Most discussions of learning management system (LMS) selection tend to run to the features found within offerings that fall into generic, broad categories rather than particular specializations. However, with a thousand LMS products on offer (and that's no exaggeration), there are many products that serve niche purposes. Since it is common for organizations to use more than one LMS, unless you look for the specific niche where your organization requires reports and analytics, you may never find the exact product that will give you what you need.

Where to look

There are several online sites that offer support for LMS searches. Some of these provide filters, such as industry, company size, and other specifications that can greatly reduce your work. Two of these sites that appear to provide the most help are:

The G2 site offers a convenient grid presentation of LMS alternatives that may also reduce your search time.

You can also use the classic Google search to locate niche-specific learning management systems. They exist, you just have to look for them. Start with these suggestions, and then look for industry-specific information elsewhere. Industry, occupation, and professional associations are the obvious sites. In addition, if you do not have a requirement for a SCORM-compliant LMS, look at the learning portals associated with off-the-shelf (OTS) courseware vendors.

Filters: What to look for

Here are some of the niche categories served by a small number of specialty learning management systems. Each of these categories has at least one offering that is designed from the ground up to serve its particular needs. But don't forget to look at what the systems with larger market shares may offer as off-the-shelf features or customization options.

  • Customer training
  • Video learning platforms
  • Safety training
  • Live training
  • Microlearning
  • Performance improvement
  • Regulated industries
  • Franchise training
  • Channel partner training

Have fun with your search! You are probably going to be surprised by the variety of niche categories that you find.