eLearning is on the rise, with more and more people turning to Learning Management Systems to deliver tailored training to students. But although eLearning will double between now and 2022, not everyone is sure what to do about this. Choosing the right service can be difficult with a myriad of options out there.
When it comes to Learning Management Systems, there are two distinct classes of service to consider: A locally-hosted LMS versus a cloud-based one.
The Cloud LMS, aka an “on-demand” service is where the LMS is hosted on the supplier’s servers and provided to you as a service. It needs an internet connection to work, although an offline mode and features may be included.
The Installed LMS, aka an “on-premise” service is a software product which you install yourself on your network and run locally, without needing internet connections or upkeep beyond basic management.
Here are the main distinctions between the two flavours:
An “on-premise” LMS, as the name suggests, can only be accessed through your network. This means that you cannot use it off-site, which may increasingly cause frustrations in our mobile world.
On the other hand, if your internet connection goes down, you’ll not be able to access data on your Cloud LMS, and with some systems you may not be able to edit your own data either. Fortunately, Cloud LMS’s are increasingly offering caching functionality to combat this.
When it comes to a Cloud LMS, you’ll be looking at little or no startup fee, followed by monthly instalments which are usually quite small. You may even be offered a free initial trial. All maintenance on the servers, service updates and improvements are managed by the service provider.
With an Installed LMS you’ll need to buy a copy of the original software package, as well as manage its maintenance on your own network. However, you’ll not incur monthly fees, although there are often service agreements or 3rd party support to ensure the smooth use of the software.
Another key thing to bear in mind when comparing On-premise vs Cloud LMS is about when you’ll need it by. A Cloud LMS is available pretty much instantly, just like any online service. An installed LMS, as the name suggests, needs to be installed on your system and properly calibrated with all your extant hardware and software.
In addition, whenever you want to add a new person or computer to your LMS, with the cloud it is quick and simple, just a matter of signing in, whereas with an installed LMS you could be looking at the same process all over again.
4: Storage space
With an Installed LMS you are relying on your own computers and devices to store data. This means that your data limits can be quite severe, but also that data can end up “trapped” on a device and inaccessible.
With a Cloud LMS your data is stored on a remote, secure server, accessible to anyone with the right security credentials, and backed up in case of emergencies.
When conducting a thorough Learning Management System comparison, you need to ensure your choice it will work for your learning processes. All the fancy features in the world are pretty pointless if the service is unusable to you, your employees, or your students.