We work with a variety of LMS providers and are experts at selecting, customizing and managing high-performing learning management systems. From bid selection and system implementation, to learner support and developing an LMS launch strategy, we remove the hassle and challenges of an LMS so that you can focus on all the benefits they bring your sales channel. While these thirteen considerations will help you get started in your search for the perfect LMS, let us know if we can help!
- Determine your learning and development objectives.
Before you even begin to explore your LMS options, you should have a clear sense of what it is you hope to achieve when utilizing that LMS. Consider what benefits the LMS must deliver in order to be considered a success. This will allow you to choose the LMS that will meet your learning and development needs, as well as the needs of your audience.
- Choose an LMS that is compatible with the content you want to provide learners.
Depending on what you plan to teach learners and how you want to deliver it, you may need specific functionality. For example, will learners need to upload assignments, register for in-person courses, process payments, share comments, complete scored quizzes, download content for offline viewing, etc.? Taking these requirements into account will help you to quickly narrow down your options.
- Consider the ease of integration.
When choosing an LMS, you will want to evaluate how the new platform will integrate with your current technologies or software. Are you looking to implement a single sign-on (SSO) or SAML integration? What about linking your LMS to your partner or dealer extranet, or to social media like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? Be certain to ask for the costs associated with making connections between platforms before making a decision, as these costs can really add up in some cases.
- Compile a list of must-have features and functions.
With the wide variety of LMS features that are available today, it can be challenging to narrow down your list of must-haves for your new LMS. However, having a clearly defined set of features and functionality that your LMS absolutely must have will help you select a platform that offers a good return on investment. Similar to compiling a list of must-haves, don’t be afraid to tick off unwanted or unnecessary features. More features can often mean more expense, as well as more complexity. Be certain you can and will use the bells and whistles before you agree to pay for them.
- Be realistic about your budget.
Consider the pricing and licensing structure of the LMS. Pricing structures vary from platform to platform, so make sure you understand the pricing structure and how you’ll be charged. For example, the LMS may charge for amount of content, features, number of learners, etc. The best way to identify hidden or extra charges that will be incurred when exceeding the limit, as well as the cancellation policy, is to request a written proposal and contract before making your final LMS selection.
- Review the experience and background of the LMS providers.
During the selection process, ask the LMS providers about their experience with customers who have similar needs to yours, the age of platform, their commitment and process for ongoing platform improvements, number of full-time programmers, uptime statistics, security protocol and data protection policies and ask for three customer referrals that you can speak with directly. In addition, it’s always a good idea to look online to see if there are any reviews or ratings for the LMS and company to learn what actual users say about the LMS and company.
- Ask for a live demonstration or a trial period.
Don’t hesitate to ask the LMS vendor for a live demonstration, or even a trial period, that will allow you to see the LMS in action. Through a live demo, you will be able to determine if the features and functionality align with your learning and development needs and wants, and whether or not the usability and scalability is what you are looking for. Remember, an LMS is probably going to be a significant and long-term investment for your company, so it’s always wise to give it a test drive beforehand.
- Consider the support services offered with the LMS.
Does the company offer round-the-clock support? Are they going to be able to troubleshoot problems that you may encounter with the LMS in the future? If you are moving from another LMS, what is the process, and what support do they provide? Ask the LMS vendor about the migration and support services–and associated costs–that come with your LMS package to ensure that you have affordable access to the help you and your learners will need to make the most of your new LMS.
- Think about how learners will access the LMS.
Does your LMS need to be mobile friendly? If your audience is on their phone or needs access to courses on the go, you may need to consider an LMS with mobile capabilities. Will learners have access to Wi-Fi all the time? If not, maybe an LMS that facilitates the download of courses for offline training will be important to your learners.
- Consider the tracking and reporting capabilities of the LMS.
While the development and design capabilities of your LMS are important, you won’t be able to document the success of your learners or quantify the value of your eLearning program without appropriate tracking and reporting features. Ideally, you’ll want an LMS that offers your learners data tracking, so that you can gauge the amount of time learners spend on a particular lesson or the number of attempts made for passing the quiz, as examples. In addition, you’ll want an LMS that supports Tin Can and SCORM, the two most popular content standards.
- Adaptability and maintenance are key to ensure the future success of an LMS.
An LMS may meet all of your requirements in regards to features and tech specifications, but you will also have to think about your long-term strategy when making a decision. Is the LMS regularly updated? Will it be able to adapt to the future needs of your organization? Is the LMS provider committed to being on the forefront of new technologies? Switching LMS platforms can be a monumental task, so assessing if the LMS will suit your company’s learning and development goals in the future is an important step in selecting the right platform.
- Choose an LMS that is secure and reliable.
Assuring content confidentiality and protecting learners’ personal data is your responsibility while representing your organization. It is your right to know what encryption and security protocols are being used. Reliability of the LMS can be judged by understanding its downtime, disaster management and contingency plans. Your LMS should not ditch your users in the middle of a crucial learning point. Users lose focus and patience if the system goes down frequently. Moreover, they cannot afford to lose their work due to the system’s technical issues.
- Your LMS should grow with you, your learners and your company.
Speaking of ensuring the future success of an LMS, check to see how often the LMS is upgraded, how active the community is and what actual customers have to say about the platform. Frequent upgrades are a sign of development and keeping up with the pace of the technological evolution. Try to understand the current version of the LMS and its ability to accommodate future changes, process and time consumption for setting up new versions, backward compatibility and additional cost for extending the functionality in future.
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