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Working with E-Learning Vendors: Creating a Request for Information (RFI)

E-learning Uncovered

The selection of an e-learning vendor can seem challenging. Maybe you don’t know what vendors can provide the exact product or service you need, or it might be that you aren’t even sure WHAT you need. My next few blog posts will give some tips I have found for selecting and working with vendors. First, let’s focus on how to get the information you need from a vendor using a Request for Information (RFI).

Y R Some Vendors confused about e-learning?

eLearning 24-7

Are there vendors in the e-learning space who lack basic understanding around e-learning? Lastly, if the vendors, organizations and firms whose whole background, expertise and existence is tied to e-learning and they themselves are not fully understanding it, does this bode well for the industry as a whole? (I’ll E-Learning is E-Learning and not some magical dust. Hello, it fits under e-learning.

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LMS Vendors: U Can Survive – Innovate, Invigorate and Invent

eLearning 24-7

It was within these comments, that afterwords, I decided to expand a bit plus identify other areas that I see, LMS vendors must explore – which they have not yet done so, to re-energize themselves. Thus, the LMS vendors are creating a Bogeyman – their own bogeyman, and it does not have to be that way. Majority of employees access a LMS or Learning Portal out of the workplace. Far too many LMS vendors are stuck in a rut. Social Learning.

What’s hurting the LMS market

eLearning 24-7

The LMS market is strong. They are necessary for the evolution of any system and mandatory to garner more market share. Make no mistake, there are plenty of vendors out there who believe in the concept of focusing on features and forgetting about usability, under the guise that people would rather have lots of cool blinky things rather than usability. While this is a great concept for party decorations, it is not for a learning platform. Customer Service.

LMS vendors: R u hearing us?

eLearning 24-7

LMS Vendors. 30% vendors offer at least one type of social media – from my latest LMS directory. Dozens of LMS vendors, had typos on their web pages, zero screens of the system, links that went nowhere and two kicked up my Firewall warning of possible privacy collection and one had a Trojan Horse (I use a hardcore firewall and A/V). Over 90% of LMS vendors had their sites available only in English; so the potential customer could not view it in any other language.

Times are changing – trends in the content authoring tool market

eLearning 24-7

As the rapid content authoring market continues to grow, new features and capabilities are equally growing. You work online via the servers of your vendor. I had thought that this trend would be dying out, but it is amazing at the number of vendors who are entering the space and still focused on the desktop approach. Vendors who are already in the SaaS only space, should continue to offer features that maximize its power. Mobile Learning. Vendors to Watch.

LMS Market – An inside scoop

eLearning 24-7

Today, I was going to discuss how to market your LMS to your employees, but instead wish to focus on a common question, I often receive about LMS vendors. Here is some insight into the market (just a tad), some of which you may know, others which you may not. One additional word, as many of you may know, I have launched my “Secret LMS Shopper&# program which will provide an unbiased review of a LMS/LCMS vendor, incl. There are over 190 LMS/LCMS vendors.

Something is Going on Down there in the LMS Market

eLearning 24-7

Latest data: 95% of the tablet market is owned by iPad. 35 tablets will hit the market starting in early Q4 to late Q1 2011. HP Slate already is in the market, runs on Windows7, but targets the business market. There are over 30 tablets already in the market, besides the iPad, including some that run on the Android OS. LMS Vendors and Tablets Update. This does not include the other tablets already out in the market, nor the Galaxy. E-Learning 24/7.

Video Learning Platforms

eLearning 24-7

They are also big in the market – people are buying them. People who bought HD-DVD players – learn that they make great flying objects out of five story buildings. 2013 - LMSs are not the only learning system in town. The new kids of the block (please no jokes here) are Video Learning Platforms. While they have been making roads in the educational markets for the past few years, some solutions start to target the corporate market too.

A Look Back at E-Learning in 2012

eLearning 24-7

Mobile Learning. LMSs – Finally vendors took notice. Sadly though many still are in the dark on true mobile learning – i.e. not accessing their platform via a mobile web browser. Authoring Tools – With only a small sample of vendors that are SaaS based, pickings are slim. Web Conferencing – You would think that all these services would have a native app for tablets. Market as a whole. eLogic Learning. exact learning.

Latest Trends in E-Learning

eLearning 24-7

Twice a year I will be providing some trends that I am seeing in the e-learning market. This one trend really is an irritation to me, because the term “training” is showing up rather than “learning”, which is the standard term as it relates to online learning (see it already?). Custom Development and LMS vendors. Reasons that the custom development market has exploded at a massive rate, just in the past year.

SAAS (Hosted) LMS and Vendor Questions

eLearning 24-7

SAAS: Software as a Service. The bottom line without getting technical or overly detailed, the solution is hosted on your vendor’s servers and not hosted on your internal servers. So in the case of a LMS/LCMS, it is hosted on your vendor’s servers and can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection and a browser (that they support), anywhere in the world. Options 1) Go on Linkedin and post the question about the vendor and ask for feedback, good or bad.

LMS Vendors: U Can Survive – Innovate, Invigorate and Invent

eLearning 24-7

It was within these comments, that afterwords, I decided to expand a bit plus identify other areas that I see, LMS vendors must explore – which they have not yet done so, to re-energize themselves. Thus, the LMS vendors are creating a Bogeyman – their own bogeyman, and it does not have to be that way. Majority of employees access a LMS or Learning Portal out of the workplace. Far too many LMS vendors are stuck in a rut. Social Learning.

Top 10 LMSs for 2013

eLearning 24-7

Back again to bring this first in a series of rankings for the top ten learning management systems for 2013. Vendors can move up, down or out of the rankings – after all it is on-going. I’m not a lead gen for the vendors listed – rather the goal is to provide you with vendors that meet numerous criteria including UI, features, support/service, mobile, feedback from current and past clients and future game plans. Support of the iPad, thus mobile learning.

How to Buy a LMS

eLearning 24-7

LMS – Learning Management System – most commonly sought out by folks. LCMS – Learning Content Management System – going the way of the dodo bird. M-Learning- Mobile Learning. E-Learning – Online Learning. Many people confuse the term thinking it means electronic learning and thus will boost that they were doing e-learning 20 years ago or even longer. LRS – Learning Record Stores.

E-Learning: Did you know.

eLearning 24-7

I love going to LMS sites and seeing a list of clients that the vendor lists. Especially the LMS vendors who also create custom content/development. It adds an additional nuance to their services. That some vendors who provide a list of clients may not be clients of their LMS, rather they are current or past clients of custom course development. Yep, you read that right, and best or worst of all, they (vendor) never tells you, unless you inquiry.

Best of the Best – Extended Enterprise or multi-tenant LMSs

eLearning 24-7

Just because a system lists itself as an extended enterprise does not mean it comes with multiple domains (which with some vendors includes customized) nor with multiple portals or my preferable term – “multi-tenant” You may see an “extended enterprise” which not only refers to the company’s employees, but also their customers and channel partners. E xpertus One ($$$-$$$$)- Still the best multi-tenant platform in the market.

Q&A from Blog Readers on E-Learning

eLearning 24-7

Q : I am curious on why Cornerstone On Demand, Saba and SumTotal do not appear in your top twenty lists even though they appear on other sites as the best products in the market. Every e-learning consulting/research firm, etc. My latest take on those three vendors (plus one) are: Cornerstone On Demand – I have seen the new UI and I like what I saw. That said, they are in my top 40 for learning/extended enterprise cloud. Service calls not being returned.

Top 10 LMS/LCMS Trends and Forecasts

eLearning 24-7

The trends apply to both LMS/LCMS vendors. Extended Enterprise - Vendors are expanding into the wholesaler/reseller/affiliates/sales agent sector with their solutions. The note of interest is that it is occurring with all size of vendors, albeit the charge is being led by mid size vendors. Not all of the big dog vendors have entered this space, despite it being a huge revenue opportunity. Global markets. Even if your vendor is outside of the U.S./Canada,

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5 E-Learning Forecasts for 2012

eLearning 24-7

They involved talent management, “hello and goodbye” with vendors, social learning, upswing in mobile learning, new feature sets in the authoring tool space, flat lining in web conferencing and standalone platforms. LMSs/LCMS/CMS/learning platforms in commercial and open space continued their presence. Some items stood out, others continued in an everlasting awful experience (customer and support service – as a whole). Social Learning.

LMS Ecosystems – The next big thing

eLearning 24-7

When you think of a learning management system you immediately focus on the features, ease of use (ideally) and more importantly how it ties directly to what you want to do in the short and long term as related to learning or learning/performance management. Maybe you see it as a component within a blended learning environment. Offers a multitude of services to customers. Some Walmarts include groceries and auto services – including oil changes and alike.

Low Cost LMSs – Yes, u can find one for under 10K

eLearning 24-7

Are there low cost systems for the education market? The variance of UIs from slick to yucky exist in this market, but don’t despair – awful UIs can be had in systems that run over 100K. The LMS market as a whole, has some serious issues when it comes to “ease of use” and “sweet” user interfaces – on both the end user and admin side. The low cost market in general offers a solid set of features. E-Learning 24/7.

#ASTDTK14 Review

eLearning 24-7

ASTDTK14 zoomed into Vegas last week with about 60 vendors (est.) On the expo side, and I know ASTD Events are going to disagree with me (err, they already have via Linkedin), I wasn’t overly impressed on the number of vendors’ booths. Authoring tools vendors – pickings were slim, Adobe was present, so was Allen Interactions (Zebra Zapps), but no Articulate? Mobile specific tools or m-learning spin tools – were not as extensive as I was expecting.

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Evolving the E-Learning Experience for the 21st Century

eLearning 24-7

What always stuns me are vendors who state they know what their learners want, but in reality have no clue, because they themselves do not see the technology and its usage among the masses. Each one is available today on the Internet for free and these types of products are gaining mass in the global market. E-Mail. The growing number of businesses leaving Microsoft Outlook to Internet e-mail is amazing. Social learning takes on a whole new meaning.

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Dispelling the LMS Myth

eLearning 24-7

He was recognized throughout the e-learning and learning communities. I live it, perhaps too much, yet the other day I came across a learning blog informing its readers that in order for the LMS to survive: Must become modular. Funny thing is that it the LMS market has been doing that for more than a decade. E-Commerce. Customized skinning – albeit in today’s market there are some vendors who charge for skins – disgusting!

#25 to #11 LMSs of 2012

eLearning 24-7

It is the holiday season and for those who see me as the grinch (okay a few vendors do, but I digress) here is a special post. Next week, 12-12-12, will be #10 to #1 learning management systems for 2012. New features include m-learning on the iPad with native app (no on/off synch), integrates with Yammer, themes, custom URL, assessment tool, the authoring tool is the key component, help and feedback tab. Sales service – in my experience awful. . #22

State of the LMS 2012

eLearning 24-7

For the past month, I have been conducting a survey on learning platforms and specifically learning management systems. . The data shows that what many vendors assume end users want is far from accurate. Too many vendors are focusing on talent/performance management as the next feature/component in their systems. Do you have a LMS/LCMS/Learning Platform. Today, however more and more learning management systems are bringing into content management features, inc.

Latest E-Learning News and Notes

eLearning 24-7

This month’s news and notes includes details on the E-Learning 24/7 Course Authoring Tool Shootut, A new Content Authoring Tool Directory along with interesting data points, LMS Info and final tidbits. E-Learning 24/7 and E-Learning TV presents: Rapid Course Authoring Tool Shootout. Reports, details and insight will be posted in this blog, and the E-Learning 24/7 Linkedin group. 124 vendors, inc. Who do I like for LMS Vendors?

Something is Going on Down there in the LMS Market

eLearning 24-7

Latest data: 95% of the tablet market is owned by iPad. 35 tablets will hit the market starting in early Q4 to late Q1 2011. HP Slate already is in the market, runs on Windows7, but targets the business market. There are over 30 tablets already in the market, besides the iPad, including some that run on the Android OS. LMS Vendors and Tablets Update. Two years ago, lots of LMS vendors were saying their systems were browser agnostic.

What consumers want in a LMS – can you say WOW?

eLearning 24-7

With this knowledge comes the avalanche of hyper sales, vendors are exploring ways to gain your attention. Whether they are using their system for employees, B2B market or a combination of both, this is becoming the standard rather than the secondary. Thus is should be a concern to every vendor who shows off a system that is stripped off its looks to entice buyers. The most common responses I hear from vendors are. Your support and service stinks.

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5 Trends to Watch 4 n 2011

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They are similar to what you see in your standard LMS, course content, learning paths, reporting – but it is not as robust (which is fine for some end users). One vendor with 750 users, priced out at nearly 24K a year; another close to 11.5K – thus depends on users is a factor. If you are an e-learning vendor exploring the SBM do not take them lightly, a few are slowly entering my 2nd trend. Extended Enterprise/Channel Product/Distributors Market.

Break it down! (No it’s not Hammer Time! Yet)

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I’ve also learned firsthand, how to make it work in any vertical and any industry. Learning Management Systems. Mobile learning platforms. Social learning platforms. If you want to track in a learning management system or learning platform that supports SCORM then you want it. May offer the ability to take a course via an e-mail link or twitter link or in another fashion. Why do some vendors have trials and others do not?

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Bridge over troubled authoring tool waters

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Seems to show a level of customer service we have all come to expect when testing something or trying it out before we buy it. So, why can’t we do it with all the authoring tools on the market? Why are some vendors making it impossible? Why are some vendors treating you as a spy or something sinister when you just want to try out the product? I’ve talked in the past about pricing and some of the outrageous fees that authoring tool vendors are charging.

Latest LMS Trends – The Truth is No Longer a Stranger

eLearning 24-7

The LMS/LCMS/Learning Portal market continues to be strong. In my latest directory, 393 LMS vendors – global, of which 34 or so are open source systems. Here are five trends that are being seen in the market, but one of these trends can cause consternation, among current customers. In a market this size, and with so many vendors overly focused on the U.S. Acquiring another LMS or e-learning vendor. Social Learning Stagnation.

Latest E-Learning Trends – Some good, some bad

eLearning 24-7

I mean ever&# , from a senior executive at a mid to large size vendor that has been in the market for several years. Across the board, a large number of vendors (from small to large) saw increases in their quarter numbers. Especially, when vendors released their 2010 final numbers and saw big increases from the previous year. They start to generate big numbers (revenue), the market is rebounding and with that result, comes the double whammy. E-Learning 24/7.

5 Trends to Watch 4 n 2011

eLearning 24-7

They are similar to what you see in your standard LMS, course content, learning paths, reporting – but it is not as robust (which is fine for some end users). One vendor with 750 users, priced out at nearly 24K a year; another close to 11.5K – thus depends on users is a factor. If you are an e-learning vendor exploring the SBM do not take them lightly, a few are slowly entering my 2nd trend. Extended Enterprise/Channel Product/Distributors Market.

Being Thankful: E-Learning Thoughts

eLearning 24-7

Thus, it makes only sense to present my list of “thanks” from an e-learning perspective. Vendors who added innovative features including text to speech (way to go SoftChalk), to true HTML5 support (Claro, Cm-Studio, Rapid Intake, Toolbook and sort of HTML5 output – Lectora) to image editors, SDK kits, gaming sims and Sony PSP devices. Vendors who dumped desktop apps and went into the “cloud” – thank you, thank you.

Product Review: BlueVolt

eLearning 24-7

At one time BlueVolt was just a spark, a system among many other systems in the market. Ability to e-mail a group of people or an individual within the product – ideal for classroom, webinars or even admin to send specific notifications without having to sent it to everyone. E-mail notifications and reminders. Mobile Learning – yes you can view it on tablets and smartphones. Social Learning – No. Offers e-commerce module: Yes.

Product Review: Litmos LMS

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Less functionality and features than their standard counterparts, but these features may be “social learning&# , or “ability to tie a user to a course&# or “creating learning paths for each user&# or “assessment tools&# , etc. Small business is a very good market for them; but many offer pricing for SMB. Education, non-profit, association can be equally good markets for them. Segment as a whole is growing in terms of vendors.

Holiday Giveaway from E-Learning 24/7

eLearning 24-7

As part of the holidays, these vendors have joined together with E-Learning 24/7 and present (no pun intended) a holiday giveaway. The Vendors (alphabetical order, followed by giveaway). Link to web site is located within the vendor’s name. If you are selected as a winner, your information will be sent to the vendor who will communicate directly with you – regarding the prize. In one case, the vendor will be mailing the prize to you.