Choose an LMS

How Do I Choose a Learning Management System (LMS)?

Is your current Learning Management System (LMS) letting you down? It might be time to make a change.

But choosing an LMS can get complicated. There are over 800 vendors in the LMS marketplace today.

The rise of cloud technology and Software as a Service (SaaS) has allowed more vendors to create affordable learning management systems with minimal investment.

Unfortunately, a low-cost Learning Management System usually comes with limited features, so pricing shouldn’t be your only criterion when you’re shopping for a suitable LMS.

How do you choose the right platform to deliver eLearning effectively to learners? Here’s a learning management roadmap.

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Outline Your Learning Goals

First, identify your training and learning goals. Do you intend to use a Learning Management System for compliance training, staff onboarding, or employee development?

Write down your goals, making sure they’re SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.

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Identify Your Audience for a Learning Management System

Having a clear understanding of your target audience will help you define the features you want in your Learning Management System. Here are a few questions to guide you:

  • What’s your audience’s age? If your workforce is made up of digital natives, you should get an LMS with social learning features like discussion groups, as well as microlearning and gamification.
  • What’s your audience’s skill level? Your LMS needs to allow for personalized learning paths so that learners are only shown content that’s relevant to their role. For instance, experienced staff shouldn’t be served with content meant for entry-level employees.
  • What’s the audience’s role? Identify what the audience role looks like and any skill gaps that may exist. Then you’ll know if you should deploy a specific course to an entire department or to certain roles.
  • Is your audience tech-savvy? If some of your employees aren’t enthusiastic about modern technology, incorporate a user-friendly LMS with a simplified interface. The last thing you need is to waste valuable time training employees on how to navigate complex LMS features.
  • Where are your employees located? If you have a multi-store business, you need to make sure that all your employees receive the same standard of training. Franchise companies such as Long John Silver’s LLC have trusted the World Manager LMS to deliver consistent compliance training in all their locations. You can pick an LMS with localization features to allow employees to learn in their language.
  • What are your employees’ learning habits? Ask your team how they prefer to learn. If your learners are always on the move, you could find a mobile LMS. If they like a formal learning environment, blend instructor-led training with an LMS.
  • How many employees will be trained at a time? If you have a large number of learners, your LMS should have mass user registration capabilities. So find an LMS that can scale according to your learning needs.

Determine Your LMS Features

Although you can have your eLearning platform customized according to your business needs, you must ensure that your Learning Management System has these three essential features:

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  1. Customizable reporting: An LMS should track a learner’s activities from registration to assessments and course completion. These metrics should be delivered to you in real-time so that you can take appropriate action as soon as possible.
  2. User-friendly interface: A good LMS is mobile-compatible, allowing employees to access learning at their own convenience. It’s easy to navigate and has fast loading speeds to reduce learner frustration and increase engagement.
  3. Seamless integration: A great LMS integrates easily with other applications that you’re already using in your business. These may include CRM, LRS, social media, eCommerce, and webinar integrations. Integrations help you get the most value out of your LMS.

To find out if an LMS has the features you need, revisit your training goals and pain points.

Let’s assume you have a batch of new hires that need onboarding training. Your LMS should allow for Single Sign-On (SSO) so that employees will only need to log in once for the duration of their course.

This will ensure good password hygiene, reducing the likelihood of a security breach. It will also create a better user experience because employees won’t have to memorize their credentials every time they need to access the LMS.

But here’s the pain point that’ll keep you up at night – wondering whether your employees were engaged enough or if the onboarding training was effective.

That’s why you should get an LMS with tracking features, so you can get detailed reports of an employee’s learning process, accomplished milestones, and barrier points.

In addition to SSO and tracking, you need HRIS integration so that all your employee data is synced across all systems and stored in a central location.

You can use different features to achieve a specific learning objective as outlined below.

Training Goals Features
To increase learning engagement Discussion boards, gamification, video conferencing
To track progress of learners Grading capabilities, xAPI compliance, learning paths
To increase course completion rates Mobile access, achievements tool, certification
To gauge learning effectiveness Real-time reporting, analytics

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Learn More About the LMS Vendor

Once you’ve settled on the features, search online for LMS or Learning Management System vendors who can provide the type of LMS you’re looking for.

Perform a Boolean search of a specific feature against an LMS vendor, for example:

“gamification and Moodle LMS” or “SCORM and World Manager LMS”.

Next, check out LMS user ratings on Capterra, G2Crowd, and other review websites. You can easily compare different LMSs on these websites and then create a short-list of prospective LMS vendors.

If you’re satisfied with the review, visit the LMS vendor website for a closer look.

How long has the LMS vendor been in business? Who are their current and past customers? Are they in the same industry as you? This will help you gauge whether the LMS vendor is capable of creating a suitable Learning Management System for your type of business.

For instance, if you have a restaurant business, you’d be wise to choose an LMS vendor with experience in developing learning management systems for the restaurant and hospitality industry. Many of the world’s leading restaurant brands rely on the World Manager LMS to effectively administer training to their employees.

Next, go through the product description to check if the LMS has the right features. Read the how-to-articles, product documentation, and other helpful resources that may be present on the page.

Here Are Some Tell-Tale Signs of a Great LMS Vendor:

  • They provide on-demand support
  • They respond promptly to customer requests and questions
  • They are reachable by Skype, phone call, email, or any other channel that is convenient for you
  • They have a dedicated Help Center for users to access troubleshooting videos and articles

This research should yield a short-list of 4-6 LMS vendors whom you can then contact for a systems demo.

Try the LMS for Yourself – and Your Learners

Use the Learning Management System so that you can test for potential problems. Perform due diligence by taking these steps:

  1. Get a demo from the point of view of both the administrator and the learner.
  2. Ask the vendor how often they update the LMS and whether you need to pay extra for updates.
  3. Check whether the LMS works properly when you load it several times or upload material in different formats and sizes.
  4. Contact the tech support team and check how quickly they respond to their customers.
  5. Ask key decision-makers such as your administrator, course developer, and the HR Manager to try it too, then gather their feedback.

Once you’re satisfied with your research, your vendor will inform you how soon you can start using the new LMS.

If you choose the World Manager LMS, you can expect to cut down your research time considerably. A demo process from World Manager typically takes little more than an hour and includes the following steps:

  • A 5 to 10-minute callback to check whether World Manager is a good fit for your business.
  • A 30-minute webinar or video call to discuss your business needs at length. You’ll get a high-level overview of the LMS features and what it can do for you. Since World Manager will have a better understanding of your business needs, they will help you decide if the LMS is worth further exploration.
  • A 1-hour face-to-face video call to dive into your business needs. You’ll discuss how World Manager can create a customized training and development platform for you. This walkthrough will give your team a clear understanding of the LMS and how it can address your training needs.

Choosing the right Learning Management System need not be an exhausting chore. Just ask for a demo today and have a World Manager LMS expert get you started on the right track.

Disclaimer: This information is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor World Manager will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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