White Label LMS

 

When researching for an LMS many businesses will likely come across the option of a “White Label” offering. The term loosely covers all those internet suppliers of Off-the-Shelf solutions which you brand yourself and come ready populated with a course catalogue. Full hosting is included and most lead their sales pitch by quoting a low monthly cost per learner.

There are many businesses offering this service and, on the surface, they make for a compelling and seductive business case. Quick to deploy, preloaded content and short contract durations appear to offer a useful entry into the LMS market.

So, with all those positives is there a bigger picture you should know about? Are there any short comings, hidden costs or limitations which will become apparent after you have already invested your money and valuable time.

To help you decide if a “white label” LMS is right for you we have listed the most common claims they make. We are not suggesting that any of these statements are untrue but have added some additional comments for you to consider.

white label lms onlineCommon “white label” LMS claims

We offer our package for a little as just £X per month per user. However, you will need to pay for a minimum number of users per month and pay upfront annually. This published price, most cases, only buys you the base level LMS so many of the features you have just read about are not included, unless you upgrade to another higher pricing tier. We estimate that a midsized company who wants to host around 500 learners with the most popular LMS features could have had a supplier build it for them for a similar cost!   

We offer you a readymade prebuilt course catalogue. Yes, most suppliers do but does it include exactly what you need? It is all too easy to be swayed by the quality only to discover later that courses are irrelevant or out of date. Courses provided on these sites are generally harvested from numerous suppliers and therefore may not have similar styling or navigation methods. In most cases these courses are fixed and therefore cannot be tweak or rebranded by you. If you want an alternative version then you’ll need to create it from scratch, if the platform provides this option, or to commission your supplier to build it for you!

You can always add courses to your LMS if you need more. That seems ideal but is it really going to be that straightforward? If you have any existing courses built to modern standards and have access to the full data, then it is entirely possible that these can be imported and will score and report correctly. On the other hand, uploading 3rd party courses can be trickier. Many suppliers of online courses don’t give their course files out to be used on systems they don’t control. Instead, they may provide a type of “connector” link or file as a way of keeping their content protected while allowing others systems to launch and play it. The compatibility of such links or files with the white label system may therefore not be standard.

Your LMS comes supplied with its own course authoring tool. So, this might be useful but how flexible is it? Generally, if software is quick to master then it’s because the features are limited and the results will look “home-made”. If the software is complex, then you have increased options but this is likely to come with a frustrating steep learning curve.

Access your LMS 24/7 and from all devices. Many businesses have internet security measures in place which may well impact on this statement. There is therefore a possibility that your IT department will need to make first, so the process might not be quite so straight forwards. Mobile access from most modern devices will probably be fine although any interruption in connectivity could result in course progress being lost.

An LMS is the perfect addition to any HR department. We agree although white label offerings rarely provide integration into existing HR systems. Therefore, online learning data will need to be extracted and added back into existing systems. Also, this sort of LMS generally won’t allow you to attach other documentation to learner profiles so you can’t host current appraisals or learning plans online.

Online learning provides the perfect training solution. As an online learning provider we applaud this statement, however in truth we still believe that certain topics or aspects of learning are best provided live and/or face to face. That does not necessarily mean tradition classroom-based events but most likely via virtual training provided live. Be aware that few white label offerings integrate this kind of facility.

We are just the developers therefore the code remains yours. If you were confident with software code and LMS hosting then why would you be looking at a white label solution? How would you transfer that code and where would it go? You won’t own the courses that were available on the old site so the code itself will be next to useless.

In summary

“White label” LMS offering have their place and are a popular route to providing training online. However, there could be many limitations and lots of these cannot be overcome by simply upgrading to higher cost spec package from the same supplier. Most importantly, because the LMS community is so coy about publishing their pricing, many white label users could have their own site professionally designed and hosted for around the same annual cost.

At Cortexa we are committed to needing no more than 45 minutes of your time before being able to quote you for your bespoke LMS. We think that is around 3 hours less than it would take you to sign up to a white label offering and then discover it was missing a feature that was vital to your business. Why not test our word.

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