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ATD Blog

Your LMS Is a Tool, Not a Toolkit

Monday, September 26, 2022

At Vyond, we see a lot of best-in-class L&D programs amongst our customers, which means we’ve worked with most of the learning management systems (LMSs) on the market today. We’re often asked to share our opinion on the best LMS.

We wrote a guide on what to look for in an LMS. We even shared 10 of our favorite platforms in a recent webinar. But we stop short at picking the best.

Superlatives are fun for yearbooks, but they don’t offer much meaningful information in the nuanced real world. L&D leaders who are looking for the best LMS risk pinning the entire success of their learning program on a tool.

These tools have been made for delivering content and tracking training. More recently, a new category of learning experience platforms (LXPs) has emerged with the additional aim of enhancing learner experience.
LMSs and LXPs serve mission-critical functions of a learning program, but they aren’t going to drive positive business results on their own.

In order to meaningfully engage learners, L&D leaders need to equip themselves with a holistic toolkit—not just a single solution upon which the success of the program hinges. This toolkit must go beyond delivery and tracking to include platforms that drive learner engagement.

In our webinar, we highlighted three key requirements for engaging e-learning:

  • Tooling that is lightweight and scalable
  • Content that is tailored and relevant to the learner’s environment
  • A multimedia mindset

Robust configuration features and comprehensive analytics may be the most important requirement for your organization. But if you don’t have such requirements, don’t let dashboards woo you into overtooling.


An LMS or LXP needs to feel easy to use given your organization’s context. It should be easy for the learner, easy for the course creator, and easy for the administrator. If it doesn’t tick all three of those boxes, it doesn’t matter how effectively the tool measures your learning program. You’ll disengage learners, and you’ll get disappointing results.

When we think about the courses made by some of Vyond’s customers—including 65 percent of the Fortune 500—a few tools stand out for their ease of use: TalentLMS, Litmos, and Totara.

The flexibility of the tool is critical to ensure your training is tailored and relevant. E-learning should reflect the learner’s environment.

Just because your LMS comes with a library of stock videos and white label content doesn’t mean you should use it. An overreliance on generic material will disengage learners by signaling to them that the training is irrelevant, impractical, and wasting their time.


When you couple a highly-customizable LMS (like Adobe Learning Manager or Docebo) with authoring tools (like Vyond and Storyline), you equip yourself with a robust toolkit for delivering engaging and relevant training at scale.

But these tools merely enable relevant learning experiences. Also look for capabilities that will put learners in the driver’s seat. For example, Cornerstone does a great job of supporting self-directed learning. Also, 360Learning unlocks the power of collaborative learning to engage subject matter experts (SMEs) in instructional design.

Lightweight and flexible tooling isn’t enough to create a deeply engaging e-learning experience. You’ll need to adopt a multimedia approach that blends text, imagery, video, and live instruction. Your toolkit needs to support broad, varied media formats.

You can use BenchPrep to create multimedia quiz modals, ON24 to deliver high-quality synchronous webinars, or Near-Life to deliver interactive, gamified, scenario-based training videos.

E-learning professionals must adopt this multimedia mindset and think about their toolkit holistically if they want any hope of engaging learners. Remember: Your LMS is just one tool in that toolkit.

About the Author

Kevin Doherty is a marketer and storyteller for Vyond, a cloud-based animation studio that allows anybody to make media that moves. An alumnus of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television, Kevin specializes in bringing powerful entertainment principles into everyday, real-life communication. In addition to marketing, Kevin specializes in learning, customer experience, and agile ways of working.

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