There are many Learning Management Systems (LMS) in the market. They could be high end proprietary LMS or lesser known open source LMS. What is interesting is that, most of the Fortune list companies are NOT going for the top of the breed LMS but are investing in not so well known LMS. This is because while selecting the LMS they are first evaluating their need and then selecting a suitable LMS even though it is not well known. What then are the factors that are propelling them to make such a choice? After they understand the need and find the LMS that suits their need, the three main deciding factors are definitely the cost, level of customer service and new and improved technology.
These are some of the lessons we learnt, working with Fortune clients, that I would like to share in this blog.
|Understand Your Need|
This is the KEY for an effective learning administration solution. Before going into the selection of LMS or comparing the top LMS in the market, it is very important that you understand why you need an LMS for your organization?
- Do you need to manage and administer all classroom training through the LMS? When I say organize, I mean class room training registration, evaluation and certification.
- Are you planning to use LMS for only serving elearning courses? You want to start small and do not want to integrate all classroom administration. Then maybe, you really do not need to invest in an LMS and a learning portal will suffice.
- Do you want to integrate organization wide talent management system, along with administrating training? Do you need to integrate SAP with your LMS?
- Do you want to integrate social media for collaborating learning?
All LMS’s proclaim that they have all these features integrated into their LMS. The key is to understand and prioritize your specific needs so that you will take the right choice.
|Understand Your Organizational Structure|
Every organization has a unique organizational structure and how training is handled. Before we decide the LMS, we need to understand the unique features and how an LMS should be able to cater to the different needs of various departments or subsidiaries. Most of the successful organizations have a very complex structure and it becomes even more difficult if we are talking about global presence.
- Are you planning an LMS for all your subsidiaries as well?
- Are you planning administration to be managed locally, or the administration will be managed only by the corporate HR?
Therefore, it is clear that your requirements need to be understood before making an LMS investment.
|Understand Your Organization Wide Training Plan|
The next most important step is to understand how training is organized and conducted in any organization.
- Is training centralized or decentralized?
- What is the organization vision and strategy as far training their employees is concerned? For example, one of the organizations whom we worked for conducted more than 17,000 classroom, e-learning, and virtual training activities last year. It shows their commitment to training their workforce for better results.
- How are trainings conducted? Are they mostly classroom training followed up with eLearning?
- How is training administered? Do the learners choose their training path? Or are they assigned training based on their skills and competencies?
- Are training courses conducted in multiple languages? Do you want your LMS to be in different language for different location?
- Do you want the LMS to cater to your distributors and resellers also?
|Develop Typical User Case Scenarios for Learner, Trainer and Administration|
Any LMS should NOT be another technical tool and should be easy for learners to use; For example, if you see any Social Media webpage, you will see that it is very good user interface. Therefore, it is very important that we understand our learners and help them use the LMS in a simple and easy way.
We need to develop detailed scenarios for learner, trainers and administrators. This will help us plan the navigation and ease of operation, for all the users of LMS. We will also know what is feasible and what is not, when we evaluate vendors.
- Decide what kind of reports you wish to generate.
- What are your organizational and training unique needs?
- What are your data security needs? For example, student completion certificate for compliance training. This will help organizations comply with FDA and other bodies.
- What is the procedure for assigning course to groups?
- Will the Instructor Led Training be blended with elearning?
|Shortlist LMS Vendors|
Based on your needs, now clearly defined by answering the first three questions, it is time to shortlist the LMS vendors. According to eLearning Guild Report, Open Source LMS like Moodle is more reliable, economical and easy to work with. For the second consecutive year, the eLearning Guild survey, which measures use of over 100 professionally-developed LMS products and excludes in-house created systems, shows that Moodle™ is ranked as the #1 LMS product among eLearning Guild members with over 24% of respondents selecting it as their primary LMS.
That said, we need to have at least 3 shortlisted LMS before we move ahead.
|Ask Vendors for a Demonstration of the Scenarios|
No matter how successful and huge the LMS vendor is, always ask them to demonstrate the scenarios typical to your organization. This will help you decide the right LMS vendor. Once they demonstrate that they meet their needs, select the best vendor based on cost, customer service and technological edge!
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Performing learning management activities using an LMS, in an organization with a few employees, is easy. But, performing these activities in a company with several staff members, in a short time period, can be quite hectic. Usually, these “bulk”, time-bound activities need to be performed when you setup a new LMS and want to do lot of activities in the initial stages to set all the pre-training settings. Also, you need to perform these activities if you assign a selected set of courses to a group of specific users.
It is common knowledge that companies need to manage their training programs effectively to enhance productivity make the most of their training dollar. So, how can you make sure that you get the highest ROI on training? What does it take to equip your staff members with the needed knowledge and skills in a very efficient and cost-effective manner? Well, you need to use a Learning Management System (LMS).
It is common knowledge that technology is developing rapidly and many training programs are delivered online. Many learners have easy access to the Internet. So, they can take all required courses on the go. Learners need to be certified after completing the course. Are you a course provider using Moodle as an online platform for the course delivery and want to award certificates to your learners? Then, let us see how to add certificates for your courses using Moodle.
Many organizations are adopting eLearning to train their employees and this is where they need a Learning Management System (LMS) – to track and monitor learning activities. An LMS is a web-based application and can be used to plan, implement and track the learning content. It acts as a centralized system to deliver online training programs.
Moodle is the most preferred online learning platform. As it is open source software it’s very popular. It can be easily customized according to our requirements.
Moodle is a very powerful LMS, used by several organizations to manage their training programs. This incredible software is ranked as the #1 LMS product by the E-learning Guild, in terms of market share. A majority of learning management needs can be met in a cost-effective manner, using this open-source software.
Moodle – a very powerful, yet highly affordable Learning Management System (LMS). This incredible software has been rated as the most popular LMS in the world, by Capterra. The high degree of flexibility and versatility of Moodle makes it a boon to training managers.
Are you a training manager? Do you want to initiate eLearning in your company? Or, are you a trainer who wants to host the courses online to reach global audiences? If you have a very limited budget and a few eLearning modules to host as a pilot to see if it works for you or not. Later, you may scale it up if it is successful. It may be difficult to go with a proprietary or commercial Learning Management System (LMS), just to host a couple of modules. It is ideal use a scalable and cost-effective LMS that can be set up quickly.
Recently, a friend of mine turned into an avid food blogger. She cooks, takes pics and shares her recipe online…and she is getting creative at it too! Look at how she designed a logo for her blog with Indian pancake and vegetables.
As LMS is used to track important information about creation of a course and helps manage learning effectively. But, most importantly, an LMS is used to track status of all users. In my previous blog, I have discussed about generation of grading report and course creation. In this blog, we will look at another important report – Number of attempts.