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Association LMS Buying Companion

How can association leaders avoid confusion when evaluating new learning solutions at the ASAE conference — and beyond? LMS analyst John Leh offers guidance

LMS selection guide for association leaders from LMS analysts at Talented Learning

For most of us, August means vacation.  It’s the ideal time to get away and recharge before fall kicks in.  But for association professionals, August brings another kind of opportunity.  It’s when thousands of ASAE members come together to reconnect with colleagues, learn new professional skills, and focus on the future of their respective organizations.

This month, as the ASAE Annual Meeting heats up in Salt Lake City, a spectrum of exciting and innovative technologies will be on display.  Many are designed to help associations educate their members more effectively and to develop an ecommerce training business. Unfortunately however, the possibilities seem limitless.  If you’re an association decision maker, how do you decide which learning technologies are the best fit for your particular needs?  It’s not easy.

So why not make it easier on yourself, and take an LMS analyst along in your hip pocket?  I won’t be onsite this year to walk the exhibit aisles with you, but here’s the next-best thing — I’ve gathered some of my best association LMS advice, and linked to each of those resources below.

I hope this virtual “Association LMS Buyers Companion” helps you before, during and after the ASAE conference.  Let let me know what you discover and if you need any help translating after the show!

Association LMS Buying Companion

1)  Why invest in association learning technology?
5 compelling reasons to make an LMS the foundation of your organization’s education initiatives…

2)  How are associations achieving success with LMS technology?
10 compelling case studies from some of the world’s most innovative associations — including the American Management Association (AMA), Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), the National Education Association (NEA) and more…

3)  What features should you consider in an association LMS?
This on-demand webinar explains the top 10 features association decision makers should evaluate when selecting a learning management system. (Available publicly on YouTube.)

4)  How should you pick an association LMS platform?
Need a step-by-step guide to a successful purchasing process? I’ll walk you through it in this on-demand webinar. (Available immediately when you request access.)

5)  Which association-centered learning management systems are best
(The comments below are adapted from our Talented Learning 2015 LMS Vendor Awards overview.)

The association LMS niche is very unique and innovative.  It is experiencing explosive growth.  With a cloud LMS as its foundation, any association of any size or revenue base can now support learning with sophisticated technology that was once out-of-reach for many low-budget organizations.


WATCH NOW! On-demand webinar with analyst John Leh

Selling accredited educational content to members and managing their other learning activities generates non-dues revenue — which is increasingly important for association success.  Many LMS vendors in this space also serve as event planners for annual association trade shows. These forums are packed with educational sessions that must be coordinated, managed and recorded, so LMS vendors began to develop customized software that fits those particular needs.

Many employee-centered LMS providers have tried to capitalize on association market demand, but with limited success.  This is because the logic and functionality of employee-oriented learning platforms is often a mismatch with association needs.

The best association LMS platforms incorporate secure B2B and B2C ecommerce, globalization and audience segmentation, mobile responsiveness, advanced social learning features, virtual classrooms, webinar and podcasting support, and event management functionality.  Of all LMS categories, association-specific LMS platforms are the most difficult to rank because there are so many strong vendors. But that said, here are our choices from the end of 2015:

•  Best Association LMS
    WBT Systems

•  Runners-Up (a 4-way tie)
    Blue Sky eLearn
    YM Learning (Digital Ignite)

•  Honorable Mentions
    Classroom 24/7
    Digitec Interactive
    Abila (Peach New Media)
    tessello (Brightwave)

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 consultation:

Thanks for reading!

Feature image credit: Sanja Gjenero via


John Leh
About John Leh (131 Articles)
John Leh is CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning, LLC. Named one of the Top 20 Global Elearning Movers and Shakers of 2017, John is a fiercely independent LMS selection consultant and blogger who helps organizations develop and implement technology strategies – primarily for the extended enterprise. John's advice is based on 20 years of industry experience, having served as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to more than 100 learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $65 million. He helps organizations define their business case, identify requirements, short-list vendors, write and manage RFPs and negotiate a great deal. You can connect with John on Twitter at @JohnLeh or on LinkedIn.

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