What is a Cloud LMS?

A new breed of LMS is taking over the learning industry – the Cloud LMS.  Cloud LMSs, born in the last 5 years, go by many names including Social, Mobile, NextGen and Gamified.  They are designed with modern tools and techniques and are for lease in turnkey private and multi-tenant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployment models.

Being the newest group in the LMS industry, Cloud LMSs are not as functionally and technically advanced as the Talent Suite LMSs and Stand-Alone LMSs but they are making progress faster than all others are in this industry.

While new Cloud LMS vendors may brand themselves with different names they all focus on having the best user interface, mobile and social learning experience.

Product Traits Shared by all Cloud LMSs

Cloud LMSs are totally HTLM5 mobile responsive meaning the LMS scales and reorganizes the user interface for easy use on any mobile device or web browser without scrolling or squinting.  Cloud LMSs also have these other common feature sets:

  • Social Learning is integrated into the core LMS workflow enabling collaboration, sharing, mentoring and bragging of gamification status.
  • Gamification features facilitate the earning of points once content or social interaction is completed. Accumulated points translate into awards, levels, badges and the crowd favorite – tangible cash, gift card or content rewards.
  • Out-of-the-box API “connectors” allow integration with other cloud-based software including content, virtual classroom, e-commerce, talent, social, CRM and human resource applications. This allows cloud LMSs to inexpensively and broadly extend their applications.
  • The user interface is designed to look and feel like Facebook, Amazon and eBay combined, resulting into a more engaging and familiar experience.

They all describe the above feature set as “NextGen.”

The Best Cloud LMS Providers

Who are these cloud LMS providers?  They include Docebo, Litmos, LearningCart, TalentLMS, Mindflash, Digital Ignite, Expertus, InteractYX, Saba, DigitalChalk and many others.

While each cloud LMS has its own unique strengths and weaknesses from a functional, technical, professional service, ongoing support and business standpoint, the best Cloud LMS for your organization is the one that meets your requirements in those five requirement categories.

The Cloud LMS Business Model

Cloud LMSs are all about building a reoccurring stream of “leasing or license subscription” revenue by adding and retaining clients.   The growing predictable stream of revenue allows them to invest heavily in both product development and marketing further perpetuating the cycle.  Additionally, Cloud LMSs:

  • Utilize “inbound marketing” by constantly publishing thought leadership content to attract qualified prospects globally.
  • Openly provide all product, technical, value propositions and licensing information to allow prospects to educate themselves.
  • Customers are encouraged to take a free product trial and upload proprietary content and users. Payment for the service often begins after a few weeks.
  • The monthly or annual fee charged is reasonable and could be based on active users, course launches, course completions and user records in the database.

Conclusion

Any organization that needs to educate its internal employees or extended enterprise needs an LMS.  Cloud LMSs inexpensively provide all the modern LMS conveniences.  However, the best way to go about selecting a LMS is to understand your business, its metrics and requirements.

Thanks for reading!

 

 John Leh is CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning, LLC. John is an LMS selection consultant and training industry blogger focused on helping organizations plan and implement technology strategies that support extended enterprise learning. He has 18 years of experience in the eLearning and LMS industry, having served as a trusted advisor to more than 100 learning organizations with a total technology spend of $50 million. John helps organizations define their learning technology business case and requirements, manage the RFP process, select a vendor and negotiate a great deal. 

 

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John Leh