Making an Learning Management System (LMS) Selection:
Choosing the right learning management system takes time and planning. The LMS you choose will have an effect on everything from your budget to how easily learners can access tests, study materials, assignments and more. Here’s a short list of what you should consider when selecting a learning management system for the first time.
Develop a Learning Strategy
Before you choose an LMS, ensure that you have a learning strategy in place. At a minimum, ask yourself core questions like:
- What form of learning do I want to load and track? (Instructor-led sessions, eLearning, SCORM packages, content built within the LMS itself?
- Will all learners need access to the same LMS interface layout and experience, or do I need a way to create custom interfaces and layouts to fit my organizational structure?
- Where learning take place – in a school, in a business, at home?
- Do I need to integrate the LMS with other technologies like an HR system, single-sign on Intranet, or other service?
- Will learners be using desktop PCs primarily or do I need to support smartphones and tablets?
Know Your Learners
Many organizations find it helpful to build user personas to explore this concept. You’ll need to ask questions here again, including what the primary interaction between each learner and the LMS will be, and what is the most important aspect of the LMS for each learner. What will their pain points be? Build a good picture of the general user journey and you’ll be better informed about what sort of LMS you’ll need.
Know Your Team
Consider the skills, experience and needs of your learning and development team. For instance, an easy to use LMS might be hassle-free, but it might not be flexible enough to let your team really do their jobs. This can stifle productivity and even what you can achieve through the LMS.
Create a Requirements List
Be sure to create an extensive requirements list and separate out the “nice to have” verses the “must have” features. Your requirements are not a list of “wants” – it’s a list of things that absolutely must be present in order for your organization to achieve its goals. Most organizations find that they have at least 30 firm requirements, but some may have up to 60. Fewer than 30 or more than 60 and chances are that you’re listing wants or solutions, rather than actual needs.
The Right Interface
Remember that the interface of your learning management system needs to work for both your L&D team, as well as your learners and it needs to address the requirements and type of learners accessing the system, whether they’re high school students or executives leading the business.
Perhaps the most important step is to create a list of possible options, and then conduct testing on each of them. Compare the results, the ease of use, the flexibility and how well each LMS fits your organization’s requirements. Based on this, you should be able to choose the right learning management system for your situation.