Custom LMS Vs SaaS LMS - How To Choose The Best LMS In 2020

・9 min read
Custom LMS Vs SaaS LMS - How To Choose The Best LMS In 2020

Technology has revolutionized the world of teaching and learning. Everything that we once knew moved from the physical classroom to a digital one. Students have access to an unlimited number of resources and textbooks straight from their mobile devices, no matter where they are.

Online learning allows collecting data, which can be later used to determine student’s strengths and weaknesses and tailor the approach to learning to specific needs.

In 2019, the global eLearning market was worth $101 billion. By 2026 it is expected to reach over $370 billion. Elearning increased learning retention rates by 25%-60% and it takes approximately 40% to 60% less time to complete a corporate eLearning compared to traditional learning.

Nearly 98% of companies declared to incorporate online learning into their corporate education. Is your business one of them? Are you looking for the right solution? In this post, I will tell you how to choose the best LMS in 2020.

What are SaaS solutions

Elearning offers many benefits to both learners and businesses. Everyone who has ever used it will tell you how convenient it is. It is an efficient and affordable way to train employees. Electronic learning through digital resources provides access to education anytime and anywhere.

Just as a quick reminder, Software as a Service is a software delivery model where software is licensed on a subscription basis. It can be also referred to as ‘software on-demand’. In SaaS, you do not need to host the software, as it is centrally hosted.

For more information about SaaS, go to our post on How To Design A SaaS Application.

Thanks to being cloud-based, SaaS solutions are known for being easily accessible and compatible. Another advantage is the fact that they offer lower costs than traditional software. This is why SaaS software is gaining popularity, also among learning management systems.

What is SaaS LMS?

As we can easily predict, a SaaS learning management system is one that is internet-based. In such a system all the functionalities are hosted in the cloud. Although LMS was intended for eLearning, it can take over analysis, reporting and data collection. Using LMS improves employee training, onboarding and team-building making it more efficient and effective. Some of the best known LMS platforms are: Moodle, TalentLMS, OpenEdx.

Pros and cons of SaaS LMS

Having a SaaS LMS introduces a lot of advantages for your business, however, it also has its drawbacks. Let’s look at them:

1. Cost-effectiveness

Businesses love IT solutions that reduce operational costs. With SaaS as an LMS, the monthly subscription costs are much lower when compared to the initial fee and ongoing maintenance of a standard LMS solution.

2. Cloud-based

Thanks to being hosted on the cloud, a SaaS LMS will not take up space on your servers. Apart from that, it allows flexibility as it can be reached from any place and any device. Cloud solutions are usually more performant, secure and reliable.

3. Up-to-date

Software often gets outdated. In SaaS solutions, those updates are a part of the contract and are performed automatically. It is the provider’s job to resolve issues and carry out updates throughout the entire length of your contract.

4. Easy start

SaaS solutions do not have to be installed on any device, so there is no need for special resources. Choosing a SaaS LMS means instant start and implementation.

Now let’s talk about the disadvantages:

1. Less customization

SaaS LMS have predefined color and features, so they can be quite limiting when it comes to customization. You will need extra resources and money to make changes in such a system.

2. Troubleshooting

Any problems and bugs have to be reported to the LMS provider and therefore solved in their time frames.

What is a custom LMS?

When choosing the best LMS apart from ready-made solutions we can also distinguish so-called custom LMS. Custom Learning Management Systems means the user buys the software and installs it on their server. Such a solution gives you the power to develop and deploy online training to address the specific issues of your company.

Custom LMS allows full customization as far as the look or feel of the LMS goes, as well as extra capabilities, integrations and functionalities.

Pros and cons of a custom LMS

Just like SaaS LMS, custom solutions also have their pros and cons. Let’s look at some of them:

1. Complete customization

Custom LMS, as the name suggests, allows us to fully customize the eLearning solution. You can add extra features and adjust colours, layout etc. What is more, a complete custom LMS can be used without any coding skills.

2. Better functionality

In custom software, you are able to choose specific features and elements to suit your needs. This will make your product more intuitive and more functional.

3. Branding

An in-house developed solution allows you to integrate your own branding the moment you install it. You can perform corporate training for employees reflecting the brand image and increasing credibility.

However, a custom-made eLearning platform is:

1. Time-consuming

Since you are building everything from scratch a custom LMS will definitely require a lot of engagement from your side. Such solutions are also often more expensive as you have to invest in resources like hosting.

2. Scalability issues

You always can upscale your solution by choosing a more scalable web server host, however, any changes will require having a development team on hand.

Which learning management solution is right for your needs?

There is no universal answer to that question as it will depend on variables, for example, time frame, budget and IT capabilities. However, a custom LMS is still the most frequently chosen software, in comparison to its SaaS alternatives.

In Selleo, we believe it is possible to connect parts of the SaaS LMS and custom LMS and we have created many platforms like that. Having a product like that will give you advantages like:

1. Cost-effectiveness

You get an application with pre-defined base features like course creation, authentication, roles or gradients.

2. Customization

First, you will get a working product with base components, which can be later expanded to better suit your needs.

3. Hosting

As your development team, we will handle hosting and deploying your need application. The backend developers will take care of performance issues, reliability and security.

4. Improved functionality

Skilled developers will choose specific elements and features to be added to your system in order to make it intuitive and user-friendly.

5. Branding

The application can be customized with brand colours, logo at the very beginning to increase aesthetics and gain credibility. Good branding is crucial for brand recognition. You can read more about it on our blog How To Build A Branding For Your Mobile App.

6. Fast implementation

A SaaS LMS combined with custom LMS is super fast to implement since it is pre-built. within a few weeks, you will have a fully functional eLearning solution that you can use to train employees.

7. Less time-consuming

Our developers will decrease the waiting time by quickly implementing new functionalities or adjusting the existing ones.

8. Up-to-date

It is important to stay fresh and up-to-date. That is why, your application should be frequently updated with new styles, features etc.

9. Scalability

You are able to upscale or downscale your existing system when necessary and our backend developers will help you do so.

10. Addressing issues

If an issue occurs, our development team is always prepared to solve it.

11. Frontend

Our frontend developers are able to add new functionalities, modify styles and fix bugs within your product. They are experts in what they do. By working with us you

get access to high quality and effective solutions. Our developers are innovative and use the latest technologies.

12. Backend

The backend engineers will help you with hostings, APIs, SSLs and will handle the security matters for you.

13. Graphic team

A fully-functional graphic team will handle the design as well as UX/UI. They are handling this process in 6 easy steps. The most important aspect of the collaboration is mutual understanding combined with extensive market research. Our graphic team creates mockups in order to help you understand the vision, which are later turned into a working application.

14. QA

The QA team will cover functionality tests to increase the usability, reliability and availability of the app. Quality Assurance is an important process that determines whether the service follows a set of requirements. It aims to improve work processes and efficiency while boosting credibility and customer confidence. QA identifies potential flaws and maximizes the quality of the product. At Selleo, we are convinced that QA is a crucial part of any successful project.

If you want to get more information about Quality Assurance, read our post Why Do We Need Quality Assurance Engineers.

A custom-made learning management system will be optimized to your needs in order to create an online training platform perfect for you. Everything can be changed and adapted.

Wrapping up

Choosing the right solution is not an easy task and there are a lot of things that have to be taken into consideration. Like I mentioned above, time and budget will play the biggest role. We believe a custom LMS solution combined with SaaS capabilities will not only be cost-effective and scalable, but also fast to implement, constantly up-to-date and best suited for your requirements.

If you would like to build a custom learning management platform, contact our fully-fledged team of developers to schedule a call.

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