Articles / Docebo LMS Review

My friends at Docebo (pronounced Doch-ay-bo) asked me to review their new “Elearning Platform” from my independent perspective.

My conclusions are:

  • Docebo LMS is an extremely well-designed, user-friendly, cloud-based platform through which to deliver training materials for your organisation or your clients.
  • There are question marks around its suitability for supporting informal learning, and its Tin Can support – although these are on the roadmap for development.
  • If you need to provide a suite of courses for your staff, then Docebo should be on your list to investigate.

The Detail

Docebo LMS is provided as Software As A Service (SAAS) on a shared infrastructure (unless you’re a larger organisation, in which case they can move you to your own infrastructure). Using shared infrastructure means that it is extremely quick to get started, but having the flexibility to migrate to a private infrastructure will meet the needs of larger organisations who require more control.

It provides all the normal features of a Learning Management System:

  • the ability to build courses which comprise materials, such as files, elearning packages, HTML pages and communication tools
  • the ability to place those materials into folders, and have them displayed in a particular order
  • the ability to create randomised tests, and have the results tied to certificates
  • the ability to assign courses to individuals or groups
  • the ability to create learning plans consisting of sets of courses – assigned by group or individual
  • the ability to run reports on the activity taking place in the courses

The major difference between Docebo and most of the other major players is the quality of the user interface. With very few exceptions, the UI is intuitive and modern.

Why another LMS?

In some ways it’s disappointing to see yet another training management system – given the evidence that shows the importance of self-directed, informal and social learning.

Docebo, however, because it’s so well designed, provides an excellent route into the formal, organisationally-directed learning provision that L&D departments shouldn’t ignore.

There is one key area for development that, in my opinion, would make a massive difference to Docebo’s ability to support less formal approaches:

The search engine currently only searches by title and description (and even then only on certain material types). Search is the primary route into learning for most people when they’re away from work. So, any system that states it supports learning, needs to have “search” as a core function, able to dig as deep into the available content as possible.

Tin Can support

The Tin Can API (aka Experience API) is a specification designed to simplify communication between systems. (See: Does Tin Can mean the demise of SCORM? for details)

Version 1.0 was released in April 2013, and any new systems (such as the open-source Learning Record Store: Learning Locker) are encouraged to use this version, rather than the pre-release version 0.9, which is now severely out-of-date, and incompatible with version 1.0.

The Docebo LMS still only supports Tin Can API 0.9 (probably because that’s all that Articulate Storyline supports currently), although I understand that v1.x is currently in development.

More importantly, Docebo only appears to send Tin Can messages when users access a specifically TIn Can-enabled piece of content. Tin Can is designed so that any interaction with a user can be tracked, such as viewing a file or posting a message.

It would be good to see Learning Management Systems actually taking advantage of this aspect of the TIn Can onion, rather than just replaying the existing SCORM model of tracking content. Currently it’s the Content Management Systems which are leading the way in this area (such as WordPress + Grassblade and Liferay + Valamis).

Security and trust

For IT managers, SAAS systems bring great benefits, as they minimise the work required to get a system up and running. However that same IT manager will need to be assured that the SAAS system they’re buying in is secure and robust enough.

Services such as Kashflow and Salesforce exemplify the approach I would look for – providing as much information as possible with which to engender trust.

The Docebo team have put together a technical document, which is a work in progress, which outlines their approach to providing a robust and secure service. This should help to allay any fears about buying into a service like this.

Summary

Docebo already comes with many of the features needed to manage and administer online course delivery – in a very easy-to-use and attractive package. This current platform will provide a good launch point for many organisations – and will, with the roadmap already in place, enable those organisations to develop a modern L&D provision.


Posted: 30 May 2014

Tags: Reviews Supplier selection