10 Factors To Consider For A Learning Management System Needs Analysis

10 Factors To Consider For A Learning Management System Needs Analysis
Summary: Looking for a Learning Management System? This article suggests a Learning Management System needs analysis checklist to be completed before approaching vendors. If you write a thorough shopping list before looking at any platforms, you won’t be influenced as much by features that seem attractive but that you might not actually need.

How To Conduct A Learning Management System Needs Analysis

To conduct a Learning Management System needs analysis, consider the following factors:

1. Analytics

What data do you want the Learning Management System (LMS) to give you on your courses and learners? Just simple number of logins, completion reports and assessment grades, or more advanced analytics?

2. Scalability

Imagine a point when substantial numbers of people are taking your course. Will the LMS scale up to this larger operation, or are there limitations as to how many users can be enrolled or logged on at once?

3. Type Of Learning

Are you going to use blended learning (part classroom, part eLearning)? If so, how are you going to manage and administer the classroom sessions? How will the classroom side blend smoothly with the activities and assessments to be taken online?

4. Flexibility

Is your course suitable to be taken on any device? If so, bear in mind that mobile users have now overtaken desktop/laptop users, so it’s highly likely some will be trying to study on their phone or tablet and you’ll need to find a Learning Management System that works well on any device. Does the main learning site have responsive design so that it displays properly on different-sized screens? Is there an Android or iOS app that has full or near-full LMS functionality? Which browsers are supported?

5. Assessments

How do you plan to assess and grade your learners? Multiple-choice answers, essays, simulations? Plan this in detail so you can find a Learning Management System that caters for the assessment formats you want to use.

6. Enrollment

How will learners register for the courses and be enrolled? Automatically, manually, or after some interaction with a tutor or yourself, e.g. a pre-test or welcome email or phone call? Think carefully about setting up your sales pipeline and put yourself in the shoes of a customer. How will the ideal sales and enrollment flow work? Draw a flowchart and show it to LMS vendors so you can ask them if their LMS will support it.

7. Purchase

What payment methods will customers be able to use? Some systems have basic eCommerce built in – check which payment gateways they support. If you have multiple courses, do you want to sell them in course bundles or just one at a time? Look to the future – do you plan to add more courses and group them together to be sold in a single purchase?

Will you be offering coupons to enable people to buy your courses at a discounted rate? Does the LMS or eCommerce system allow this? Are there any organisations or companies you could offer a special membership discount to? In the future perhaps there might be. Check the LMS supports member database integrations for automatic discounts.

How will a customer be able to purchase a batch of seats on a course and then allocate those seats to individual learners? Is this something you will need?

Do you want a catalog of your courses on the LMS from which customers can select and buy courses, or should the catalog and shopping cart be external to the LMS, e.g. on your own website? You can have both, but think about how people are going to find your courses.

8. Certifications

Do you plan to offer certificates and/or student transcripts (summaries of what they have learned and the grades they achieved)? If so, make sure the LMS supports this functionality.

9. Integrations

What social media integrations can you think of that would be useful? Ask your LMS vendor about them.

Are you going to need the LMS to integrate with any third-party applications? Examples might include iCal or Google Calendar integration, email systems, or accounting software.

Do you need videoconferencing or webinar integration to enable real-time tutoring or group activities? This can enhance courses and enable empower student interaction, but try to decide whether you actually need it and are willing to pay for it.

10. Customization

Would you like your LMS instances to be customized and branded, or are you happy with a generic user experience once they are on the course?

Final Word

There are of course plenty of other questions that can be asked in a Learning Management System needs analysis, but these are some of the most frequently encountered as stumbling blocks further down the line. It’s best to be clear right from the start what your LMS needs are going to be. This allows you to approach vendors with more confidence and will help to avoid getting swayed by impressive features that you do not actually need.