Good. Better. Best. What makes an LMS “Best”? What makes it better than other LMS solutions? And does that mean it’s BEST for your organization or institution? Since we've been finalists (and winners) of the CODiE Awards for Best LMS 9-years running and are again 2017 CODiE Award Finalists, we thought we'd take the time to define what it means to us, here.
Rather than listing features (which can always be added by other vendors), price/value (which should always be considered), or emphasizing necessary services like technical support and hands-on training (which are a MUST), this blog will cover what seems to make us a good fit for our clients – both educational and corporate. This post focuses on what makes a Best Post-Secondary Learning Management Solution.
For educational institutions, finding the right LMS seems to be a search for a unicorn. According to the SLOAN-C Online Learning Consortium’s report, most Higher Educational institutions will switch their LMS (60%) this year. Even more striking, is that this number has remained the same for the last five plus years! (Report can be accessed here: https://onlinelearningconsortium.org/read/survey-reports/.)
So, any investment in learning management solutions is usually a short-lived investment. Rather disheartening for the committees and the faculty who must feel herked and jerked along every year. No wonder buy-in is so low!
At Edvance360, our educational institutions achieve a 95% or higher faculty usage rate EVERY SINGLE TIME. Almost always, this factor keeps them using Edvance360, even when a new Provost or CIO comes along touting the “more features” from another vendor. Our clients realize that more features (which usually equals more expense) does not translate to more usage. And, over time any needs for new features have been met – often with us leading the pack on new features or new ways of thinking that benefit learners and faculty.
Usage rate is key to educational institution learning environments. If a school is paying $1 for education technology that no one uses, they are still paying too much. If they are instituting a software system that never reaches a high usage rate, they’ve wasted their time – and will repeat the cycle next year.
Note: Usage rate is not interchangeable with the word “easy to use”. Far too often, LMS vendors bill themselves as “easy to use” but fail to show tool usage numbers, avoiding the transparency that is necessary to report on such usage. Simplifying usage rate down to “easy to use” is too simplistic and frankly, naïve.
“Usage rate can’t be achieved overnight. It comes with years of experience, servicing many types of clients and their evolving needs, a culture that embraces hands-on training for each tool, and software designers who ACTUALLY TEACH! Usage rate requires the LMS vendor to care about the individual faculty and their courses, their goals, and their insecurities. Few LMS vendors offer real support and hands-on training beyond the initial, buckle-your-seat-belt-ten-hours-of-training. Edvance360 not only offers unlimited and free training for the life of the product, but we proactively reach out to clients on particular tools, how to use them best, and why a faculty member would care about it. This creates buy-in and increases usage rate.” – Cathy Garland, Vice-President of Marketing & Sales, Edvance360
For educational institutions, usage rate means understanding a client’s unique demographic of both faculty and learners. It requires training the early adopters differently than the main bulk of users and then bringing in the straggling resisters. It means making each tool count. It means making each tool easy to use. It means making the value of each tool obvious.
Bottom line: To achieve a high usage rate, it requires a vendor like Edvance360 who is able to understand and care about an educational institution’s needs. It means making usage rate transparent and actionable.