Surefire signs you’ve outgrown your LMS platform (and what to do next)



Read time
9 mins


Without pop-up notifications to remind you to upgrade your learning management system (LMS) platform, it can be easy to assume your existing software is still meeting the needs of your organisation and stakeholders. To ensure your learning technology is working as hard as your people are, consider these five indicators to be your guidelines for knowing you’ve outgrown your LMS

Take a minute to think of your favourite brand; it could be any size, old or new, selling any product or service. What makes that brand stand out for you? The chances are you favour it because you enjoy it, and it satisfies your needs. All the best brands have an in-built ‘continuous improvement’ model that keeps them accountable for moving their offering forward, in line with evolving user needs. A quick comparison between the original Apple Macintosh and the modern-day MacBook is a great example.

Your LMS is no different: it needs to grow with your business. But what yardstick can your organisation use to understand how well your LMS is serving you? Without a dedicated team continually assessing the performance of your LMS, regular analysis can quickly be forgotten. We’ve compiled the five most practical indicators of LMS software suitability, which you can use to analyse how well your tech stacks up.

Sign 1: Low engagement rates

Sign 2: Unreliable data

Sign 3: Limited configurability

Sign 4: Restrictive integrations

Sign 5: There’s a gap

Five key indicators your LMS learning platform needs an upgrade

Sign 1: Low engagement rates

Are your employees regularly logging in, exploring content, and making full use of your learning management software?

If you’re seeing a typically low engagement rate, perhaps this could be from a lack of non-mandatory training opportunities. If you’re only pushing out compliance training and not allowing your employees to self-lead and discover topics they might enjoy, you’ll notice a decline in engagement (and, likely, a decline in eagerness to upskill, too).

Accessibility is another common barrier to success. Is your LMS easily accessible and user-friendly? Poor user experiences and learning journeys can stifle engagement rates, so make sure your LMS is functional and easy to navigate, and that all content displays properly.

Also, consider the digital learning content itself: is it engaging, up-to-date, easy to follow, and relevant? Outdated content runs the risk of delivering incorrect information to your staff at worst, and wasting their time (and your resources) at best. Consider an off-the-shelf learning content provider to help keep your content library up to date and brimming with the best topics.

How can Ciphr LMS help increase employee engagement?

The best techniques to increase engagement with your corporate e learning platform are based on the same principles for creating a learning culture. Provide training in a way that people want to engage with, expand the learning opportunities to include more than simply compliance training, and focus on improving the eLearning experience. In reality, this can mean subtle changes including a shift to alternative eLearning content types, bringing training to life with eLearning gamification, and helping to manage training alongside busy schedules by offering microlearning. These adaptations can help your create a learning environment that employees truly want to engage with.

Key takeaway: low engagement rates indicate that your LMS is not fit for purpose, and will likely have a low return on investment (ROI)

Sign 2: Unreliable data

Does your reporting and analytics functionality provide you with meaningful insights into learning activity and compliance stats? And is the data easy to interpret?

Many organisations choose an LMS to help maintain compliance levels and deliver mandatory training. Without access to the right data, how can your LMS help you achieve this?

If you’re considering taking your learning to the next level by offering voluntary training opportunities, you’ll need to show user data to demonstrate ROI; again, this is impossible without the right set of reports.

Without access to data on learning activities, L&D teams will also not be able to use this information to shape their learning strategies.

Download Ciphr’s LMS ROI calculator template >

How can Ciphr LMS offer improved data?

To improve your LMS data, your organisation should first understand the metrics that matter the most. Next, does your LMS provide you with access to those statistics, either through reporting or custom dashboards?

Your platform should offer a suite of reports to extract relevant data, which can differ from business to business. Configurable dashboards allow you to create an easy-to-understand, top-level overview of your key statistics, which can change over time, while standardised reports offer a great starting point for organisations that are testing the waters to determine their key metrics.

Key takeaway: your LMS should provide access to data that is meaningful to your organisation, in an easy-to-understand format (ie more than just a basic Excel sheet export) 

Sign 3: Limited configurability

Can you customise and configure your learning platform to align with your business (or L&D) needs and goals?

You should be able to easily configure layouts, showcase your branding through logos and colours, and build custom dashboards that monitor the goals and metrics you’re working towards.

Access levels should also be configurable to allow different users with specific permissions to gain entry to relevant functionalities and datasets – for instance, managers would have a different level of permissions compared to the L&D team. These permissions should be easy to manage without specialist development.

Perhaps most importantly, how is your LMS platform configured to align with data retention policies? Your LMS must allow you to easily and accurately retain data in line with GDPR principles.

If your LMS requires specialist development to make even a minor amendment, it’s simply not going to be able to keep pace with the changing needs of your business and your employees. Think of how much time and money you’ll need to invest, simply to create a functional system.

What does a good LMS look like?

A good LMS looks the way you want it to look, and can evolve with your brand as it grows; this will look different for every organisation. Some businesses will want complex dashboards with multiple datasets, while others prefer a minimalist layout with only one or two key metrics. Some organisations will want to showcase a bold, bright colour palette while others enjoy neutral tones. A good LMS reflects your brand through the ability to customise the look and feel, while providing the data and reporting functionality your leadership teams need.

Key takeaway: your LMS should have an acceptable level of customisation and configurability that you can look after in house

Sign 4: Restrictive integrations

Can your LMS integrate with your critical software and systems? The most successful organisations understand the importance of linking learning management platforms and other key software. For example, the ability to integrate your LMS with your HR software will provide a holistic view of the entire employee lifecycle, from employee onboarding through to upskilling. You can also enhance your blended learning offering by integrating your LMS with popular communications platforms.

Basic integrations: what does a good LMS have?

Your LMS should integrate with key communications platforms including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Adobe Connect if you aim to introduce blended learning at any stage. An integrated HR and LMS is a non-negotiable, especially for larger (and growing) organisations.

Key takeaway: simply put, if your LMS can’t integrate with key HR software and popular communications tools, it may be time to consider switching to one that can

Sign 5: There’s a gap

If your organisation, like many others, is facing the growing challenge of skills gaps and talent retention, your sign to upgrade may lie within your inability to simply identify those skills gaps, and, even more importantly, easily serve up training that can help learners fill these gaps. Can your LMS help you to do this?

skills gap analysis tool will enable you to identify and address the most important skills and knowledge gaps within your organisation. Not only will this help with succession planning, but it can help your business retain top talent by prioritising learning and development opportunities that really matter – like management training, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training, and mental health eLearning.


How can Ciphr LMS help me conduct skills gap analysis?

You will need to use a competency framework as the foundation of your skills gap analysis. Your LMS’s skills gap analysis functionality can help to highlight the areas your employees need to upskill in, indicate where their strongest talents lie (and how best to use them), and can also help you identify and create a development plan for your future leaders, while supporting every employee to deliver the best work possible.


Key takeaway: your LMS should be able to help you identify skills gaps to enable talent retention in a competitive labour market

Take your LMS training platform to the next level

The telltale signs you’ve outgrown your LMS aren’t always obvious, and they definitely aren’t static. The important thing to remember is that as your organisation grows, so too will your LMS platform needs.

You might find yourself completely satisfied with an LXP one day, and needing a robust LMS the next. Similarly, you might find yourself in need of a scalable LMS as your headcount grows, or searching for a learning platform with gamification elements to cater to the preferences of your workers.

Whatever your needs, Ciphr LMS offers a scalable solution for enterprise learning. Download our brochure to explore our award-winning platform, or request a demo to see it in action. We’re ready to take your workplace learning to the next level – are you?


This article was first published on – a Ciphr company.