Each day, your goal is to make the most of your organization’s resources to provide your learners with the best possible educational experience. Your LMS should work just as hard as you do to produce steadily improving learner outcomes—streamlining the mechanics of online learning so that your students get to spend their time immersed in their activities, not waiting for an answer from tech support. Your LMS should work for you, not the reverse. If you’re finding yourself devoting hours to solving the problems that your LMS “solution” is causing, then it’s time to think about switching to a better LMS.
Your “Ordinary” LMS Can Cause Extraordinary Damage to Your CME Program’s Potential for Success
It might have started with a few questions to tech support that shared a common theme: something just wasn’t right with an activity and learner after learner expressed frustration with their self-help efforts before dropping out. If you’ve lost a number of students, then it is likely that you are racking your brain wondering exactly what went wrong and how you can stop it from happening again. You need clear data—exactly where the problem occurred in the activity for most of your learners, and why the final disconnect—when your learners simply dropped out—happened when it did. Even the most detailed support request from a learner may not provide enough insight to show you how the content (or presentation) of an activity is failing your learners.
A typical LMS will simply give you limited course data, not the insight that you can use to fix the problem. That means that a generic LMS will show you the dates that your students dropped out, and reveal that they may have sent an email to your support desk a few days before. It won’t (as an enterprise-grade LMS such as EthosCE will) allow you to drill down and discover that highly experienced medical professionals and new doctors alike are finding the same three questions on a learner assessment to be poorly written and then dropping out days later.
As a CME director, you can’t afford to be saddled with a basic LMS service that only offers you limited access critical course data—you need the reasons behind learner outcomes, not just the raw facts that you could uncover manually.
Is it Your Program or Do You Need a Better LMS?
Here are three questions to ask as you evaluate your current LMS’ ability to keep up with your program’s changing needs:
Does my LMS allow me to easily pinpoint potential roadblocks in the learning experience before my learners drop out? For example, is it possible to identify struggling students and discover which portion of an activity is impacting their performance on assessments?
Can I easily see cause-and-effect relationships between specific learner behaviors on the LMS and overall educational outcomes in real-time and historically? For example, is it possible to review how long a learner spends on the LMS with a certain activity and compare it with the assessment performances of learners spending more or less time with that same activity during the past month?
Can I easily create a detailed summary of my organization’s progress towards meeting our CME goals this year? For example, is there a data visualization available that shows the overall impact of curriculum changes on learner assessment performances for the past year?
EthosCE Analytics, which comes bundled with the EthosCE LMS, is an enterprise-grade CME analytics suite, allowing you to generate visualizations of pre-set and customized data sets with a click, distilling raw data into insights that show causal relationships and points of symmetry between learner behaviors and outcomes in a single view.
Without the ability to troubleshoot learner issues based on a full data set that will provide historical context, you will only have evidence of unfortunate learner outcomes, without any clues as to why your program isn’t meeting your objectives. You won’t be able to improve outcomes for students who find the material challenging, or correct issues with user experience or the curriculum because you won’t be able to uncover cause and effect patterns in your data.
Spoiler alert: a basic LMS service is not focused on creating an optimal learner experience.
Unlike EthosCE, a limited LMS does not allow CME directors to quickly update curriculum components in response to new learner outcomes data. If your learners are struggling with the presentation of an activity and are sending you support tickets in hopes of finding a solution, you can’t afford to wait until they’re on the cusp of dropping out to solve an LMS usability issue.
LMS usability is a secondary consideration with a basic LMS service. Many LMS platforms are based on a one-size-fits-all model. The LMS will deliver a course and allow you to capture assessment data, but the quality of users’ learning experience is primarily left up to the CME program itself. Not surprisingly, a basic LMS doesn’t provide an intuitive structure for CME directors to customize. If you want to easily add multimedia elements, or update a specific portion of an activity in response to user complaints, you’ll have go the DIY route.
Because there are so many things that can go wrong for learners with a bare-bones CME LMS, you may not become aware of an LMS usability issue until it is too late—when your learners are contacting your helpdesk about an activity that isn’t running smoothly. That compromises the user experience, and by extension hinders learner knowledge retention—pulling learners away from their activities to “fix” usability issues on their own (most often by calling tech support).
If you’re in an unsatisfactory LMS contract, none of the above is news to you. If you were on the fence about leaving before, you’ll be relieved to learn that you have an alternative at the ready. You won’t have to build a better LMS from scratch or spend months attempting to piece together solutions from different online learning services.
Had Enough? Here’s How to End Your Bad Relationship and Switch to a Better LMS
The easiest way to let go of your high-maintenance LMS is to just think of how much it has already cost you. The hours of support calls. The dissatisfied learners. The time and effort spent creating a Self Study that was missing crucial data.
EthosCE offers an all-in-one enterprise solution for CME directors, handling curriculum design, analytics, and data management through a single, user-friendly platform.
Here are just a few of our features:
Advanced Data Reporting
- Review a range of learner behaviors, including LMS usage and learner assessments either by course or program-wide.
- Create customized data visualizations and reports that can be shared instantly or scheduled for delivery
- Compare one learner assessment to another at an aggregate and response-based level.
- View high-level reports to gauge learner feedback.
- Benchmark data.
- Quickly see the completion status for users of each course step.
- View credits earned by user type.
User-Experience Focused Course Design
- Provide feedback to the learner during the assessment, globally, by question, or specific the user’s response.
- Create multimedia questions and easily embed videos.
- Create follow-up assessments that automatically notify learners based on the interval you set, such as a 30-day follow up assessment.
- Easy to use with popular applications like Captivate, Articulate and Adobe Presenter.
- SCORM and Tin Can supported.
EthosCE is the industry leader in CME management, providing an integrated analytics suite with auto-generated data visualizations, and a scalable LMS with a range of curriculum features designed to promote long-term CME success. With over 16 years of experience in the field, EthosCE has helped many associations and universities make the switch to their easy-to-use LMS.
If you’d like to learn more about how EthosCE may be the right LMS for you, feel free to request a 1-on-1 walkthrough with one of our medical CE experts here.