A free LMS. . . Really ..?

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

I did some work for a client recently on their ‘free’ LMS. Yes, it’s free. No licence fee. No support costs. No hosting costs. Absolutely free. Wow.

The work was quite simple. In principle. Run some reports, pivot them, analyse the data and present it back. She needed to know how many staff require mandatory training, how many have completed and were in date, and how many were not. Simple. Done it a million times. Should take a few hours, I’ll be back at the office in time for lunch.


I arrived early with my Smart Card in hand that I needed to get access, along with a password you can’t reset online. Smart? At 10.30am I sat down, reassured that I could do what I was being asked to do. It’ll be a doddle.

I logged into the system, found the report source I needed, set the filters and clicked the button to generate the report.

2 hours later it timed out. Ouch. Oh well, the network must be really busy.

So I reset the filters and re-ran the report. After another 2 hours it timed out. Double Ouch.

At this stage I’m feeling quite deflated so I selected a different report, set the filters and clicked ‘run’.

It worked, after 25 minutes I had a report on screen. I was happier. I say on screen. It filled the entire 2 inch high window, across two thirds of the screen. I couldn’t re-size it. Sigh. Not to be further deflated I hit download to Excel. This will be easy.

And deflate. 90 minutes later it timed out. I clicked to try again. It froze and booted me out.

It was 5.30pm. It was Friday. I went home. My client looked at me and said ‘I know, its rubbish, but it’s all I can have. It’s free from the government. It’s useless.’ (Paraphrased to remove the naughty words!).

I’m going back again this week. I think I’ll take a book. Or download a movie on my iPhone to pass the time between clicks. I can get a movie to stream instantly on a phone, but I can’t get a basic report to run in an LMS. What?

Goes to show, if it’s marketed well, you can polish and give stuff away. Sorry, give an LMS away. Can it be called an LMS if reporting is this hard?

I pride myself on delivering a great service, not good, great. I always deliver to the absolute best of my and my team’s ability. If I were the supplier of this system I’d hang my head in shame and work to provide something better, be honest about the system in question, and if this were all I had to offer close up shop and find another job. What’s the point of an LMS that can’t report? is it really free when it takes so long to complete basic tasks.

Does this remind you of your LMS? If so you better get in touch. You need help. We can help get you on to a system that actually works.

Learning Management. Solved.

Chambury Learning Solutions is a Totara Platinum Partner specialising in Learning Management systems (LMS) and eLearning content development. Get in touch.