You know the feeling.
You’re standing there, staring at a reflective piece of glass, thinking to yourself “What happened?”
You just bought it, didn’t you? Ok, maybe it’s a year or two old, but you can’t have possibly changed this much in that time. It fit fine when you got it! You loved the feel of it. You might have worn it out a bit, using it for everything.
You certainly don’t remember outgrowing it and yet here you are, and here it is, and it’s clearly not working for you.
I’m talking about your Learning Management Software of course.
The similarities between old clothes and old software are a lot closer than you might think.
What are some things that old clothes do to you? They’re uncomfortable, maybe too loose or too tight, they’re inappropriate because of that ill-fit, and so they end up just making you look bad. Sure that shirt might have been perfect when you bought it, but now it really isn’t working for you, and when you try and wear it you aren’t at your best.
Old LMS software is exactly the same way.
It’s uncomfortable to use it when you’re trying to navigate the system. Maybe you have a bunch of features that are going untouched, just sitting there taking up computer memory. Or maybe it’s running crazy slow, straining under the stress of more people trying to use it than it was designed to handle.
It’s inappropriate for your needs, not matching what you bought it for in the first place. And it’s impacting your job, making you look less than your best because its speed is slowing down your job, or driving IT nuts with all the calls from your learners trying to force it to work.
It’s preventing you from doing your best at your job.
When your clothes don’t fit, you get new ones that do fit. Your LMS is the same, too. You don’t have to be stuck in a system that doesn’t fit your business needs. With a little bit of work now, you can save yourself the pain of pushing on with the wrong system for your updated requirements.
How can you know that your learning management system isn’t fitting right?
Just like how you may be on the fence about a pair of pants (“They don’t work unless I have a belt… but the belt makes it perfect!”), you may not be able to tell immediately if your old LMS is really wrong for you or if you’re overreacting.
But here are four signs to help you know for sure. So you can be like:
1. You’ve had a size change
Bigger or smaller, it doesn’t matter. If business has been booming and you’re seeing new hires every week, your needs will be different. You have way more people to onboard now, and plenty of people who will need to go through training at once. When continued education or recertification training time comes along, there will be more people than ever trying to access your same system. That’s inevitably going to cause some problems.
Or maybe your company has recently downsized. You may find that a system designed to support 5,000 people is now only being used by a fraction of that number. Depending on your needs, there may be entire sections, add-ons, and features of your LMS that are now going completely unused. Why do you have them if nobody is going to use them? Why pay for a massive system when you could slash your budget and still have everyone running at a comfortable pace?
2. People don’t like it on you
If I had a dollar for every time my mom, sister, or best friend suggested that just maybe I consider wearing something else, I’d have enough money to buy myself a better wardrobe. It’s hard to tell someone that they don’t look good, so if someone whose opinion you trust says you don’t look good, you should probably believe them.
In software, the opinions you should trust are those of your users. If your users don’t like the LMS you’re using, listen to them. They don’t want to give you bad reviews, but they’re being honest because it matters to them.
Keeping consistent with and on top of user reviews of your system is the best way to know if your learners dislike your system.
Survey software can also help enormously. Make sure to ask not only if they liked or disliked your LMS, but to be specific about why and what alternatives or options they would like to see in the future. Even people who were satisfied with the system might have something to say about how to make it better in the future.
Some questions you can ask might be:
- “Did you find the course within the system easily?”
- “Were you annoyed by long load times?”
- “If you experienced technical problems, did you find help for them quickly?”
The important thing is to focus on on asking about the LMS itself, rather than just the course content. You can improve your content all day, but that feedback will never tell you how to fix your software.
3. It’s out of fashion
Maybe the system you have really is the sleekest in the game. Or maybe there’s something out there that can do everything your current software can do, but better. Or faster. Or smoother. Or more. Or for less. And you don’t know because you’re clinging to an outdated look.
I know, I love 90s jelly shoes, too (see above comment on friends suggesting I wear something else). Just like you might love using your current LMS. But no matter how familiar it is or how much you like your system, sometimes it’s best to do some research, browse your options and move on to greener pastures.
A better solution could be out there and you’d never know if you didn’t get out of your comfort zone long enough to look. And on that note…
4. It’s just not enough
Maybe your system is so, so close to being perfect. It’s just missing something. There’s a chance that your system could be perfect with a little accessorizing. Your button-down doesn’t look good without a nice tie, after all, and your software isn’t too different.
Looking into a few add-ons might be enough to beef up your system and cure what ails you. Gamification add-ons, for instance, are plentiful and convenient, saving you from needing to overhaul your whole system to add something a little more engaging to your existing LMS.
So does it fit?
If you found yourself reading this article and nodding along with two or more of these warning signs, that’s a pretty good indicator that you’re using a learning management system that simply doesn’t fit. The fact that you’re here reading this shows you’ve at least got some suspicions about your current software.
Upgrading and updating doesn’t have to be hard. It seems overwhelming in the beginning, but Capterra’s databases and helpful buying guides are a great place to start. Now that you know you need something new, you can stop debating and get to finding a shiny new LMS that you and your users will love even more than the last one.
Have you outgrown an LMS? Any additional advice you have for people who might be seeking? Did you read this whole article in an Elle Woods voice? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for Learning Management System software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Learning Management System software solutions.