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E-Learning Authoring Tools: Desktop vs Cloud

eLearning - Authoring Tools

You’ve made the decision to implement an LMS for your business. Well, you’re not alone. Over 50% of businesses around the globe are exploring the same exact need for their company.

As you probably know, LMS’ are a very powerful and reliable way to teach core competencies, develop talent, discover blind spots in traditional training and to help groom the next generation of leaders within your business while increasing employee retention, productivity and profit.

So, before you select an LMS Software for your elearning needs, first and foremost you need to determine whether it is the self-hosted solution you want to opt for or cloud-based elearning system.

There are specific differences between the two tools which will affect how the content is consumed, where it is consumed and how large of an investment will be required by a business to develop, implement and maintain its elearning software.

A desktop LMS will take up space on company servers and may restrict where and when the services can be used.

Desktop LMS Software will also require the attention of a programmer before, during and after install to make certain that the latest updates are in place and that any potential compatibility issues are addressed so that the material to be learned is not damaged, lost or unusable. One of the other consideration for a self-hosted/desktop LMS software is how efficiently will the system scale.

In today’s economy, even the small business are colocating across states and continents. Hence, having the wrong LMS program in place will not help you sustain and grow your business, in fact, it could impact the employee retention rate. Executives who experience difficulties in the onboarding process may continue to explore greener pastures.

The seeming advantages of a cloud-based elearning solution are able to universally diffuse any of the limitations presented by desktop software because it is specifically created with the users in mind, not a programmer.

Here are some of the perks of a cloud LMS:

  1. With your data is stored in the cloud, you are not taking up any storage on the company servers.
  2. The advantage of using cloud-based LMS Software is that it will auto-update to the latest version that can be viewed, used and managed on any system.
  3. Cloud-based LMS Software helps you avoid spending money on additional server space.
  4. You don’t need to hire or redirect the attention of an individual or team to manage and maintain the desktop software or server.
  5. Cloud-based LMS’ are usually easier to operate simply because they have been built with the end user in mind so you avoid the “geek speak” that may be present when you load, setup and program desktop LMS Software.
  6. A cloud-based LMS Software solution will aid in and help facilitate collaborative efforts for both the business offering instruction and the employee who is learning the material.For example, if you have a team of high-level members or even consultants developing the training for your business, instead of all these parties being involved in the same place at the same time a cloud-based LMS allows team members to contribute anytime, anywhere as per their convenience. All they need is a working Internet connection.
  7. Certain aspects of any training will go unchanged for years but we all know that the only thing constant is change. So when you do have to update a training with new information, change a reference or an element in a cloud-based elearning tool is much easier to edit and usually done in few minutes.
  8. Elearning program got to look great. And with a cloud-based elearning program, building the most aesthetically pleasing elearning training program is well within grasp thanks to so many simple, elegant, drag and drop designs available for use.
  9. What about security? If any of the information you gather or share is sensitive, security becomes a priority. Just like any other server, there are people who work very hard to extract anything and everything they can think of regardless of if it is proprietary data, bank information or trade secrets.
  10. The final big question for you is how important is it that your LMS Software works well with other programs?
    Obviously, HR will be using this information to evaluate some of the growth and competency of an employee but will it need to be deconstructed in another system? If so, most cloud-based LMS tools support integration with CRM, CMS, email marketing tool, HR software etc.


There are unique situations where a self-hosted/desktop LMS software option may appear to be a better option for enterprises but again, those situations are usually rare. When it comes to scalability, flexibility, safety, security, access limitations are concerned, it can be handled only by an LMS elearning tool.

The process can be discouraging and at some points even daunting. Don’t be afraid to ask questions from the LMS vendor you select. Share your situation and perhaps they will have even better insights and suggestions

Author Bio:

Jason Grills is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. With hands-on experience in working with ProProfs learning management system and other eLearning authoring tools, Jason has an exclusive insight into the eLearning industry.

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