What is LMS software?
LMS stands for learning management system, and LMS software is just what you think it is. You can have a paper-and-pen-based LMS, but you can also have software that does the same thing. LMS software is usually a cloud-based platform that lets you build, deliver, assess, track, and report on the training and learning process of your employees, partners, customers, or students. It can be used in a business setting or an educational setting like a K-12 or college environment.*
*For this reason, an LMS is sometimes different from a training management system. You typically don't use training management techniques in a K-12 setting.
All the training content can include pre-recorded videos, video conferencing/virtual classrooms, slides, testing/assessments, and gamification of the results, such as giving badges for achieving levels of completion or other accomplishments.
LMS software allows for both synchronous learning, where everyone is in the classroom at the same time, or asynchronous, where people take pre-recorded classes. Or to think of it this way – phone calls are synchronous because you're both on the call at the same time, and email is asynchronous because you're each responding in your own time.
In doing your LMS software comparison, you should come up with your list of must-have features – your non-negotiables – that any LMS is going to have for you to successfully train all of your employees and partners.
Some of the non-negotiables should include:
- Access control: Role-based control of who takes certain trainings and has access to certain information.
- Centralized repository: Cloud-based storage for all training materials, modules, videos, quizzes, and employee status tracking. Rather than several people all having pieces of the content, this is all stored in one place and is accessible for everyone.
- Easy to use: The interface is intuitive and easy to use, both for content creators and employees.
- Testing: Create or upload tests so you can make sure your employees understand what they're learning.
- Acknowledgment & tracking: Track everyone who has completed their training, and report on their progress to management and accreditation monitors.
- Policy and Accreditation Mapping: Can map policies and accreditation requirements to training so you can ensure everyone is being trained on the latest regulations and requirements.
- Integration of third-party content: Import training content from third-party providers, especially those in the law enforcement and health care fields.
- Mobile accessible: Can users access training content through their mobile phones and tablets? Especially important for field operatives or deskless employees.
- Customer support: Able to reach a friendly, knowledgeable support team 24/7.
In the rest of this article, we'll compare two pieces of LMS software and see how they compare to PowerDMS' capabilities.
Solution 1: SAP Litmos
When it comes to checking the non-negotiable list, SAP Litmos covers most of them. It has a centralized repository of all your learning and training modules, so you can upload all the videos, audio, slides, and SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) that you want. Plus, it's user-friendly for everyone, so instructors can create and upload their own content.
It also comes with its own content library of more than 15,000 learning modules. Many of them are video-based and run anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes long. And since you can access SAP Litmos on a mobile device, you can access all video content in the field or on your laptop in your office.
You can import content from third-party providers, and create customized learning paths so different roles and levels can take specific courses, as well as take them in a certain order. Plus, SAP Litmos has an API that lets you connect to applications and information systems like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Shopify, and PayPal.
Finally, SAP Litmos allows for testing and tracking, so you can see how well your employees are understanding their content, as well as whether they are meeting training requirements required by your licensing and accreditation agencies. The platform also uses gamification to increase motivation and engagement and to award points and badges. It also sends real-time notifications to teams and users, which can lead to higher and faster course completion rates.
- Easy to upload learning content, including documents, images, video, audio, and SCORM. Also easy to create and edit within the SAP Litmos environment.
- Allows a large number of people to complete their training on their own time.
- Customer support and development support can be slow, if not completely lacking.
- Some users have reported problems in trying to cancel their subscriptions, including cancellation requests not being honored or cancellation links being hidden.
- Many users reported the general interface to be clean and easy to use but reported the admin and Teams functions to be a little harder to use.
SAP Litmos doesn't share its pricing publicly, but one software review site reported that it starts at $9,000 per year. But take these prices with a healthy dose of skepticism because it could be outdated. Still, count on the price being rather high, especially since the software maker is a large enterprise that has thousands of pieces of educational content available. Plus it has 250+ employees in 25 global offices, and they can't support that for $100/month. The software also has a few additional add-ons available, which can also add to the cost.
SAP Litmos is one of the larger LMS software companies out there, so if you have a large organization that needs to provide training and learning to hundreds, if not thousands, of people, this is a product to help you do it.
SAP Litmos has content for healthcare providers, especially healthcare management and administration. There's also content for technology companies, nonprofits, and retail, but nothing really for municipalities or law enforcement organizations. If you need features specific to those types of organizations, you may want to look elsewhere. But if you're not sure, SAP Litmos has a free trial of an unspecified length.
Solution 2: Docebo
Docebo is a robust learning management system that delivers training and educational content for new and existing employees, partners, vendors, and customers. It's ideal for compliance training, as well as new products, policies, and procedures. The software has also won a number of awards and acclaim from different software review sites
The software's API supports 35 different native integrations so you can connect with tools like Google Workspace, Zoom, Salesforce, and Shopify. You can also access Docebo's own content library with tens of thousands of courses, and you can access a certain number of courses – 50, 150, or unlimited – based on your subscription level.
Docebo is an Italian company with offices around the world including the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Dubai, and France, so they have localization and language support for different countries and populations, as well as white labeling so you can include your own branding logos and colors on your interface.
Docebo also lets you embed its software within Salesforce, which means your own sales department can stay in their Salesforce interface and receive training on using the product, or watch other learning content. You can also make Docebo available within your own SaaS solution, so your customers can receive training on your software, but driven by the Docebo engine.
- Docebo is a global company and has localizations and language support for people around the world.
- Supports multiple environments without any integration problems.
- Mobile-friendly application allows distance and remote learning on mobile phones and tablets.
- Docebo is not for small organizations under 300 users. It also does not have a community forum for crowdsourced tech support and learning support.
- Steeper learning curve because the product is so large and complex.
- Users have reported issues with customer support and development support.
Docebo doesn't share their pricing publicly, but in November 2019, PC Mag reported that prices started at $1900 per month. Take that with a grain of salt, since that was two years ago. Still, count on the price being rather high, since the software is not suitable for smaller businesses under 300 licensed users.
Docebo is ideal for organizations that have 300+ users each month, but not for smaller organizations that may have 50–250 users, including employees, partners, and customers.
Docebo serves industries like software, financial services, manufacturing, business services, and healthcare (to name a few). But they don't seem to have much in the way of content for municipal and law enforcement organizations. If you're in one of those industries, you may want to keep reading. But if you're not sure, Docebo has a free trial of indeterminate time.
Don't forget PowerDMS
While we wanted to make a head-to-head LMS software comparison, we also wanted to mention PowerDMS (think of us as the third wrestler who sneaks into the wrestling match with a chair and distracts the referee).
PowerDMS is a policy management platform and LMS/TMS all in one. We've created and contracted content geared toward healthcare organizations, as well as law enforcement organizations. That's our sweet spot, and who we spend the most time serving.
But that doesn't mean corporations or nonprofits can't use PowerDMS. Because we're policy management focused, any company that is highly regulated or has a lot of legal requirements can benefit from our policy management features.
You're not only able to create and update your policies, collaborate on their creation, and keep track of the revision history, you can also access many of the same training features we've discussed in this LMS software comparison.
But we also offer one thing the others don't: That's the policy mapping feature that lets you map your policy and accreditation requirements to your training and learning modules, updating them on demand, and notifying your employees of the new requirements. You can also track everyone's progress and monitor it on custom dashboards.
Do you need a learning management system that connects with your policy and/or accreditation management? PowerDMS is a one-stop platform requiring minimal setup or IT support. Contact us for a free demo and to get your questions answered.