Why we built a learning management system

Author Image

…even though there are so many to choose from already

Building a custom solution can be more complicated than buying one, at least at the outset. But the origin story of LEAD™ – Fivable’s learning management system – perfectly illustrates a situation when the opposite was true.

Our friend Patrick approached the team a couple of years ago with what seemed like an ordinary, there’s-probably-already-an-app-for-that sort of problem: As a church leader serving other church leaders, he needed a set of tools that would help him

  • train and certify hundreds of volunteers,
  • with disparate roles (teaching, serving in worship, etc.),
  • across multiple locations,
  • on at least an annual basis.

Solutions, solutions everywhere…

Patrick is a savvy shopper, and had been hard at work evaluating off-the-shelf learning management systems – Canvas, Blackboard, and a few lesser-knowns. He discovered that nearly all were:

  • too expensive, charging per user per month, meaning Patrick would have to pay monthly to keep records on folks who are only required to receive a single training session per year
  • too cumbersome, leaving Patrick to do all the customization and instructional content creation himself
  • lacking in features needed by Patrick’s target audiences (like specialized certifications that need to automatically be sent to leadership, not only to the end-user)

The Fivable team suggested that, given his unique set of requirements, Patrick wasn’t going to find a ready-made solution. He agreed.

So we set out to build Patrick a new LMS. We deliberately didn’t pack in every feature under the sun in version 1.0, because we knew the best way to deliver the most effective tool was to build it one right-sized phase at a time.

That approach proved beneficial for testing and improving our system, and for getting usable feedback from Patrick’s team. In two short years we’ve deployed dozens of new features.

We also recognized that Patrick wasn’t alone in his need for an LMS like this, and have seen our user base grow to over 6,000 learners and leaders.

“I looked all over for an LMS that could help me teach and accompany hundreds of ministry volunteers. I chose LEAD because it was the only one that did everything I needed, and it’s made me far more effective in raising up new leaders.” 

Dr. Patrick Donovan,  Director of The Leadership Institute, Diocese of Bridgeport

Like other Fivable products, LEAD™ enjoys continual, incremental improvements, and – most importantly – comes with service as part of the package. Our LEAD™ customers enjoy fully-human support and customized instances of the system to help them serve the people they need to serve.

Free to try (like, ‘no credit card’ free)

There’s no silver bullet for any parish or diocese trying to engage their people in a deeper life of faith. And we know that taking on a system like LEAD™ can challenge them to change their workflows and adopt new habits.

But for those churches ready to address the “Where has everybody gone?” problem of post-pandemic ministry, we’re confident a tool like this is a huge help. (By the way, we’ve also discovered that a lot of those Church-focused features have been game-changing for the way business needs to be done in 2022, so there’s a white-label enterprise offering, too.)

You can sign up for a free trial of LEAD™ (no credit card or signing-your-life-away required) here: