These days, it’s very important for companies to invest in the right Learning Management System (LMS). A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software that allows companies and other educational organizations to manage, distribute, and track educational materials. It facilitates the learning process. Choosing the right LMS is crucial to the success of an organization’s e-Learning strategy. And it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of options out there when searching for a new system. In this post, Christopher Pappas talks about how to choose the right LMS.
Embracing Learning Technology: How To Choose An LMS That Aligns With Your Needs
By Christopher Pappas
Gone are the times when only big businesses would offer their employees with learning and development opportunities. As learning technology becomes more flexible and accessible, more businesses are acknowledging the need for offering quality corporate training to their valuable employees.
This has resulted in the rise of a multitude of technologies that make it possible for organizations to effectively deliver training without breaking the bank. One such technology is learning management systems (LMS).
While the basic function of an LMS is pretty straightforward, choosing the right one for your organization can often be a complex decision. Thanks to the abundance of learning management systems being offered in the market, understanding what makes a good LMS can be confusing.
If you’re struggling with a similar problem, the following sections of this article will help you make an informed decision while choosing an LMS:
Identify Your Objectives
This is possibly the most common consideration while making business decisions, and rightfully so.
Unless you fully understand which aspect of your learning initiatives you want to improve or what learning impact you are trying to make with the help of an LMS, your experience will almost always be disappointing.
Just like other businesses, most LMS are designed to cater to specific industries or types of training. For instance, some LMS specialize in delivering and tracking compliance training, while others focus on eLearning for school students.
Thanks to this, different LMS offer different features that are specifically developed to fulfill objectives that are relevant to specific training types.
By understanding your objectives, you will be able to narrow down the list of potential LMS by a significant margin.
Look For Relevant Features
Since most LMS offer different features, you may encounter some that you have no use for. A learning management system with more features will naturally cost more. To avoid paying for unnecessary features, you can eliminate LMS that are heavy with features that you won’t need.
With that said, there are certain LMS features that you must look for, regardless of your industry or learning objectives:
- Intuitive User Experience: This is perhaps the most important feature. An LMS that offers easy-to-use interface will enable you to take complete advantage of its abilities. The best part is, the best user experience LMS software does not necessarily cost the most. In fact, those with fewer features have simpler interfaces.
- Responsive Design: The modern learner prefers learning on-the-go, whether it is a corporate employee or a student. Mobile learning doesn’t just make life easier for the students, it also has a significant positive effect on the learning outcomes.
- Content Compatibility: More organizations are exploring new avenues of training content everyday, venturing out of the traditional written lessons and instructor-led sessions. Multimedia based learning (making use of videos, audio, and other visual elements) is a great way to improve the effectiveness of your learning initiatives. For this reason, it is important to ensure the LMS you choose supports these formats.
For obvious reasons, the budget remains one of the most important considerations when choosing an LMS. By this point, your list of potential LMS must have shrunk to a select few. Eliminating those that don’t fit in your budget will help you refine your list further.
Bonus Tip: If you have had to exclude a favorite LMS from your list because it is too expensive, you can possibly bring down the cost by excluding some of the unnecessary features that your favorite may offer.
It is not uncommon to run into problems with an LMS, even after you’ve done your share of research before choosing one. For this reason, one of the most important areas that LMS vendors (must) focus on is the efficiency of their customer support system.
While there is little primary research you can do in this matter, customer testimonials, in most cases, paint a pretty clear picture of what you can expect from the customer support structure of an LMS vendor.
As you can see, a lot of consideration goes into selecting the right LMS for your needs. However, spending enough time researching and selecting the best LMS will help you save a lot of time (and money) down the line.
Christopher Pappas is the Founder of the eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning field. Christopher holds an MBA and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU.
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