Test Drive Checklist: 7 Tips To Use A Free Trial To Find The Ideal LMS For Training Companies

How To Use LMS For Training Companies Free Trials
Summary: A free trial helps prevent costly investment mistakes and find the best eLearning tool for the job. But only if you know the rules of the road. In this article, I share 7 tips to get the most of your LMS test drive.

How To Opt For An LMS By Using A Free Trial

You only have 2 weeks—maybe a month, if you’re lucky—to see if an LMS is worthwhile. After all, you plan to keep the platform for the foreseeable future in order to recoup the investment. So, how do know if it will live up to your expectations in such a short time frame? The secret to a successful test drive is to prioritize and focus on your desired results. Don’t give in to the hype or rely solely on testimonials. A Learning Management System that’s great for one training company may be a resource-drainer for your organization. Here are 7 insider tips to use your free trial period wisely in order to find the ideal LMS for your training company.

eBook Release: Building Your eLearning Brand 101: Tips To Choose And Implement An LMS For Training Companies That Exceeds Your Expectations
eBook Release
Building Your eLearning Brand 101: Tips To Choose And Implement An LMS For Training Companies That Exceeds Your Expectations
Invest in an LMS that will assist in building your eLearning brand.

1. Develop Evaluation Criteria

One of the most common pitfalls is turning the key before charting the course. Develop evaluation criteria to focus on key functions that matter to your training company. Which features does your team need to get the job done? Is there something missing from your current LMS that the new Learning Management System must provide? How are you going to evaluate the UI and reporting tools? Prioritize LMS selling features that your training company uses daily instead of concentrating on luxury items.

2. Test The eCommerce Features

A perk of owning LMS for training companies is eCommerce integration. Either the eLearning tool already has built-in support, or you can purchase add-ons. Test out these features to see how they stack up. Get your marketing and sales team involved so they can offer their guidance. You should also decide on a pricing model for your online training courses beforehand. For example, will you sell subscriptions or bulk online training content to larger organizations?

3. Invite Key Players

The test drive shouldn’t be limited to your sales, marketing, and admin staff. Invite key people from every department and a handful of users. For example, a loyal client who can give you valuable eLearning feedback regarding the interface and built-in assets. This also shows that you respect their opinion, not only their business. Host a roundtable after the free trial to get everyone’s input and identify deal-breakers. This is also a great opportunity to gather questions for your LMS vendor meeting—see item number 6 on this checklist.

4. Do A Dry Run To Test Functionality

Ask your team to create a sample online training course during the LMS free trial. The only requirement is that it must include "normal" tasks that are already part of their workflow. You don’t want people venturing too far out of their comfort zone just to push the platform to its limits. It’s wise to assign roles and give them a scope to ensure everyone is on the same page. For example, they must develop a mock customer service course designed to improve communication skills.

5. Host A Soft eLearning Opening

Businesses host soft openings all the time. They want to work out the kinks before the grand reveal, so they invite consumer "guinea pigs" for a sneak preview. Use that sample project to determine how well your online training course will be received, even if there is a watermark since you’re still using the LMS free trial software. It still gives you the chance to view the platform from a different perspective. Your team may think it’s intuitive and feature-rich. But online learners—AKA paying customers—think the overall aesthetics are lacking. The online training templates may look unfinished or the dashboards may be difficult to navigate.

6. Follow Up With LMS Vendors

An LMS free trial or demo isn’t the ultimate decision-maker. You’re bound to have a few—or a hundred—questions when the trial period expires. Schedule a follow-up meeting with the LMS vendor to address your concerns. Clarify the price to ensure that are no hidden fees, as well as the contract terms. What’s included in the package? Do they have integrations or add-ons that might appease the concerns of your team? Review their online knowledge base and user forum to peek behind the curtain. See what’s in store if you do decide to invest in their product.

7. Don’t Limit Your Test Drive Roadmap

Test out more than one LMS to see what your top eLearning contenders bring to the table. There’s no fine print that says you’re restricted to a single test drive. Granted, LMS vendors will frown upon multiple test drives of the same eLearning tool in lieu of purchasing the product. However, you should evaluate the top 3 LMS options on your list to make the best buying decision. LMS number 1 might seem like the right choice, given its high ratings and glowing online reviews. But the real-world test proves that LMS number 3 is a far better candidate. Just make certain to use the same evaluation criteria for every test drive. That’s the only fair way to make a comparison and weigh each platform on its own merit.

An LMS for training companies can be a sizable investment, but LMS free trials give you an inside look at its features and functionality. Know where you’re heading before you start up the engine (evaluation criteria) and make it a group effort. If LMS vendors are unwilling to meet with you after the LMS free trial to address your questions, it may be time to look elsewhere. You need a service provider who stands behind their product and values customer care. Lastly, try out a few platforms to verify you’re making the right choice and you aren’t overlooking any hidden gems.

Finding the ideal LMS for your organization is a must when you need to employ an effective online training strategy with maximum ROI. The eBook Building Your eLearning Brand 101: Tips To Choose And Implement An LMS For Training Companies That Exceeds Your Expectations will help you discover everything you need to know when opting for an LMS for training companies in order to achieve your business objectives.