5 Questions To Ask Before LMS Selection

5 Questions To Ask Before LMS Selection
Summary: Investing in a Learning Management System requires a significant amount of research, planning, and budgeting. Especially if you want to avoid buyer’s regret down the line. In this article, I’ll highlight the 5 most important questions to ask when choosing your next LMS.

What To Ask Before LMS Selection: Decide On Your Next Learning Management System

A Learning Management System can help you deploy your online training more efficiently and track its effectiveness with ease. However, you need to choose the right tool for the task if you want to recoup your investment. There is an abundance of LMS vendors who offer feature-packed LMS platforms, but which one is the best for your organization? Here are 5 crucial questions that every company should ask before LMS selection.

1. What Is My LMS Price Range?

An LMS budget helps to narrow down your choices and determine which LMS features you can afford, and which you may have to forego in order to allocate your resources more effectively. It’s best to calculate a realistic LMS budget before you start your looking for an LMS. Include all start-up costs, licensing, and monthly maintenance fees. There are also common hidden fees to consider, such as more advanced support services or software updates. Creating an accurate LMS budget also involves analyzing your current assets. For example, you may already have some online training materials or eLearning authoring tools on hand. As such, you won’t have to allocate resources to these aspects of your online training program, thereby increasing your LMS budget.

2. Which LMS Features Do I Need To Maximize ROI?

It’s wise to create a list of must-haves and wants for your new LMS. The must-haves are essential LMS features or functions you need to improve your ROI. The wants are optional LMS features that you would like if your budget allows. The key is to find an LMS that offers all the features you need to get the best ROI and make the most of your team’s talents. For example, a user-friendly user interface is ideal for less experienced teams who require an intuitive interface and dashboard layout. Here are some other LMS features that you may want to add to your list during LMS selection:

  • LMS reporting and analytics, including customizable metrics.
  • A built-in online asset library that saves you the time of starting from scratch.
  • Online assessment tools that allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of your online training.
  • Responsive design tools for mobile-friendly accessibility.
  • Gamification support that features badges, points, and other game mechanics.
  • Certification and compliance support tools.
  • Data integration capabilities so that you can easily migrate your existing online training content.
  • eCommerce integration for organizations who sell their online training courses online.
  • Brand integration, such as the ability to incorporate your logo and color scheme.

3. What LMS Hosting Options Suit My Needs?

There are a variety of options to choose from in regards to LMS hosting. Each solution comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks, as well as pricing considerations. Here are just a few of the most popular LMS hosting options to keep in mind during LMS selection:

a. Cloud-Based

Learning Management Systems hosted on the Cloud by a third-party vendor. These options typically involve free upgrades and updates for a monthly or yearly subscription fee. There are usually no up-front costs, and you don’t have to download any software to get started. Many organizations have concerns about data security. However, most cloud-based LMS vendors have advanced encryption and data safety protocols in place.

b. Locally Installed

Self-hosted Learning Management Systems are installed locally on your company’s servers. They often require an initial fee to download the software. For example, a licensing fee that must be renewed on an annual basis. These LMS platforms usually allow for greater customization and brand integration. However, you may have to pay for updates or upgrades to the LMS system over the course of time.

c. Open Source

Open source LMS platforms are typically free but require more advanced programming knowledge. The software is usually accompanied by active online communities, however. This makes it easier for novices to utilize the LMS platform with the help of more experienced users.

4. What Level Of Support Does My L&D Team Require?

Different LMS vendors offer different support services. Some give you the option to call 24/7 and speak with an experienced tech who can field your questions. Others opt for an online community where you can discover tips and tricks from other users. In some cases, more advanced support services are part of the standard package. However, you may have to pay for the privilege of round-the-clock email or phone support. This is why it’s essential to ask the LMS vendor about their support services beforehand. In addition, meet with your L&D team to determine how much assistance they truly need. Basic options may suffice for more experienced L&D teams, and you can save the expense of add-on support packages.

5. Why Do I Need A New LMS?

More than likely, there’s a specific reason why you’re looking for a new LMS for your organization. If you’re replacing an existing LMS platform, you need a system that fills the gaps and checks more boxes on your must-have list. If this is your first time investing in an LMS, you may need to conduct a thorough training needs analysis to identify areas for improvement. For example, elements of your face-to-face training that fell short of expectations, or skill and knowledge gaps that still persist even after employees complete the current online training program. Determine your primary goals and objectives, then figure out how a new LMS can help you achieve the desired outcomes.

LMS selection can be challenging and time-consuming. However, the answers to these five questions will allow you to focus your efforts. It’s all a matter of pinpointing what you need from your new LMS system and calculating a realistic LMS budget, as well as vetting your top candidates before you sign on the dotted line.

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