And the LMS selection winner is…

After over a year of looking and talking with several LMS vendors, I finally chose an LMS – ClickCourse from Rapid Intake.

My requirements were pretty simple with cost at the top of the list. I wanted something that could track courses reliably, integrate with our existing customer extranet, generate basic reports, and be relatively easy to use. ClickCourse met those criteria at the best price. With ClickCourse I’m not paying for a bunch features I don’t need. Inquisiq was my first runner up. It’s also very affordable and was recommended by a few people.

There are well over 100 LMS products on the market and they all do mostly the same thing – track training. True, many do a lot more and offer some impressive features for managing learning and learners, but in the end I just wanted SCORM tracking at a fair price. If money were no concern, I probably would have chosen a different product and expanded the scope of the LMS. In that case I probably would have went with Thinking Cap or SyberWorks.

Price wasn’t my only consideration. Another primary factor was the company and their customer service. If you’ve been following this blog, you may recall my past posts about Rapid Intake’s Unison and Flashform. (By the way, Unison just won the Brandon Hall Gold Award for Best Innovation in Learning Technology.) Through this blog and subsequent in-person meetings I’ve gotten to know Garin Hess on a professional level and have been impressed with his (and others at Rapid Intake) willingness to help me and answer my questions. Even though I have yet to purchase any Rapid Intake products, I’ve gotten better customer service from them than from many companies I’ve purchased products from.  I’m confident Garin and his team can help us get our LMS up and running smoothly.

Now that the decision is behind me, I’m looking forward to the implementation. I know that will be… interesting. On a related note, Tracy Hamilton has been blogging about her experiences with her LMS over at Discovery Through eLearning. I’m sure I’ll be in touch.

Finally, to all those that have helped with this process through comments and emails, thank you.

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10 Responses to And the LMS selection winner is…

  1. Dennis says:

    Hi, I am freelancing for a friend who is need of some advice and after extensive research neither of us has come up with quite the right solution for her problem. I am hoping that either you or one of your readers could help point me in the right direction.

    My friend usually provides an e-learning course which is a hosted solution but with a large corporation now interested in purchasing her course for loading on their own LMS. She has been approached by a divisional manager who wants to roll-out the training across their division and if it’s successful they will recommend it to their head office people for broader use.

    The problem is the staged roll-out – having a few hundred users and then potentially expanding access company wide. My friend has some concern because there are no barriers to the files being ‘shared’ between the division and their corporate section if someone had the motivation to do so even though she is sure they won’t.

    Can you suggest any ways to limit the number of users given it will be on their LMS? Is a contract her only protection or is there a technology solution she can use for her files? I am hoping that there might be a technology solution in the same way as there are limits to volume software licences.

    If you are able to make any suggestions I would be most grateful.

    Cheers, Dennis.

  2. Dennis,
    I’m assuming the course is a SCORM or AICC package if it’s going to hosted on an LMS. Given that, I don’t know of any way to limit the number of learners accessing the course. The only way I could think of would be to build something into the course that would write back to your server whenever someone logged into the course. That would be tricky and hard to manage, especially with firewall issues.

    I think the contract is your best way of enforcement. Most large companies try to be honest with licensing and will honor the contract because they know they have to. Companies don’t generally want to operate illegally, and really don’t want to open themselves up to a lawsuit.

    I would suggest something in the contract that gives you the right to quarterly reports on course usage. Sure, they could doctor the reports or host it on multiple LMSs, but I think you have to assume they are being honest. If you make it hard for them to buy the course, they may choose not to. You want to develop a relationship that will bring you long term benefit (future sales), so don’t make it hard for them, and show them you have some level of trust.

    Maybe others in the blogoshpere have suggestions?

    Gary Hegenbart

  3. Denys says:

    Thanks Gary. You have been a great help.

    Cheers, Dennis.

  4. Gary,

    Thanks so much for positive comments on our product, it was great to be in the running. We really appreciate it! I certainly understand that you do not want to pay for functionality you do not need and the product does not fit the needs of your organization at this time.

    You are correct in that the SyberWorks Web-based Learning Management System is enterprise software which is robust and feature rich. Our system compares to tier (1) LMS providers. In cases where a company or organization needs these types of capabilities, you would find that we are 60% less than other tier (1) LMS providers.

    Best Regards,

    Mary Kay Lofurno
    Director of Marketing & GSA Contracts
    SyberWorks, Inc.

  5. mark says:

    Keep blogging, Gary. I just stumbled upon your blog (probably from another one that linked to it?) and it’s a great resource.

    mark
    http://www.elearninglive.com

  6. mark says:

    Gary,

    It’s been a while now since you selected Inquisic. I work for a company that will soon be in the vendor selection process phase for an LMS and was wondering what your experiences with Inquisic have been so far?

    mark

  7. Mark,
    We didn’t actually pick Inquisic as our first choice. I have worked with it in the past and liked it. I’ve also gotten feedback from peers who have used it and had lots of positive things to say about it.
    Gary

  8. mark says:

    Ahh – my mistake – I meant to say ClickCourse (I have Inquisic on the brain today). How do you like ClickCourse so far?

  9. Mark,
    Wow, I sure dropped the ball. Your reply was so fast I missed it.
    We have not implemented ClickCourse yet. A series of things conspired against me so the LMS was put on hold. And now, we may go an entirely different direction. The folks and Rapid Intake are great and very willing to help.
    Gary

  10. Steven S. says:

    To make a long story short, we were with Thinking Cap for almost 2 years. The entire 2 years with them was dreadful to say the least. From the very beginning, anything and everything that could possibly go wrong, did! There wasn’t a week that went by that something major didn’t go wrong with the LMS. Some of the worst were the website being completely down making it so that existing students could not access their accounts for hours and hours at a time and prospective students were unable to purchase a course. There were major security breaches in which web pages were not secured due to failure on the part of Thinking Cap causing sensitive data to be unencrypted, including social security numbers, credit card information, passwords, residence addresses, etc.

    There were several custom features we paid to have Thinking Cap build for us. Throughout the entire 2-year period, these custom features were broken more often than not. Due to the nature of the courses we deliver (compliance type), we were in constant breach of various laws and regulations because the LMS was failing to do what it needed to do (e.g. track student time in course, validate identity upon logging in).

    Thinking Cap maintained an Issue Tracker which was used to report problems with the LMS. It became a full-time job reporting issues and following up on them. By the end of the 2-year period with Thinking Cap, we had made over 1400 reports/entries in their Issue Tracker. That works out to be about 3.8 issues reported per day. Reporting and tracking the problems was one thing, but the bigger problem was that when something went wrong it would often impact hundreds and hundreds of students. The impact of having to take their phone calls, answer their emails and follow-up with all of these students and fix the problems caused by the LMS was devastating to our business and our reputation. We lost numerous accounts with major companies which resulted in hundreds of thousands in lost revenue.

    In the end, we were forced to sell the business because of the financial damage caused by Thinking Cap over a 2-year period. The financial devastation caused by Thinking Cap was bad enough, but the emotional and physical toll it took was even worse.

    Everything I’ve relayed in my review is 100% actual and factual. If you’re considering Thinking Cap and need more information, I’d be happy to provide you more details along with proof (emails, reports, complaints, etc.) of everything I mentioned in this review. You’re welcome to email me at lifeman31_2006@yahoo.com.

    Steven S.

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