right into the system, enabling users to easily stream video and access content without having to mess with plug-ins or wait for massive files to download. These newer systems offer comprehensive feature sets updated in the cloud without requiring any maintenance by system users.

4. Problems with training and support

If your LMS is overly technical and not intuitive, as many older systems are, this becomes an issue every time a new instructor logs onto the system. And if your vendor is unresponsive, or simply doesn’t offer free quality, 24/7 live support, it can become an even bigger problem as ongoing training and support just to use the system can be costly, in both time and money.

5. No mobile platform for learners on-the-go

Mobile learning, or mLearning, is the wave of the future and the future is now. According to the EDUCAUSE study, 86 percent of students said they own a smartphone (up 10 percentage points from 2013), and 47 percent own a tablet (up 16 percentage points from 2013). The ubiquity, round-the-clock convenience, and increasing power and processing speed of mobile devices mean LMS’ without a mobile learning platform will be increasingly unable to serve students and learners in the environments they prefer—and expect.

The cloud enables mLearning like never before, so instructors and students can access the system through mobile apps on their mobile devices just as easily as if they were on their home or office computers.

The continuing evolution of learning management systems means exciting times ahead for e-learning. Today’s next-generation cloud solutions, such as WizIQ, are easy-to-use and include dynamic features popular with both instructors and learners, adding mobile capabilities that enable students to learn in environments of their choosing. If any of the issues outlined above sound familiar, maybe it’s time to consider a new LMS system.

Harman Singh is the CEO of WizIQ https://www.wiziq.com/, a SaaS-based online education platform that offers Learning Management System (LMS), Virtual Classroom, and the WizIQ Learning Marketplace.

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