What Do You Hate About Your LMS?

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Your LMS is a piece of software. And, like all software, there are things that users like and things that users hate (just ask Bill Gates about Windows Vista).

What is it that you hate about your LMS? After hours of searching the internet, reading blogs and scanning complaint boards, I’ve come up with a list of 6 common issues that users hate about their learning management systems.

What Do You Hate About Your LMS?

1. What is an LMS?

An LMS (Learning Management System) is a software-based platform that supports your eLearning and training programs. It helps you to deliver online and offline courses, manage users and track training performance over time.

Just like in an educational institution, an LMS allows you to manage curriculum, training materials and evaluate learners.

Learning Management Systems serve multiple purposes, including general internal training, certification training, compliance, onboarding, customer training and to sell courses. However, their primary role is to ensure that all employees have the knowledge and skills needed to perform specific tasks to an established and documented standard of performance.

LMSs have the greatest impact on overall cost of training. But according to a recent study published by Capterra, 26% of people are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their current LMS.

Let’s investigate the common reasons users hate their LMS.

1. The LMS does not support our evolving training needs

A learning management system that cannot be adapted to changes in training or to future requirements as an organization grows is not scalable.

In a Capterra study where respondents stated they had changed their LMS, it was noted that those changes were because:

  • the LMS lacked features needed
  • the previous LMS wasn’t supported
  • the LMS didn’t support company size.

So, scalability is important. But, what does scalability mean?

What is Scalability?

The Technoppedia website defines scalability as “an attribute that describes the ability of a process, network, software or organization to grow and manage increased demand”.

In other words, a learning management system that is scalable can be customized to fit your organization now and in the future.

When you are talking to vendors about LMS features, ask about the scalability of their product. Find out about how often the product is upgraded, add-ons, ability to deliver to mobile platforms, etc.

The LMS that is right for you will be the one that fits your organization now and tomorrow.

2. The LMS does not provide the reports we require

Reports generated by your LMS are a key deliverable. They provide you with information you need to analyze and improve your workplace learning program.

Your LMS must be able to create the effective reports delivered to the right people – they need to provide administrators at all levels with the data they require.

Many learning management systems use only a set number of report templates that cannot be customized or enhanced. This means that your users may not get the data they need to analyze learner trends regarding usage, exam results, difficulty of specific exam questions, knowledge retention and comprehension, training completion times, etc.

Indeed, the biggest challenges for training measurements mentioned were respectively data activity and standardization (51% of respondents), lack of data (45%), and data accessibility (35%).

3. The LMS cannot be accessed by mobile platforms

In this age of miracles and wonders, we have come to expect everything to be accessible through our mobile devices. Our phones and tablets are our links to the world and so why should we not be able to complete our workplace learning using them?

With mobile learning, training can be consumed everywhere, at the point of need. In fact, according to Capterra’s study, 27% of respondents see mobile learning as one of the most desired features.

If you want your learning to be mobile, your learners need to be able to access your LMS from whatever platform they are using.

The mobile learning experience should be more than just a simple copy of the desktop experience. Available apps allow web-based LMS pages to be properly sized for smaller screens.

When shopping for a LMS, make sure to ask your vendors if their systems support mobile learning and, if so, ask about platforms that their systems can deliver content to and about SCORM and Tin Can compliance.

4. The LMS is not user friendly

According to an annual LMS trends survey conducted by Brandon Hall Group, LMS satisfaction levels remains low for ease of use, with 34 percent of respondents rating it either a 1 or a 2 on the 5-point scale.

Your learners should not have to learn new technology to complete their eLearning. If they find that locating courses, navigating through modules and completing tasks or exercises is confusing, it could be because the LMS interface is poorly designed.

An LMS interface should be user friendly and intuitive. In fact, an intuitive user interface is one of the top LMS features that eLearning companies should look for.

Ideally, learners easily access their learning plan, navigate through personalized learning paths and feel a sense of accomplishment with custom certification and gamification elements such as points and leaderboards.

LMS administrators should also be provided with the functions that they need to complete their administrative tasks. A well-designed LMS will allow the assignment of administration roles and offer those roles the functions they need through user menus and editable fields.

5. Data migration from HR databases to LMS is a problem

A common problem during LMS integration is that the LMS doesn’t “communicate” with the existing systems, making data migration difficult or impossible.

In fact, according to a recent study, 49% of LMS users cited integration issues as a main cause for dissatisfaction.

The LMS needs to integrate seamlessly with the organization’s existing systems to be effective. These include a Human Resource Information System (HRIS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

You may also need your LMS to integrate with these systems:

  • Talent management
  • Workforce management
  • Compliance platform
  • Payment processor

Your LMS should be capable of operating effortlessly allowing users to work through a variety of systems, different browsers, and mobile as well as desktop devices.

Knowing your integration needs and asking vendors the right questions will make data migration an easier task.

6. IT security issues

Learning management systems gather sensitive information that you want to keep safe. Data security is a serious matter. To keep that data safe, many organizations now move to cloud deployments.

Cloud-based learning managements systems are web-based platforms hosted on the vendor’s servers. All data is centralized to ensure consistency in the delivery and tracking of your training programs.

You need to be certain that the LMS vendors you deal with are serious about providing you with the best IT security they can. Any LMS that is worth considering will meet or exceed most cybersecurity requirements and will be compliant with standard internet security protocols.


Learning management systems are complex pieces of software. A particular LMS may be fine for one business, but completely wrong for another. When that happens, the list of things to hate starts to grow.

The key step in avoiding the problems we’ve discussed here is to know your LMS requirements and then communicate them to vendors. But, don’t stop there. Insist that vendors demonstrate that their systems meet or exceed your requirements and get it in writing. Your list of things to hate will then be a short one or maybe it won’t exist at all.

Need more tips on how to choose the right LMS for your organization? Download our FREE eBook now!

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Peter Exner

Peter is an Instructional Designer with BaseCorp Learning Systems. He has been writing and creating learning materials for just over 20 years and is still relatively sane. When he’s not working you can find him on a golf course or on a sunny deck with his trusty Martin D-28 guitar in hand.

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