October 13, 2016

8 Common Complaints About Learning Management Systems  

Written by
Amber Rasmussen

Your business’s learning management system (LMS) needs to be flexible, accommodating, and tied to specific goals. In addition to providing important content for users, an LMS should provide broad functionality, analytical tools, and integration with other systems.

ALSO READ: How HR Software Can Improve Performance Management

Far too often, businesses deploy an LMS that is limited — providing some, but not all of the necessary features necessary to maintain performance and delivery.

Maybe you find yourself in this exact situation. You paid for a system and took the time to set it up, but you haven’t seen the results you’d hoped for. Fortunately, you’re not alone when it comes to LMS complaints. Here are eight of the most common:

1. Reporting functionality is inadequate.

LMS users often need to dive deep into the data to pinpoint trends on usage, comprehension, retention and responsiveness. Yet, some products only offer a limited number of canned reports that cannot be modified or enhanced.

How can you improve your e-learning strategy if you lack the visibility to see what’s wrong with it?

2. Rights management is too restrictive.

You need an LMS that will let you designate access controls for sections of the platform or the content within. Many organizations need to provide specific groups or users access to certain sections, but not others. Your user base may even include third-parties who are not part of your active directory system.

Whether it’s entering or editing content, generating reports, or other functionality, you should be able to distribute work.

3. Workflows don’t match up.

Some learning management systems have a standard set of workflows that do not match how business is done within an organization. You need an LMS that can be customized to meet your needs. Before you select an LMS, be sure to map your workflow, and include those maps in your calls for proposals and implementation requirements.

Your LMS should accommodate the workflows already in place at your company — not the other way around.

4. Platform and OS limitations

In today’s learning environment, users work through a number of systems, browsers, and devices. Your LMS should work on all major operating systems, with multiple browsers (and multiple versions), as well as on portable devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets.

To that end, you should strongly consider implementing a cloud-based LMS that offers some kind of web interface.

5. Integration is too difficult.

Your human resources information system (HRIS) and LMS need to integrate seamlessly. That integration will allow to connect each employee’s learning goals with broader talent management initiatives. While, at times, a lack of integration is due to limitations in older HR systems, your LMS should be adaptable to enable a smooth exchange of information between the LMS and your HR systems.

There’s a big difference between plug-and-play integration and tedious, manual manipulation of APIs.

6. Users are confused.

Do your employees find e-learning a logistical and technical burden? Too hard to move through the modules and complete tasks because of poorly designed software? When it comes to navigation, page usage, logic, and functionality, an LMS should be intuitive — meaning easy to learn.

Without a strong focus on usability, your LMS will create a barrier to learning instead of being a tool. The LMS should provide inviting displays, controls that are easy to figure out, and help built-in help functions for those who need it.

7. Poor Security

An LMS worth its salt today is compliant with standard security protocols that meet or exceed the requirements of most internal cybersecurity mandates. An LMS provider should treat security seriously and be highly responsive to any of  your internal requirements.

Does the vendor provide enterprise-grade encryption? Do they show you a service-level agreement with clearly defined data policies? Does the platform comply with regulations for your industry (e.g. HIPAA, SarbOx, PCI DSS)?

8. Slow or no upgrades

The learning management space is dynamic, with an ever-evolving set of functionality, tools, and advancements. It’s important to partner with a provider that embraces change and has a product that can evolve to meet the latest market demands. In the past several years, for example, we’ve seen the growing influence of gamification in e-learning.


Learning is an essential part of most modern workplaces. You need an LMS that is ready to meet the challenges, expectations, and requirements of your industry and company. Choosing an LMS with these qualities is a great way to make sure your team is always growing and improving their skills.

Amber Rasmussen is the Resident Communications Ambassador at ShareKnowledge Inc. Rasmussen brings over 13 years of marketing and communications experience from Fortune 500 companies including Microsoft, Columbia Sportswear, Intel and Nike. ShareKnowledge is a SharePoint LMS for companies seeking to provide online training. 

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