Published On: August 7, 2019By
Association LMS buyers guide 2019 - a collection of free resources from independent learning tech analyst, John Leh

August is here – and not a moment too soon! Most of us look forward to this month as an opportunity to take a break from work. These dog days of summer invite us to relax and recharge before we jump into back-to-school activities and the fall business rush. But association executives look forward to August for a very different reason. This is when thousands of leaders come together for the ASAE Annual Meeting. The conference is a great chance to reconnect with colleagues, discuss industry trends and pursue top-notch professional development.

How Learning Tech Buyers Can Prepare for ASAE

ASAE is also the place to be if you’re interested in new association learning technology. Each year, the variety of tools displayed in the vendor expo grows deeper and more expansive.

But with so many options, how can you select the right solution for your continuing education programs? And what’s the smartest way to narrow your focus?

The software selection journey is hard to navigate alone. So why not take an independent learning systems advisor along for the ride? I won’t be on-site at ASAE to walk the exhibit floor with you. But here’s the next best thing…

Inside the “Association LMS Buyers Companion”

Below is a special collection of free online resources to help you choose tools that will move your organization’s learning agenda forward:

  • PODCASTS – “Hot topic” interviews with association practitioners and innovators on The Talented Learning Show
  • BLOG POSTS – Independent advice, straight from our analysts
  • WEBINARS – In-depth sessions featuring association community pace-setters
  • WHITEPAPERS – Hype-free insights you can download anytime
  • AWARDS – Our choices for the Top 25 Continuing Education Systems in 2019

We hope this guide is helpful, whether you attend the ASAE conference or not. Also, if you’d like more direct guidance, feel free to contact me for a free initial phone consultation.



Read highlights and listen to complete 30-minute interviews from The Talented Learning Show:

1) How are associations transforming certification?
Modern Certification Programs – With Arleen Thomas of AICPA

2) How can you build a great online destination for learning?
Launching a Learning Portal – With DirectEmployers Association

3) How do nonprofits engage and educate extended members and volunteers?
Managing Nonprofit Member Education at the Land Trust Alliance

4) How does social learning improve infant healthcare?
Collaborative Medical Education at Vermont Oxford Network

5) How are associations driving new training revenues?
Association LMS Trends – With Linda Bowers of WBT Systems

6) What’s the best way to choose association software?
Selecting Association Software – With Chad Stewart of SmartThoughts

7) How are associations preparing for the future?
Top Association Technology Trends – With Tamer Ali of Community Brands


Independent advice from our analyst team:

1) Association learning systems: Why invest in a specialized LMS?
How can you provide more valuable education to more people – and charge more for it – so you can expand your organization’s reach? Here’s how the right LMS supports that strategy…

2) How do associations drive lifelong learning? It depends
Associations everywhere strive to attract and retain members through lifelong learning experiences. But there are many ways to achieve this goal…

3) What’s the recipe for continuing education LMS success?
Today’s continuing education market is sweet. But success requires all the right ingredients – including essential LMS functionality…

4) How can you enhance conference learning with online video?
The popularity of online video is undeniable. But are you making the most of video strategies to improve conference learning experiences…?

5) Learning events: How can you level up your content programming?
Associations everywhere offer continuing education. But how can smart content programming differentiate your learning events? Try these expert tips…

6) Innovative LMS features: What’s real and what’s hype?
Wonder if your organization is missing out on innovative learning platform features? Maybe it’s time for a hype-factor reality check…

7) Association LMS e-commerce: How can you lift online learning sales?
How do member-based organizations succeed at selling online learning? Find out why it pays to rely on specialized e-commerce solutions…

8) Social learning for associations: What should you expect in a modern LMS?
Which social learning functionality do member-based organizations value most? For stronger collaboration and knowledge sharing, consider these features…

9) Should your association move to a new LMS for continuing education?
No association can afford to manage continuing education with a non-profit mentality. But is upgrading to a new association LMS your best bet?

10) How does LMS selection work? This association case reveals all
There are nearly 1000 viable learning systems today. How do you pick the best one for your organization’s needs? This real-world LMS selection case offers lessons for both buyers and sellers…


1) What’s hot (or not) in association learning tech?
Featuring Michelle Brien, VP Marketing, WBT Systems

2) How do associations build successful online programs?
Roundtable with Joe McLatchie, Sr. Manager AICPA,
Seewan Eng, Sr. Director of Technology, New Teacher Center,
Edward Daciuk, Principal Learning Strategist, ExtensionEngine

3) How can you rise above continuing education barriers?
Roundtable with Katie Hill, Associate Director at the DIA,
Dave Kestenbaum, Director of eRating Certification, University of Vermont,
Tamer Ali, SVP at Community Brands

4) How can you take your online events to the next level?
Roundtable with Katie Grier Sr. eLearning and Data Analyst at NCACPA,
Nora Murphy, Online Learning Manager at PRIM&R,
Jessica Lane, Director of Client Success at Freestone LMS

5) What are best practices in managing complex CEUs?
Featuring Bill Snowden, CTO, eLogic Learning

6) How should you pick an association LMS?
Featuring Linda Bowers, CTO, WBT Systems

7) How are associations bridging the learning analytics gap?
Featuring Tamer Ali, Co-Founder of Authentic Learning Labs


Download insights from our analysts – free when you register at the Talented Learning Center:

1) Understanding Complex CE Trends and Technology

2) Visualizing Learning Impact: How Can Analytics Connect the Dots?


Which association learning systems stand out from the rest? Read about our top 25 choices and learn why we recommend the solutions listed below. See the full 2019 awards analysis here:
Talented Learning LMS Awards – Continuing Education Systems


Blue Sky eLearn
Community Brands Crowd Wisdom
Community Brands Freestone
Digitec Interactive

Higher Logic
Thought Industries
WBT Systems
Web Courseworks


eLogic Learning
Holmes Corporation



LMS Selection Step-by-Step

With hundreds of learning systems available today, finding the right LMS for your unique extended enterprise needs can be tricky. But with so much at stake for, it’s worth the extra effort.

What exactly should you do to choose the best solution?

Walk step-by-step through a real-world example with John Leh, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning. You’ll learn:

  • How to develop a relevant business case and success metrics
  • Methods for researching and defining use cases and requirements
  • When to issue an RFP (or not)
  • Tips for creating a viable LMS shortlist
  • How to make the most of vendor demos and proof-of-concept projects



Still confused about which LMS is best for your association’s needs? I’m here to help. Feel free to contact me anytime to schedule a preliminary phone consultation:

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About the Author: John Leh

John Leh is CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning and the Talented Learning Center. John is a fiercely independent consultant, blogger, podcaster, speaker and educator who helps organizations select and implement learning technology strategies, primarily for extended enterprise applications. His advice is based upon more than 25+years of learning-tech industry experience, serving as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to hundreds of learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $100+ million and growing. John would love to connect with you on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

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