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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There are many Learning Management Systems (LMSs) available in the market. We have both commercial and open-source LMSs. These LMSs may have all the basic features required to host and manage trainings. But, the main issue arises when you want to customize the training workflow as per the current structure and add advance features which are difficult to manage in the existing process.
A Learning Management System (LMS) is essentially used to plan and publish e-learning courses online, to be accessed by learners. Earlier, LMSs were technology-based and quite complex for end users (both administrators and learners) to navigate and manage courses or access them. Users had to rely on the technical team even for minor issues or requirements. Every problem had to be addressed by IT personnel. This was frustrating and resulted in an unenthusiastic response to the LMS as a whole by the users. Very few registered for the courses, and even those who did never completed them. Only mandatory compliance courses had 100% completion rates for obvious reasons!
Learning Management Systems (LMSs) help us in managing eLearning, classroom or virtual trainings easily. Apart from the structured training curriculum, you can provide your learners with additional learning resources to refresh their learning or give in-depth information. In most cases, the additional material provided is optional.
This optional training material can be shared using various methods.
MOODLE is the acronym of Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. It was developed by Martin Dougiamas, a computer scientist and educator. MOODLE is an incredible Learning Management System (LMS) with exceptional features, and it is used extensively in the corporate training world.
One of the most useful features of MOODLE LMS is the activity completion tracking system. It enables the training manager to check the course completion status of the learner. By default, it is not enabled.
To enable this feature, you need to follow the below steps.
Collaborative or social learning is a type of learning where people gain knowledge working in groups. Learners interact with each other and exchange ideas and information to solve problems. Various researches have proven that collaborative learning to be very effective as it improves thinking skills and enhances leadership capabilities. So, how can you facilitate effective collaborative learning in an online environment? Well, you need to use a learning management system (LMS).
Report building is one of the crucial activities in any training process. It helps the training manager track the learner’s performance and training outcomes.
Earlier, this process was done manually. However, with technological advancements, this process has been automated. Now, using a learning management system (LMS), training managers can generate reports with just a click.
Technology is continuously evolving and it is no different with Learning Management Systems. According to a research published by EDUCASE Center for Analysis and Research, the average age of an LMS is eight years. It means that institutions need to replace their LMS every eight years to keep up with their current needs and demands. So, every few years, training managers or stakeholders of organizations will need to make a decision about either changing their existing LMS or modifying their current one. With so many options available, how do they decide which one is right for them? Selecting an LMS that is a “best-fit” for your organization is not an easy task.
A learning management system (LMS) is a software application which helps deliver online training as well as track users’ scores and status. It also helps training managers to generate reports and provide results to each user individually. One of such good tools to develop an LMS is Moodle.
As a training manager, you have to keep the records of your learners’ details, courses assigned to each of them, score sheets, grade reports, issue of certificates, details of registration and limiting access to users.