Learning Management Systems are valuable tools for any organization, to manage activities including hosting courses, tracking and reporting, managing users, organizing elearning, classroom and virtual training sessions and much more. There are countless LMSs available in the market, so it’s crucial that you make the right choice that fits your organization’s training needs.
If you’ve seen our eBook “How to Choose the Right Learning Management System“, you’ll know that there are many factors that can go into the buying process of an LMS system. Since implementing an LMS is highly expensive, you need to make the right choice by deciding which factors are the most important for your organization. This blog outlines a few, but important recommendations to help you indetify the right LMS.
1. List Essential Features You Want in the LMS
Consider the current training challenges that your organization is facing that would be solved or met with the LMS system. It is always advisable to first compile a list of features you think can meet your training challenges. Then evaluate which of the available LMS can offer you the features you want and helps in accomplishing your training challenges. Make sure you jot down only the features which you think are really useful, having more features that really don’t meet your training requirements can affect your price and also makes user experience difficult.
2. Evaluate Scalability Options
LMSs range from ready-to-run programs to fully customizable application development environments. So, it is very easy to make a decision based on your current training needs, but it is also very important to consider how this tool can scale and solve problems as your training needs mature. Choose an LMS that is scalable, able to adapt in response to growing users, able to cover more geographies & languages, add more courses and add new types of courses.
To take advantage of an LMS that meets the needs of your current system and scales over time, you should choose an LMS which is easy to customize. Open source LMSs are a good choice, as they can be customized cost-effectively.
3. Understand Security Features
Organizations are apprehensive about sharing sensitive information on the LMS. The larger and more complex the organization, the greater the threat associated with leaks and security breaches. Even small and mid-sized organizations are not free of cyber threats and attacks. Organizations must address their security concerns and choose an LMS accordingly.
4. Consider the Support
Check into the vendor’s customer support. Check what is available regarding training, consulting and documentation of the LMS, to refer later.
You will also need to check what happens if there is a problem? How quickly can you get help from your vendor. Providing proper user support and training is vital after the implementation of LMSs. The administrators and users need to be trained well to make the best use of the LMS.
5. Weigh Cost Vs Value Proposition
Evaluate the cost of the LMS and evaluate whether it is appropriate for the features that it offers. You also need to check:
- What comes with the original purchase price. What is available for additional fees. When considering cost, take into account implementation cost, licensing cost, per user fee, maintenance cost, training costs, vendor fee, if the administration is outsourced and costs associated with upgrading the LMS in the future.
- Verify if the fees are for one-time or on a continual basis. If it is an ongoing one, check if your organization can truly afford to use this LMS. Check the charges for annual maintenance and upgradations.
- If there are any hidden costs that might not be immediately applicable.
After you have finished with these evaluations, calculate the ROI over the money you are spending.
6. Check for Free Trial
Ask the vendor to arrange for a demonstration to see if the LMS has all the features the vendor has promised. Once the demonstration is over, you can ask them for login credentials so that you can explore and evaluate if the LMS is right for for your needs. This will also give you a clear idea on how intuitive the LMS is for your users to navigate and use the features.
7. Ask for References
It is always advisable to browse through case studies where individuals were successful with the LMS, or talk to those who have used the LMS tool. Getting a perspective from those references give you a true indication of the history of stability and success.
8. Evaluate the Vendor’s Reputation
Consider the following factors when comparing LMS applications, and the vendors that provide them, to see if they are a good partner for your business:
- How long has the company been in the eLearning domain and the financial stability of the vendor.
- Whether the vendor has experience in providing LMS solutions to organizations similar to yours.
- The future outlook of the vendor, and whether it is likely to continue in the same business during the lifetime of the LMS.
These then are some of the best recommendations we can give about choosing the right LMS for your organization. Also, make sure you dedicate enough time for the research process to find the best LMS for your organization.