Published On: August 15, 2016By
Need an association LMS buying guide to help select the right learning system for your organization? Here's guidance from the independent 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 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.

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 for best Association LMS in 2015.

(EDITOR’S UPDATE: If you’d like to see more recent LMS awards lists, check out who won top honors from us in 2016 and 2017 and 2019, too!)

•  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:

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Thanks for reading!

Feature image credit: Sanja Gjenero via


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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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