04 February 2022

Jonny McAlister

Head of Sales & Marketing

Are the days of the customisable LMS numbered in the age of powerful, configurable online learning platforms?

A customisable LMS (learning management system) is usually high on the shopping list of any learning and development professional planning improvements to their online learning infrastructure.

That’s understandable: your LMS should deliver the learning experiences you want to deliver. You should have the technology you need to achieve that and not have to bend what you want to achieve to match the technology.

For more than 15 years we have been using our bespoke development skills to make that philosophy a reality for our customers. Our developers continue to write the code needed to deliver the features and functionality needed.

But now more than ever we’re urging our customers to consider less customisation, more configuration. Here’s why…

 

Better online learning platforms

Online learning is far more sophisticated than it was when we first started building learning management systems in 2005. Platforms like Moodle LMS and Totara Learn have gone through sustained periods of development and improvement. While they continue to develop and improve, the current offering is pretty all-encompassing. Unless what you need is completely left-field or very niche, it’s likely that there are multiple ways of achieving the outcomes you want already baked into your LMS.

Whenever possible, we would suggest configuring the range of powerful features and functionality already available for a more cost-effective, longer-lasting solution.

 

Customisation as standard

A considerable amount of customisation has now become part of the standard configuration of an LMS. You can give an LMS your organisation’s look and feel without the expense of all-out customisation. Factor in a smart LMS theme, like Spark, and there are even more configurable options to make sure the site looks and performs exactly as you want it to without going down the route of all-out customisation.

 

Keeping up with the pace of change

The pace of change in learning technology is rapid at the moment. It pays to be as footloose and agile as possible, so you can keep up with the latest advances. Every piece of customisation undertaken on your site is an extra complication when it comes to developing the next iteration of your LMS. By configuring the technology that is included within your learning platform, you’re maximising the chances of future-proofing your site. Which leads us to…

 

Future-proofing your LMS

You’ve bought a new car and driven it home from the showroom. With the car safely parked on your driveway, you set to work swapping the engine to a different make, reprogramming the computer and painting a go-faster stripe down the side. This is all fine: it’s your car and you can do what you want with it. But when you return to the dealership to get the car serviced or the computer software updated, it’s not likely to be a very straightforward process. Your customised car still has the structure of what you bought, but under the bonnet it is something completely different.

It’s a similar story for your LMS. The more customised features you add, the harder it’s going to be to stay aligned with updates and upgrades to the platform in the future.

 

Talk to us about LMS configuration

Maybe you don’t need a customisable LMS after all. You might be surprised to find out how much can be achieved by configuring rather than customising your LMS. Fill out the form below for a chat.

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Samsung Backstage, an LMS for retail staff

This year’s full platform refresh gives our users what they’ve been asking for and more: a significantly upgraded learning experience across web and app, bite-sized learning content that makes learning even more fun and engaging and a points system that rewards them for their investment in the platform. We’re really proud of this work, and we are excited to build on this year’s innovations going forward.

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Retail & Contact Centre Director

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A finance LMS for money transfer giant Western Union.

Sometimes you expect to be able to work with a platform straight out-of-the-box, but there are always quirks when it comes to adapting to your systems. Synergy Learning were instrumental for us in providing the development and consultancy we needed.

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NFRSLearn, an award-winning public sector LMS

We were impressed with the flexibility and the level of consultancy that Synergy Learning was able to provide. They were able to understand our requirements and create a user friendly learning portal for staff, and one that we can amend and be comfortable using without having to go back for minor changes.

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E-Learning Team

Save the Children's LMS, an example of an LMS for charities

Synergy Learning is always really responsive. The team is very approachable and communicative – they reach out to me a lot and stay in contact even when we don’t have ongoing work. Given a short deadline, they are always able to work to really tight timelines. They’re also very flexible when those timelines change.

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Global Learning Technologies Manager

Healthcare LMS for NHS UHB

We would like to thank Synergy Learning for turning this project around so quickly. UHB is one of the largest teaching hospital trusts in England and we are at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19, along with our colleagues across the rest of the UK. We are very proud to be launching this platform in the West Midlands and hope it helps alleviate some of the worries I know many colleagues have.

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