By: Brian Hostetter
Whether you’re a first-time LMS buyer or considering migrating from your existing LMS provider, trying to find the right solution can be a daunting task. Your first step, before you even start looking, is to assess and prioritize your needs. Factor in budget, roles and timeline. This strategy will save you time and effort, and also ensure you end up with the right LMS.
I consult with individuals on a daily basis to help them find solutions that will be the best fit for their needs. Based on my conversations, I’ve compiled five of the most important considerations.
You probably know or have a pretty good idea of what your eLearning content looks like, and your LMS choice should be able to support your chosen format. For example, what browsers does the LMS support? How many learners can that LMS support at the same time? You should also decide if you want to include quizzes, tests or surveys as part of the functionality, and what reporting features you need for those results. Other key factors to consider are whether to provide learner certificates for course completion and gamification to incentivize learners.
Also, does the LMS provider offer content creation services? Custom content can be costly, but if your LMS provider offers both, it can spell savings for you in terms of time and convenience. They handle the project management, instructional design and development of your content, as well as integrate it into the LMS. If you feel that outsourcing eLearning content may be in your future, you can avoid being the middleman between two providers and let the experts do what they do best.
It’s no longer a topic of debate — a mobile workforce needs mobile accessibility. As smartphone and tablet usage is rapidly growing, it is critical that your LMS choice can seamlessly function on these devices to secure long-term success and engage your learners.
If your business sells online learning content, a vital consideration is determining your B2C or B2B feature sets and what level of branding you’re looking for. Can you brand it to be consistent with the look and feel of your company’s website? Can you brand the URL, login/ logout screens and client portals? Does it have white labeling capabilities?
Advanced reporting, tracking features and powerful analytics are a must so that you know exactly what’s going on and how your learners are performing. Even better, can you customize your own reports? Can you export them? Can they be automatically delivered to your inbox?
One major consideration when choosing an LMS should be it’s strategy in the long-term. Is it easy to maintain? Is it flexible enough to scale to future business needs and growth? How’s the quality of customer support and how quickly do representatives respond? If you’re afraid of vendor lock-in, then open source may be a solution. If you need help choosing between open source and proprietary system, check out this quick guide.
An LMS can be a significant investment for your company. If possible, schedule a live demo with the vendor or request a free trial. That way, you can get a first-hand look to determine what’s right for you.
Still need help to ensure you’re maximizing your learning investment? Feel free to reach out to me for a no-obligation call at (312) 588-7284.
Brian Hostetter is a Senior Account Executive at Webanywhere who is passionate about employee training and development, leadership and HR/HCM technology. Brian connects with L&D professionals on a daily basis helping them find the right learning platforms and content solutions to meet their precise needs.