The Best Learning Management Systems based on Customer Experience
This Top 20 LMS list has been created using a holistic approach and is based on input from actual LMS users.
The order of appearance depends on Customer Satisfaction (CSAT Score), Customer Effort (CEF Score) & Customer Expectation (CEX Score).
1. Determine what the customer craves and deliver it. In the case of college and university students, there are limits. Balancing student wants and desires with what they actually need to be successful students and engaged citizens can, in fact, be extremely challenging. “The customer is always right” philosophy practiced by many businesses simply does not fit with the mission of postsecondary institutions. Instead, the role of educators is to advance and apply knowledge, facilitate the exploration of ideas, foster cognitive dissonance, prepare students as lifelong learners and productive workers, and even, hold them accountable for their actions or inactions. Ideally, the college experience should be transformational—helping students become the best person they can be. With that said, failing to align teaching methods, curriculum, academic programs, and institutional services with the needs and expectations of students is a perilous path.
2. Create unexpected value. Incumbent institutions tend to focus on known problems (e.g., student attrition causation factors, poor service delivery, cumbersome processes, undersubscribed programs, insufficient class availability). True disruption seldom occurs in this space. Creating value where it did not exist before or was not expected spawns disruption. In the private sector, such intuitive value ideation is seen in Disney’s “Imagineering” the attractions in its theme parks, Apple’s invention of the iPhone, and Airbnb’s alternative to staying with the multitudes at expensive, disturbingly uniform hotel chains. This is what the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy characterize as swimming in the “blue ocean”, where there are few, if any, competitors (Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R., 2005). No disruptor is found in the “red ocean” crowded with similar competitors.
3. Avoid being average. If your school is one of the elite, well-known few, with highly selective admissions, it is not average. However, the vast majority of colleges and universities do not fit this profile. They have to find other ways to distinguish themselves. A capstone student experience, an innovative curriculum, guaranteed internship placement or study abroad, digital career portfolios, or a unique pricing model represent just a few examples. While it would be ideal to find something that makes your institution distinctive throughout the nation or the world, that is highly improbable. A more attainable goal is to position your institution uniquely among your direct competitors.
4. Identify the potential for expansion. As it relates to student enrollment growth, expansion opportunities are usually found within one or more of four domains: (1) thorough penetration of your existing primary market, where the institution and its academic programs have a strong presence, (2) the introduction of new programs into your primary market, (3) promotion of the institution and existing programs in a new market, and (4) diversification—new programs and new markets. Each domain has inherent risks and potential rewards. Risk levels are illustrated in Figure 1 and are described here.
Primary market penetration possesses the lowest risk, requires the least investment of resources, and has the fastest return on investment. Depending on an institution’s primary market, this domain also may produce only modest new enrollments. Option two, mounting new programs in an institution’s existing primary market has risks associated with conducting the proper market research to determine student and industry demand as well as market saturation. Another common risk relates to the degree to which new program offerings are adequately promoted. An obvious upside to this domain is that the institution already has visibility in the market. Takingthecurrent program array to a new marketrequires the time and resources to develop a presence where none has previously existed. Sending recruiters to a new territory once or twice a year is woefully insufficient. Creating such visibility requires a sustained physical presence with area recruiters or alumni volunteers, targeted advertising, networking with schools and other organizations in the region, and strategic partnerships. Finally, diversification carries with it the highest level of risk because it involves assuming all the risks of launching new programs in a market with no prior visibility. If executed effectively, however, this domain can generate an abundance of new students.
5. Disruption always comes at a cost. It is true that your institution may create a disruption by leveraging existing technologies and human capital. Yet, no organization can avoid the cultural and real costs associated with unlearning old ways, creating new programs and business models, scaling innovations, or marketing a new approach. These costs must be weighed judiciously against potential benefits of such a paradigm shift. Once a decision is made to pull the trigger, the change process must be managed carefully with the upfront inclusion of key stakeholders.
6. Equate disruption with innovation, not extinction. The rise of educational disruptors can be unsettling. If disruption is simply perceived as a threat to the way of life in the academy or ignored, the results will be devastating for many higher education institutions. Conversely, if disruption pushes college leaders and enrollment managers out of their comfort zone and they reinvent their institutions, the educational experience of students will be greatly enhanced. In a time of creative destruction, the winners are those who exert extraordinary efforts to go beyond traditional norms, which is not always the early adopters of a new educational model or practice.
7. Successful disruptors pursue four disciplines simultaneously. The four disciplines translated into the higher education lexicon include low costs, relational connections with students, program innovations, and rapid time-to-market. Of these, student connections is the only discipline college and universities excel at consistently. To thrive in a future with a seemingly infinite number of nimble disruptive innovators, educators must compete in the other three disciplines as well.
There are only 11 education-focused firms listed on the U.S. stock market with a market cap of over $1 billion. While the market is small and fractured today, GSV Capital estimates that education will grow from 9 percent to 12 percent of America’s GDP over the next decade. This equates to a trillion-dollar opportunity.
FarFaria: FarFaria is a literacy tool that offers families a vast library of books that are perfect for story time. Parents can go through the books with their son or daughter, or children can have the books read to them by the app.
Tinybop: Tinybop creates iOS apps that engage children and promote curiosity in kids. Their apps break down complex subjects (like geology and anatomy) into engaging apps that are filled with stunning illustrations.
Vroom: Vroom is a new app that pushes helpful tips to parents on how to turn everyday moments in life into brain-building opportunities. Vroom sends parents actionable tips and strategies that are age-appropriate for their child.
Tinkergarten: Tinkergarten helps kids develop and grow through outdoor-play-based learning and activities. They have a technology-enabled, distributed workforce that allows them to expand their classes across the United States.
Trend: One of the major developments in primary and secondary education is the focus on personalization. Students get pushed material that meets them where they are, when they need it. Classes can now adapt to a learner’s needs and provide them with the skills, the instruction and the resources they need to master concepts.
AltSchool: AltSchool was started in 2013 and is rethinking the way school works. Their technology platform enables teachers to create weekly “learning playlists” for each student. They’ve done away with formal classes and focus on group projects and individualized instruction.
CK-12: The CK-12 Foundation serves tens of thousands of schools and millions of students by providing free customizable learning tools and content. Students can use their interactive simulations and adaptive problem sets and teachers can customize their flexbooks.
DreamBox: DreamBox powers more than 5 million math lessons every week through their adaptive K-8 math platform. The platform continually assesses a student’s strengths and weaknesses to close gaps and meet students with the right material at the right time.
Trinket: Trinket lets teachers and students write, run and share code from any device. Trinkets can be easily adapted to the classroom and shared with students to run real-time coding challenges.
College is expensive in America; the average cost is more than $20,000 a year for a four-year degree. At least 65 percent of the 55 million new jobs forecasted for the next decade will require a formal post-secondary credential.
In 2015, only 50 percent of college graduates were working in the field they studied, and more than one-third indicated they would have chosen a different major. Nearly 40 percent of college graduates believed their school did not prepare them well for employment.
Students are going to university because it is “the right thing to do,” often without a thought to the ROI on their education or the work opportunities after school. Only 19 percent of full-time college students graduate in four years, which dramatically increases the cost of their degree.
Trend: Online platforms are being leveraged at universities to help drive down the cost of a degree and increase access to programs. Big data platforms are being used to identify students in danger of failing and provide targeted assistance to help them graduate on time.
Rafter: Rafter is redesigning textbooks at universities by repackaging course materials. They’ve helped almost 3 million students save more than $700 million on textbooks.
2U: 2U offers schools as a service by providing universities with a platform to create online degree programs. They have more than 500 faculty, 1,000 course sections and 1,600 hours of live instruction per week.
Trends: The two largest sectors for investment are skill training (primarily coding and digital literacy) and English language learning.
Degreed: Degreed provides a personal knowledge portfolio that stays with learners. They’ve cataloged 250,000+ online learning courses and 3 million-plus informal learning activities. They also help large companies understand the talent and skills within their organization.
Duolingo: Duolingo is a gamified language learning app that has more than 100 million users. They offer free instruction and are helping non-native English speakers certify their skills with affordable online testing.
Pathgather: Pathgather is an enterprise LMS that motivates employees to learn and connect around professional development.
iTutorGroup: iTutorGroup is a Chinese-based English language platform that began by offering English language training to corporate executives and has expanded to offer online courses for children and younger learners. They recently raised a Series C valuing them at more than $1 billion.
One Month: One Month offers technical-skills crash courses designed to give learners functional skills in 15 minutes a day for one month. Since starting, they’ve helped more than 25,000 students develop foundational technical skills.
altMBA: altMBA is an intensive, four-week online workshop designed by Seth Godin for high-performing individuals who want to level up and lead. They are rethinking the structure of learning online and have seen a 98 percent completion rate for their program.