Three Different LMS Alternatives (Part 1): Proprietary LMS

businessman touching a screenAn LMS or learning management system is an important part of your eLearning program. It is the platform by which you will implement your eLearning objectives. You want to be able to make the right selection when it comes to the alternatives that you will use.

When we say learning management system alternatives, we mean the form that it will take. You have three options before you: proprietary, open-source and cloud-based LMS. They all have their own advantages and disadvantages. We will be discussing that in a three part article series and we encourage you to look through all alternatives so you can choose which of them will provide you with the right kind of learning management system that you need.

In the first part, we will be discussing the Proprietary LMS.

This type of learning management system is developed by a third party entity for profit. Although you will be using it for your eLearning needs, you will not have ownership. The developer will maintain ownership and will not let user access the computer code of the software – from the structure to the activity execution. This means it is a closed system that the user will have to accept and adapt into.

Popular examples of these proprietary LMS include Desire2Learn and Blackboard.

The advantages of this learning management system alternative are as follows:

  • You have a reliable system to work with since it is built by professionals for profit. Since they are relying on this for profit, they are motivated to make it efficient and effective.
  • You know that the company behind it works on their reputation and will always strive to be successful in the products that they will be releasing, including the systems that you will use.
  • You will always have the LMS updated because the developer is driven by competition. If they want to retain clients like you, they will ensure that the learning management system is always current.
  • You may be given access to different software systems that you can use – especially when the LMS is being used by a company. Systems for other business operations may be made available for you.
  • You can avail of a packaged deal that includes training and technical support – sometimes even a warranty service.

But just like anything, this alternative naturally has drawbacks. Here are some of them.

  • It can be costly. Since it is done for profit, you can expect that the more sophisticated the system is, the more it will cost you. There are licensing fees and other costs that you need to pay for. And if you become reliant on this LMS, you might find yourself unable to back out in case the company decides to raise their price significantly.
  • It is not personalized. As indicated, you will not own this. That means you cannot change any part of the system to fit your specific needs. You have no choice but to adapt to the upgrades and improvements that the company will choose to implement in the system that you are utilizing. There may be companies that are willing to take on suggestions or recommendations but that will only be applied if it will not have a negative effect  on the other companies that are using the same LMS.
  • It may not be as current as you want it to be. We mentioned this as one of the advantages but only if the company behind the system you are using is highly competitive. If not, then it is will always up to them to decide when they will choose to implement the upgrade available in the market.
  • It may be replaced. Another drawback in a proprietary LMS is the possibility that the company develop and replace the program you are using with one that you cannot implement in your company. This will leave you with the need to look for another company and start all over again.
  • It can be restrictive. The LMS may not improve or grow as fast as you want it to be and that can be quite restrictive for your own eLearning growth. Not only that, the company might implement rules that will limit can control how you will use these programs.

A proprietary LMS is effective but only if it will fit your eLearning requirements.

In the next article, we will be discussing the Open-Source learning management system.

Image courtesy of Kromkrathog for