Your new LMS: configurable or customized?

Today there are hundreds of Learning Management Systems (LMS) on the market. Almost all of them provide basic functionality to manage, deploy, track and report on training.

NetDimensions Talent Suite LMS allows for customization through skinsBut finding the right LMS features for your organization can be tricky. The process requires answers to a lot of questions.

Organizations require flexibility and agility in a dynamic marketplace. To begin the LMS evaluation process, reflect on what you need, as specifically as possible, to gain that flexibility. Make sure the LMS you choose will deliver the functionality you need.

The difference between configurable and customized LMS features

Every LMS comes with a long list of variables. Some must be configured as part of the implementation process. Some configuration is cosmetic, such as branding the LMS with a company logo. Cosmetic configuration is sometimes referred to as customization. But don’t confuse configuration and customization.

Configuration options are built into the application. Configuration is a normal and necessary part of the LMS implementation process; it is not an extra cost.

Building an application that accommodates configuration involves multiple layers, each with specific capabilities. At the application’s center is a core layer – also called a code layer – that’s not accessible to users. It protects the integrity of the code.

The middle layer is the configuration layer, which might hold the application’s ability to build comprehensive processes and workflows or flexible reports.

The user layer or user interface has some data-input capabilities accessible to the end user, where employees can enter and modify information.

By making changes through configuration, clients can mold the system to their unique needs without impacting the integrity of the core code. That also assures that configuration changes won’t clash with updates.

An example of a configurable or customized LMS

LMS customizations happen outside the application

As opposed to configured options, customized LMS features are those not originally designed by the application’s developers and come in a variety of forms. For instance, you can fully customize the look and feel of your LMS so that it appears as if it’s an extension of your corporate website. You might also want functionality that requires you to add additional capabilities to the system or create a home-grown LMS that includes the functionality that you need.

Delivery can be customized too. Custom solutions allow you to both determine how the content is delivered and how your learners can access it. Webinars, live video coaching or other methods might be most effective for your particular audience.

With our fast-paced and technology-driven global economy, companies are moving toward non-traditional work environments where employees don’t work in a centralized office. In that case, your LMS may need to be easily accessible remotely, and especially on mobile devices. Customizing your solution to address these needs becomes vital.

But some users have come to fear the word “customized”. This is based on previous experiences with legacy systems. Many feel that as soon as the Learning Director begins to customize his or her application, things get complicated or at best, difficult to manage.

They believe:

  • Customization requires fresh code to be written
  • Customization is expensive
  • When the LMS vendor upgrades, your custom code may no longer work
  • Once the customization route has begun, they may risk the ensuing downstream professional services costs

Anyone looking at a new or replacement LMS should discuss his or her LMS requirements with a knowledgeable LMS vendor such as Net Dimensions. Don’t miss out on the benefits of evolutionary functionality, when you can have the benefits of customization, without the complications.

User-friendly LMS features

We offer a flexible User Interface (UI), applications that can be fully configured to suit your needs, and an array of custom features.

Available worldwide and supported in over 43 languages, NetDimensions Learning can deliver custom features without the complications of a custom-designed system.

We also offer:

Personalized learning experiences for users

A customizable dashboard with performance management integration for managers

A customizable, easy-to-use report wizard

Seamless integrations with our clients’ existing systems

In the market for a new LMS? Configurable or customized, make sure the LMS you choose will deliver the functionality you need. Our specialists are available to help you manage a successful migration to NetDimensions’ secure SaaS-based LMS, ensuring a smooth and efficient transition.

If you and your organization are considering a new or replacement LMS, contact NetDimensions today.

Enjoyed this article? To find out more about switching from a legacy system to a new LMS, download our free Insight, ‘How to switch from a legacy system to a mobile LMS’, today.

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