9 TIPS FOR CHOOSING A LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
When you’re looking for a learning management system, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. There are hundreds of providers out there proclaiming that they have the best system for you. It’s a good best practice to choose someone who’s worked with your industry before, but that still might not narrow down your options much. In case you’re struggling to find the perfect LMS fit for you, here are nine tips to help you choose a system that works seamlessly with your company:
#1 UNDERSTAND YOUR CORE OBJECTIVES
Before you even begin to wade into the vast sea of LMS options out there, it’s helpful to first know what you’re actually looking for. Set clear goals and objectives for your learning management system to give yourself a better picture of what your company needs. In implementing an LMS, what does your end objective look like? Are there certain classes you need or tracking capabilities you want? If you’re looking for a safety training LMS, you’re probably looking to reduce incidents and keep better track of which employees have taken certain courses. Once you define what your ideal LMS looks like, it’ll be much easier to search for one that fits these goals, rather than just scanning through all the options out there.
#2 CREATE A LIST OF KEY FEATURES
In the same vein, it’s a good idea to make a list of key features that your ideal LMS must have. Whether that’s an extensive safety training course catalogue or easy reporting, putting together the features that your company absolutely needs makes it much easier for you to narrow down a short list of learning management systems that will best fit your company.
#3 KNOW YOUR BUDGET
There are learning management systems that are extremely affordable, and there are those with astronomical prices. It’s likely that your LMS budget falls somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, but you need to know exactly what you can spend before you even start looking. We recommend you set two price points: an ideal price, and the maximum price your company can actually afford.
Then, start looking for learning management systems that fall in between those two. Remember that many LMS providers price their product differently. Some charge per course and per student, while others charge flat monthly or yearly fees. So figure out how many people are going to be using your new LMS, and set a budget from there. The last thing you want is to realize what seemed like the cheaper option actually costs more in the long run, once you factor in hidden charges and extra fees for features.
Now that you’ve got your budget set, and you know what features and goals you’re trying to achieve, it’s time to focus on more specific considerations of each LMS option. One such consideration is customization. Does the LMS offer your company some customization options? Are you able to easily access the system to track where each of your employees are in their training? Do you have the option to create custom courses and are you able to manage scheduling options? This is your LMS after all, you’ll want to make sure you have the control you need before you purchase it.
#5 ROOM FOR GROWTH
Remember that your company isn’t static, and your LMS shouldn’t be either. Sure, the LMS you’re choosing is likely to be a good fit for your company now, but what about a few years down the road? If your company expands, will the LMS be able to expand with you? There are all sorts of options out there that will allow you to add users and courses as necessary, offering you the flexibility to scale your LMS as your company continues to grow and expand.
Implementation is a major concern when it comes to purchasing a learning management system that’s compatible with your company. You don’t want to lose time trying to figure out how to implement your new LMS with your existing software, and you don’t want to pick something that will be difficult for employees to interface with. Though there will be a learning curve with most any LMS, you want to pick an option that will be relatively simple to get up and running. This will save your company time and money as it seamlessly integrates with your existing software.
#7 TALK TO YOUR LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT STAFF
If you’re not on the learning and development staff yourself, it’s a good idea to loop them in before you make any final purchasing decisions. Once you have a decent short list of potential LMS options that fit your goals and objectives and offer a majority of your key features, make sure to include your learning and development staff in the conversation. They’re the ones who have the most experience working with employees and setting up training programs, so they’re likely to have some helpful insight into which options might work best, and which might pose a few challenges.
#8 TALK TO YOUR SHORT LIST OF LMS PROVIDERS
After narrowing down your short list with training staff to just three or four options, it’s time to finally give those LMS providers a call. Ask them what sort of support services they offer, and how they can help make your LMS system work for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions—a good LMS provider will tell you about their company’s background, what their experience is in regards to safety, what you can expect from setup and implementation for your site, and what custom course options they offer. Most importantly, an LMS provider you can trust will be sure to offer you a dedicated contact person to call or email if you have any more questions. That way you can clarify points you weren’t sure about later, or ask any questions that pop up after that initial call. Simply picking up the phone will give you a much better idea of which provider will be a better fit for your company.
#9 ASK FOR A LIVE DEMONSTRATION OR TRIAL PERIOD
Finally, before you give the go-ahead to purchase a learning management system, ask for a live demonstration or trial period. You don’t want to put money into anything if you haven’t yet seen how it works. Most quality LMS providers will either walk you through their system themselves, or they’ll give you a temporary login so you can peruse and explore the system on your own. Any LMS is going to be a major investment for your company, so there’s nothing wrong with giving it a little test drive before you take the final plunge.
August 6, 2019
August 6, 2019