Now that you’ve decided that online training is the way the way forward for training in your business you might find yourself with an overabundance of learning management systems to choose from. There are literally hundreds of different systems out there and trying to find the one that will work best for your business can seem a bit daunting.
Once you’ve played around on a handful of demos you might find that they all start to look and sound the same. If not analysed properly you may end up picking an LMS that offers more than you require; meaning you’ll be paying for features that you don’t need. Or the opposite could be true; that you end up with an LMS that doesn’t perform as many functions as you need it too.
So, how do you know which LMS will be the right one for you? We’ll take you through a few steps that can ensure you can identify which LMS will be the right fit for your business. Stop Googling and start planning!
Address your LMS needs
It’s important that you take discussions with your colleagues to understand what the needs for your organisation are? Why do you need an LMS and what do you want it to do? How is it going to support your overall training or L&D objectives? If this is the first time you’ve used an LMS how do you integrate digital into your broader training strategy? Do you need an LMS which enables a blended learning solution, i.e. face to face and digital? These are all important questions you need to consider and have the answers to.
During consultation with colleagues it’s important to involve the IT department in your business and ask them for their input; if you decide on an LMS that will require internal server space then your IT department or provider will need to be involved in any discussions. Alternatively, there are cloud based learning management systems which are hosted externally reducing strain on your company’s servers.
By taking the time to have initial discussions you can be better informed going forward about the type of system you are looking for.
What do you want your LMS to do?
Now that you have established the objectives of having an LMS and exactly why you need it for your business it will become easier to look at the options available and choose the right LMS for you. Focus on the needs of your trainers and learners; these can vary, but identifying what your users and trainers will want from an LMS will provide you with a substantial amount of information on the kind of LMS you need. You will want to look at how many functions a system has, how technical it is and how much it will cost. These three categories will contain all of the requirements identified by your training department and user base. Prioritise these requirements so that you can align them with the LMS products and features and find a system that will be the best match for you. Here are a handful of questions you can ask yourself:
- What kind of assessments do you want your learners to complete?
- Will you need certificates?
- Do you need to track and manage compliance?
- Will you need to distribute training in different languages?
- Does your new LMS need to integrate with your existing HR systems?
Shopping around for your LMS
On beginning your search you should have established at least 8 unique requirements that will aid you in narrowing down your choices. These tend to be centered around some key features or workflows.
Once you have defined what your most important needs are you can then start to hone in on the kind of learning management system you are looking for. These unique requirements allow you to focus the search and line up your needs with suitable products. To funnel out any LMS that will not fit your organisation it’s important to ask yourself a few questions:
- Will the LMS provide the important features that you need?
- Are there sufficient reporting capabilities built into the LMS?
- What is the history of your prospective LMS provider?
- What sort of support does the LMS offer?
- Can I try it out before buying with a free trial or live demo?
Making that all important decision
Using the questions above you should have been able to eliminate any LMS that does not meet your requirements or even seem like a safe bet. Now you can contact the appropriate stakeholders and look at the best two to three options; you can also base this on additional features that each LMS vendor offers. These features could include pricing, support options and how long it can take them to implement their solution in your business.
Once you’re clear on your needs and have shortlisted some potential LMS vendors contact them and ask for a proposal to demonstrate how they can meet your needs, giving you all the final pieces of information you need before making the ultimate decision. Make sure you meet the vendors or at least have a video call so you can gauge the level of support you are likely to receive. Will they be flexible if you have future or changing needs? How important is your business to them? Will they give you the support you need, when you need it?
Ensure you have the best LMS
This part is subjective, the best LMS for you will be different from someone else so make sure to pick the one that best satisfies your needs. Think medium to long-term and whether you can see your business using the LMS for years to come.
Sponge has a full list of handy features of our LMS; why not take a look and see how they stack up against your requirements?
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