Evaluate Your LMS: 6 Questions You Need To Answer

Evaluate Your LMS: 6 Questions You Need To Answer
Summary: Is your current LMS carrying its weight, or is it time to start looking for another one? In this article I'll offer some tips that will help you to evaluate your current LMS in order to determine whether your current LMS is really the ideal solution for your learning and development needs.

How To Evaluate Your LMS

One of the most essential tools that Learning and Development professionals have at their disposal is their LMS. Finding the LMS that offers you the features and functions your company needs is key, as this will allow you to curate and deploy eLearning courses that truly leave their mark upon your employees. Here are 6 questions that you'll want to answer in order to evaluate your current LMS.

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1. Does your current LMS give you the functionality you need now and in the future?
Many companies choose an LMS that is ideal for their needs at this moment in time. However, you should also be asking yourself if the LMS you are currently using is going to be able to meet your Learning and Development needs in the future. While there is no crystal ball that allows you to see what the online training needs of your organization will be a year from now, you can opt for an LMS that allows for easy upgrades and add-ons that will boost its functionality. Also, if you know that you are planning on offering mobile training courses in the next few months or that you need to create more dynamic multimedia-rich eLearning courses, then plan ahead and switch to an LMS that will be able to offer you all of these features. This will also enable you to gradually master the interface of the LMS, so that you will be ahead of the game when the time comes.

2. Are the reporting capabilities up to par?
The simple truth is that reporting is one of the most essential LMS features. This is due to the fact that the data you gather from these reports gives you valuable insight concerning the learners’ activity and the necessity of fine tuning your eLearning course in order to achieve the best possible eLearning experience for your employees. Ideally, you'll want to opt for an LMS that has advanced reporting features, such as a variety of filters and exporting capabilities. Does your current LMS automatically create reports on a regular basis, so that you can stay up to date on learner performance and progress? Does it come with pre-made templates or can you custom your own reporting fields? Can you export reports in a range of formats, like PDF or CSV, or is it limited to one specific format? These are all questions that you'll want to ask when you assess your current LMS or choosing a replacement LMS solution, as it will help you to insure that you get the report data you need, when you need it.

3. Is a Cloud-based or installed LMS a better option for you?
Cloud-based LMS
 is definitely a Top LMS trend for 2014. So, when you assess your current LMS you should determine whether a cloud-based or an installed LMS is right for you. While an installed LMS often requires a more sizable initial investment, it is more stable in terms of access thanks to the fact that it is installed directly onto your server(s). On the other hand, a cloud-based LMS offers flexibility, convenient collaboration, more storage space, and easier maintenance. Take a close look at which option best suits your budget, offers you the functionality you truly need, and provides your learners with a convenient and effective eLearning experience.

4. Do you need eCommerce integration?
If you are planning on selling your eLearning course online, then you will need an LMS that allows for easy eCommerce integration. Will the LMS give you the opportunity to sell your eLearning course a la carte, if you need so? What kind of payment infrastructure does it have, and can you offer special promotions for your learners? If your current LMS does not have a built-in eCommerce system, then you may want to check if there are any add-ons or plug-ins that will enable you to sell your eLearning courses via an online marketplace.

5. What delivery options does it support?
There are two main considerations to keep in mind when considering this LMS assessment category: mobile training and synchronous learning. Does your current LMS give you the ability to implement a mobile learning strategy, so that you can offer your learners knowledge and skill set development anywhere, anytime? Also, will it allow you to integrate synchronous learning activities, such as live virtual meetings or online training events?

6. Is the LMS vendor offering you the support you need?
Even the most experienced and skilled eLearning professionals need LMS support from time to time. In these situations, it's important to have an LMS that gives you access to customer support or troubleshooting. However, if you only need a limited amount of support, then you can go with an LMS vendor that offers minimal assistance, rather than round-the-clock phone support, at a lower monthly fee. Before switching to a new LMS solution, it's better to speak with your list of potential vendors to verify who offers the ideal amount of support, as well as how that support is offered. For example, some may only offer an online forum or FAQ, while others may be available 24/7 via email, online chat, and phone.

Taking the time to assess your current LMS will give you the opportunity to get the most out of your budget. An LMS that falls short of expectations and doesn't deliver when it really counts will inevitably reduce your ROI. On the other hand, finding an LMS that offers exactly what you need, will offer a variety of cost efficient and performance-boosting rewards.

Are you interested to know how to choose the Best Learning Management System based on your company’s needs? The article Tips for Choosing The Best Learning Management System features 11 tips you may want to consider when searching for your Best Learning Management System.

If you have performed your LMS assessment and you believe that you need another LMS to fulfill your needs, then it’s time to prepare your LMS Request for Information (RFI). In the article 11 Tips To Create a Winning LMS RFI you will find 11 tips to create a winning LMS RFI.

Once you've received the responses of the LMS vendors and you have formulated your budget, your LMS needs, and development time frame, it's time to start developing your LMS Request for Proposal (RFP). In the article 10 Tips To Create a Winning LMS RFP you will find tips and strategies that can give you the opportunity to make the task as simple, straightforward, and stress free as possible.

Do you need help on selecting the Best Learning Management System? The article 9 Questions to Help You Select the Best Learning Management System highlights the most important questions you need to answer prior selecting your next LMS. You can also get an LMS quote tailored to your needs in as little as 3 minutes. This simple 5-step process will help you find the Learning Management System that works best for you.

Last but not least, if you are looking for a comprehensive list of LMS features that you can use to compare LMS vendors, then read the article Learning Management Systems Comparison Checklist of Features. This article highlights 99 key LMS features that you may want to take into consideration when you're trying to find the ideal LMS for your organization.