13 October 2020

Jonny McAlister

Head of Sales & Marketing

How do you go about finding the right LMS for your organisation? In this article we’ll try to guide you through that process.

Choosing a learning management system is not easy. There are lots of different platforms from which to choose. Each platform comes with a long list of features to wade through. And each wants to convince you that it’s the best platform for your requirements.

Here at Synergy Learning, we’re not tied to any single LMS. We match our customers with the platform that’s best-suited to their requirements. It’s important that an LMS has the features and technology that will help you to deliver learning in the way you want to deliver it because that’s so much easier, more efficient and less frustrating than trying to make the wrong platform fit what you’re trying to do.

Guiding people towards the right platform is infinitely easier when we’re talking one-to-one with a customer, building up a wealth of knowledge around what they need from their LMS and how they intend to use it. Nonetheless, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the learning management systems we work with most often in order to help you try to work out which LMS is right for your requirements.


Moodle LMS

Long-standing open-source online learning platform used by more organisations than any other.

It might be the right LMS for you if any of the following are true:

  • You’re in the education sector.
  • You’re a small or medium enterprise or organisation.
  • You’re delivering the same or similar learning to most of your learners.
  • You’re delivering learning to a relatively small number of learners.
  • You don’t need the additional features offered in Moodle Workplace or Totara Learn, which are targeted to organisations with complex structures.

Moodle LMS is a popular learning management system used by hundreds of millions of learners around the globe. It was initially developed as an open-source platform to serve the education sector, and remains widely used in further and higher education institutions. But as those familiar with Moodle from the academic world branched into corporate jobs, its popularity among online learning practitioners saw it quickly transition into the business world. We have been customising the Moodle LMS to serve the requirements of corporate clients for many years.

Some Moodle LMS features that appeal to a wide range of organisations are:
 

Self-enrolment

Save yourself hours of admin time by using Moodle LMS’s self-enrolment features. Your learners can sign themselves up for courses that they want or need to complete, which means you don’t have to worry about inputting data and allocating learners to courses.
 

Open source flexibility

The fact that Moodle LMS is open source is one of its key selling points. It offers a tried and tested core platform, which can then be built upon and customised to suit any specific needs that your organisation might have. This might include drawing upon the vibrant Moodle development community, which has created an array of plugins and extensions you can use. Beyond that, no matter what bespoke development is needed, there are already strong foundations in place.

This versatility also allows you to connect and integrate your Moodle LMS with Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365 and any other systems you currently use, which helps to make your learning management system part and parcel of the platforms your learners use on a daily basis.
 

Native app and offline sync

Moodle LMS comes with a native app, which means your learners can complete training on any device at a time that suits them. So, training can easily be undertaken during lulls in the working day or even at home on the sofa. The app also includes offline sync, which means that your learners can complete learning even without having access to an internet connection. Their data will update automatically when they connect to the internet.
 

Collaborative learning

If you like your learners to be able to share knowledge and learn from each other, Moodle LMS comes with a suite of tools that will help you to achieve this. These include forums (including private replies from administrators), user-to-user messaging, group messaging, live chat and peer-based assessment. You can also export reports on the forum to check on usage and engagement among your learners.
 

Track your learners

Moodle LMS gives you the insights and analytics you need to be able to keep track of how your learners are performing. You’ll be able to see how far each learner has progressed within a course, who has completed a recent activity and which learners are struggling to keep up. This data gives you a wealth of information in order to be able to make targeted interventions when they are needed. Whether you need to remind a learner about the importance of completing training or provide extra support to help them with their learning, your Moodle LMS will guide you along the way.


Moodle Workplace

Newly launched corporate platform with Moodle LMS functionality, plus additional features and support.

It might be the right LMS for you if any of the following are true:

  • You have a complex organisational structure.
  • You provide different learning to multiple audiences.
  • You build reports on a large number of learners.
  • You need to deliver and track mandatory or compliance training.
  • You need to deliver learning to different organisations and want to do so through a single platform.
  • You want to automate your admin.

If Moodle LMS sounded like it was suited to your requirements, Moodle Workplace retains all of those core elements and comes with a range of additional features that are targeted at an enterprise clientele. So, Moodle Workplace is only likely to be the right LMS for you if you work for a large organisation.

It’s worth noting that Moodle Workplace is currently only available via trusted Moodle Premium Partners (of which we are one) as Moodle aims to restrict access to learning technology companies with the know-how and experience to be able to build and manage an LMS on the scale usually required for Moodle Workplace.

Some Moodle Workplace features aimed at large organisations are:
 

Multi-tenancy

A single Moodle Workplace platform can host multiple iterations. This is very useful for organisations providing learning to more than one target audience or a diverse range of learners. You can easily host different versions of your LMS with design, user experience and learning content tailored to the relevant audience. If your organisation has different divisions doing very different work, each division can have an LMS that’s customised to their learning needs.
 

Time-saving automation

Moodle Workplace uses a rule-based system to automate some of the more laborious tasks associated with managing a large LMS. This includes enabling automatic enrolment, certification and security management. You can save huge amounts of time by setting up simple rules that will apply to a group of learners.

For example, all learners who complete course A could be immediately and automatically enrolled on course B without any need for you to intervene. Similarly, you could set a dynamic rule that, after completing courses A, B and C, learners are issued with a particular certification. Again, you can arrange for this to be carried out and the certificate issued to each learner without having to take any action at the time. Set your dynamic rules and let the automation do the rest.
 

Replicate your hierarchy

You can use Moodle Workplace to mirror your organisation’s hierarchy. This makes it easy to assign roles, management responsibilities and security permissions in a way that adheres to your management structure and reporting lines. You get tight control to ensure people in different roles only have access to the data and information they need to see.
 

More personalised learning experience

Moodle Workplace builds on the Moodle LMS user dashboard to give a more personalised experience. You’ll have at your disposal certification and compliance tracking, recertification management, and personalised alerts and notifications.

But the key aspect of this personalised learning experience is the program management, which allows you to create learning workflows for each of your learners or groups of learners. These workflows can also be tied to the organisational hierarchy we mentioned above, so that learners follow a route that is suited to their role in the organisation, their experience level or their competencies.
 

Powerful reporting

Moodle Workplace includes an advanced custom report builder, which increases the level of insight you’re able to get into your learners. Pretty much any metric you want to look at can easily be built into a one-off or regular report.

This might include looking at learners who have achieved a particular competency or certification, learners who have not yet completed a piece of mandatory training or monitoring performance within a particular department or group of users.

Reports can also be shared across tenancies, so you don’t have to replicate reports for multiple versions of your LMS.


Totara Learn

Flexible enterprise LMS targeting a corporate audience.

It might be the right LMS for you if any of the following are true:

  • You’re an enterprise organisation.
  • You need more functionality relating to your organisation hierarchy.
  • You need your learners to undertake training for compliance purposes.
  • You’re looking for powerful reporting relating to your team’s learning activities.

To get a sense of whether Totara might be right for your organisation, you need only look at its beginnings. It was initially built with the aim of providing an LMS with functionality suited to corporate users.

As such, it sought to incorporate learning, management and administrative features that would benefit businesses.

Some Totara Learn features aimed at corporate organisations are:
 

Compliance management

If your learners need to undergo specific training in order for your organisation to fulfil legal or professional obligations, Totara Learn will make managing that process far easier. Its compliance management tools will allow you to set compulsory programs of study. It can also manage and issue certifications related to the training in question and handle management of recertification if the learner is required to undertake the same training within a set period of time. Scheduled reminders to learners and managers help you to stop learners being missed and ensure you keep your compliance levels high.
 

Advanced reporting tools

Those scheduled reminders are supported by advanced reporting tools that make it simple to track which learners have not yet completed mandatory training (or any other training, for that matter). Team learning and development statistics, a custom report builder, scheduled custom reports and graphical reporting are among the features that will help you to pinpoint skills gaps, keep track of knowledge across your organisation and improve succession planning.
 

Organisational hierarchy

Your Totara Learn site can be built to mirror the organisational structure and hierarchies of your organisation. As well as setting permissions relating to the overall organisational hierarchy, you can also set positional hierarchies that are linked to competencies or business goals. This means you can assign learning to specific, relevant groups; limit access to sensitive information and create team dashboards that can be overseen by line managers.
 

Personalised learning pathways

Totara Learn gives you the flexibility to set personalised learning pathways for each of your learners or groups of your learners. This is perfect if you are training learners with different roles, skill sets, experience or knowledge and a one-size-fits-all approach is not suited to the type of learning you need to deliver.
 

Offline and blended learning

Totara Learn can be used to manage offline as well as online learning. This includes an event booking management system that incorporates features including attendance tracking, waitlists, room management and sign-up sheets. If your learners need to complete some practical training in person, attend seminars or undertake other face-to-face learning, Totara Learn will make the associated administration and management far easier and far less time-consuming.


Further guidance on the right LMS for your organisation

In this article we’ve tried to take three complex and powerful learning management systems and set out some of their key features, typical uses and comparative benefits. There will undoubtedly be some aspects of learning that are important to your organisation that are not covered here since it would be impossible to cover every possible scenario.

With that in mind, you’re welcome to request a call using the form below so that we can discuss your organisation in more detail and point you towards the right LMS for your requirements.

Or perhaps no LMS is right for your organisation. Maybe what you’re really looking for is a Talent Experience Platform (TXP), which incorporates many of the features above as well as tools for integrating ongoing development within your learners’ day-to-day workflow and carrying out comprehensive performance monitoring and management.

If so, we’d suggest reading this article on using a Talent Experience Platform (TXP) to develop your employees.

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