Corporate and organizational ongoing learning are huge today. In 2014, Learning Managment Systems (LMS) saw a 21% growth in terms of adoption. 2015 saw even more and the trend is expected to continue. In addition to the number of organizations now implementing LMSs for the first time, there are many others that are adopting different platforms to keep up with the changing times. Whether you are seeking a more interactive program or just want to take advantage of new technologies, if you’re in the market for an LMS, you need to know some of the most important requirements.
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1. Modern “Social” Features in Corporate LMS
You may have heard the old adage, “To learn is to teach”. Learner engagement is not limited to interactive eLearning exercises such as branching scenarios. Deeper engagement occurs when learners express their thoughts, opinions, and ideas related to the training you are delivering. People generally enjoy sharing their knowledge because doing so is satisfying on a number of levels. It boosts the ego and offers general sense of being helpful. This promotes employees’ desires to develop common bonds with like-minded peers as well as leading to increased aspirations to advance their career.
Your LMS should include features that encourage learners to share knowledge much in the same way as they do in their personal lives on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. The LMS should not simply include chat and blog features, but also back-end administrative features to assign, track, and monitor social collaboration that is purposeful and guided by professional trainers and instructional designers.
2. Interface Branding
Despite low costs, many people avoid generic products because of the sense that generic equates to low quality. Another factor is trust – people tend to trust certain brands and would prefer to pay a little more for the peace of mind that comes from that established relationship. Your LMS is no exception.
You need to ensure that your LMS can be branded with your corporate identity. This certainly matters to large companies, but it’s equally important for smaller businesses. However, this goes deeper than being able to slap your logo and tagline on the loading screen. The LMS you choose should be customizable in order to ensure that it ties in with your corporate culture, values, ethics, and mission.
3. Software as a Service (Sass) Fully Managed and Hosted
Chances are good that you won’t be hosting your own LMS. In-house servers are on the decline as more businesses put their assets in the Cloud. Whether you use Amazon, Google, or another provider, you need to ensure that the LMS you ultimately choose is flexible in terms of hosting requirements. Not investigating this from the outset can lead to a very serious problem when you discover that your LMS isn’t compatible with the host that supports your other data center assets.
4. Built-in Single Sign-On (SSO) Capabilities
Your employees already have a ton of different user accounts to juggle. They have work accounts and usually multiple personal accounts. There’s really no need to add yet another to their list. SSO, or single sign-on, is a capability that you should look for in an LMS. Essentially, this allows your employees to use a single account to sign into the LMS to take any required lessons. However, because they’re using a single sign on for multiple accounts, it’s also important that your LMS be completely secure against hacking and other forms of intrusion that might happen if a user’s information were to be compromised.
5. Quality and Responsive Technical Support
Implementing an LMS isn’t a “once and done” sort of thing. There will be ongoing maintenance required. You’ll need to add new modules, update old ones, include new tests and a great deal more.
Think of your LMS like a garden – it needs to be weeded, watered, fertilized, and cared for. It’s also going to grow. That’s a lot to expect from your in-house team, who probably have little-to-no experience with LMSs in the first place. Therefore, it pays to consider the amount of support provided with the system you ultimately choose. Do they offer on-demand services? Is the service agreement monthly or annual? What’s the average lead time for service or upgrades? Compare the support offered by different learning management systems prior to making a decision to ensure that you have a solution that will grow with your business and help you maximize that investment.