Top 5 Criteria For Choosing The Right Learning Management System

Top 5 Criteria For Choosing The Right Learning Management System
Summary: Have you created a requirement list for your new LMS platform? This is the most crucial step toward finding the right Learning Management System for your organization.

How To Choose The Right Learning Management System

Not all Learning Management Systems are created equally. While some Learning Management Systems are ideally suited for certain organizations, they may not be the best choice for your online training requirements. Before you start to analyze LMS vendors, it’s wise to know the criteria for choosing the right Learning Management System. For example, key features that both upper management and your L&D team agree are necessary for a robust online training program.

eBook Release: How To Buy The Right LMS: The Complete Guide, by eLearning Industry
eBook Release
How To Buy The Right LMS: The Complete Guide, by eLearning Industry
Find out the tell-tale signs that your organization is ready for a Learning Management System.

1. Current And Future Online Training Needs

There are many questions to ask regarding your current and future online training needs. Before you dive into the challenge, it is best to find out what is currently working and what is not. Ask critical staff, such as online instructors, corporate learners, and management. Don’t forget to include the IT department, especially if they will be implementing the LMS onto the current infrastructure. Ask questions about the current LMS platforms: What training is effective and what is ineffective. Why or why not? What direction is the organization heading to and what training is needed to achieve it? Ask the IT staff what requirements are needed to integrate a new LMS. Are there limitations that will eliminate a type of Learning Management System? Structure your questions to elicit open-ended responses. Try to avoid broad or meaningless answers. If possible, ask for a better solution or improvement.

2. Online Training Content Types

How complex do you need your online training content to be? Online training content can be delivered in a wide variety of formats. Will you need to launch online training courses, Flash files, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, or spreadsheets? Perhaps you need online training webinars, videos, audio files, slideshares, or maybe a combination. You may even want to have the ability to use blended approaches. Before you make a final decision, talk to your training department. Get their ideas and visions. Try also online surveys or focus groups. By pooling these two groups, you may have a better understanding of the type of online training content that is most applicable to your organizational needs. Most Learning Management Systems are capable of handling most format types. However, it is still a good idea to ask the LMS vendor to make sure they can accommodate them. Bear in mind that different employees have different learning needs and preferences. As such, you should include a diverse range of online training content to accommodate every member of your team.

3. Must-Have LMS Features And Functions

There are many tools and options available. By knowing your training needs, you can eliminate tools that don’t align with your goals. Keep your requirements realistic because the more LMS features or add-ons you need, the higher the cost. Unless you opt for a free all-in-one open source LMS platform. In that case, you typically need more programming experience in order to utilize the LMS effectively. Next, analyze the ease of use for the Learning Management Systems you select. Are they complicated? How versatile are they? What benefits do your corporate learners gain from using them? Do they enhance the online training experience or are they “fluff”? Finally make sure the tracking and reporting features align with your needs. How easy is it to create LMS reports, search and find all data for a corporate learner, and sift for compliance? If a specific element is not available or is complicated, how critical is it to your goals?

4. Limitations For IT Department & End Users

From the questions posed by the IT staff, are there clear infrastructure limitations? Knowing the limitations may eliminate possible LMS vendors from the pool. Will the IT staff need specialized training to maintain the Learning Management System once it is installed? Or does the LMS vendor provide this service for an additional fee? The end users may also find the new Learning Management System challenging to navigate. Are there clear paths to follow and an obvious “end”? If the LMS vendor offers training on the system, how necessary is it? Can this training suffice for just the training department? Can the training department train everyone else afterwards? Or is the LMS platform so complicated that training should be mandatory for all users? In cases where organizations are in diverse locations, will all users understand the selected Learning Management System?

5. Evaluation Options

There are many ways to evaluate the final list of LMS vendors. The best option is to ask for a free trial or demo. If only one demo is obtained, encourage different demographic users to try the Learning Management System. Have each user fill out a pre-written evaluation form. Also, read the reviews written on the customer support. How good or bad was it? How timely were the issues fixed? Then read the product reviews for your chosen Learning Management System. Look for both positive and negative aspects. How bad are the negative reviews? Did you see these problems in the customer service? Finally, compare product update information. How often does each LMS vendor update and what fee is involved? Do you have to update the product? Will the support stop if the update is not obtained?

Before shopping for an LMS, make sure you know what you need from it. In fact, you may want to have your objectives statements on hand so that you can find the right Learning Management System to support the desired outcomes. In addition, consider the needs of both your L&D team and employees. These individuals must be able to use the Learning Management System to deploy and consume online training content, respectively. Gather feedback on a company-wide scale to choose the right Learning Management System that benefits all parties involved. As a result, you have the power to enhance your online training program and maximize your ROI.

Do you need a guide that has all the information you need to find the right LMS for your requirements and budget? Download our free eBook How To Buy The Right LMS: The Complete Guide to learn how to create an accurate budget for your next Learning Management System. You’ll also learn tips to implement your new LMS, and fees to consider when creating your LMS budget. In addition, we’ll highlight the tell-tale signs that your organization is ready for a Learning Management System.