As the Chief Innovations, Technology or Development Officer (CIO, CTO or CDO) of an academic institution, you are charged with the responsibility of recommending
, acquiring and managing technology tools and programs that enhance the learning process of the students in your school; a Learning Management System (LMS).
In my role as Product Manager at VeriCampus, I have had frequent interactions with Technology & Innovations Officers of institutions, and this has led me to identify two reports that rate the top performing LMS in the industry. With these, I have identified 3 major action points to take, to determine which system is the best fit for your institution.
In a report by PCMag – a major blog for technology solutions and products – an important metric used in the ratings provided is the ‘SCORM Import’ feature (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) which by itself allows users import SCORM published content; a set of technical standards developed for eLearning softwares. Secondly, this review takes on the Pricing and Fee model widely adopted by most LMS vendors, called Active User Pricing. The Active User Pricing model allows customers commit to a certain number of users but pay for only those that are active on the platform. We also learn from PCMag that a few LMS providers charge an upfront fee for configuration, training and support e.g DigitalChalk, while most of the others like Grovo, Litmos and Moodle do not have this barrier to entry.
Capterra – an online directory that allows you find and compare any kind of software service and in this case Learning Management Systems – provides us with a detailed comparison of ‘The Top 20 Most Popular LMS Software’. Capterra (founded by Michael Ornter) released & categorized the results of this research into 3 themes – Most User-Friendly, Most Affordable and Most Poplular LMS. Reviewing the ‘Most Popular LMS’ theme, the market score was based on a 100 point scale that composes of 40% total number of customers, 40% total number of users and 20% social score – with the top three (3) winners being Edmodo (87%), Moodle (81%) and Blackboard (60%). We find that Schoology and Brightspace come up at the 9th & 11th position, respectively.
Drawing from these two sources, and my insight into the generic, yet unique needs that each academic institution has, I recommend three (3) major actions to be taken, in order to make the best decision on a Learning Management System to deploy:
- Define your needs – Make choices based on your schools unique needs as the different LMS provide similar but sometimes very unique offerings
- Consider Integration – Do you have any existing systems or infrastructure on ground and do you wish to integrate mobile app solutions in the nearest future?
- Go for SaaS – Institutions are better off with SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions which offer great flexibility in pricing & use.
The range of choices are broad but your selection process can be simplified by following the 3 items listed above, and you are well on your way to implementing a successful Learning Management System for your institution.