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6 Things Need to Consider Before Choosing an LMS

17th May 2016
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Educational institutions and training organizations are relying increasingly on learning management systems to better meet their goals and objectives. With a rising demand for online distance learning and greater mobile accessibility, LMS tools can provide such organizations with exceptional leverage to drive higher value and business growth.

That said, organizations should be careful about which LMS systems they invest in and make sure that their decision is backed by a thorough needs-based analysis. Otherwise, they risk investing in resources they cannot utilize efficiently and as a result, provide subpar educational and training services. This will not only be disadvantageous in terms of lower sales revenue and profitability, but also hurt customer goodwill and brand reputation.

If you are looking to use an LMS tool to provide innovative educational services, here are a few things you need to consider to make the right choice.

  1. Determine your learning objectives

First and foremost, you should have your learning objectives and goals clearly outlined so that the LMS system serves as a means of propelling you towards achieving them and not are utilized without proper direction. Your objectives should pertain to your overall business strategy, consisting of both short-term and long-term goals, as well as the means to meet them. More importantly, it should consist of concrete measures and metrics to evaluate your performance to ensure that you are on the right path towards accomplishing your objectives.

You should know that there is a huge variety of different e-learning systems available in the industry, each offering a unique set of features and tools. Thus, your goals should be set in a manner that can be fulfilled through the LMS tool. This may be overwhelming, which is why it is recommended that you conduct comprehensive research into what learning goals you need to develop through the use of focus groups, surveys, and open-ended interview questions with staff members and learning experts.

  1. Know whether your workforce has the required skills

Being able to use an LMS system effectively will depend on what staff resources and capabilities you can leverage. This involves having full knowledge of what particular skill set is required in your staff and ensuring you have the right procedures to invest in employees that can add value to your organization.

Skills can range from having expertise in data analytics, ecommerce, problem solving, strategic thinking, and teamwork, for instance are just a few that can be crucial to cultivate among staff in order to ensure your LMS system functions smoothly.  

If your staff does not have the essential skills, you will have to consider hiring new employees with those skills or invest in on-the-job training.

  1. Be up-to-date with competitor offerings

Another way you can approach to purchase the right LMS tool is to stay abreast with competitor offerings. This will help you get a good idea on the features they provide and whether they will give you a competitive advantage.

It is important to note, however, that imitating their value-offering entirely will not be useful in differentiating you from them. This is why you should only consider features that can add value to your own services.

  1. Decide if you need a cloud based solution is for you

You might also want to decide between a cloud-based solution and an on-premises one. Each has its own advantages, which is why the right choice will depend on your short-term and long-term objectives. Cloud LMS are currently a major trend in the industry and many institutions that use such solutions are able to benefit from greater data storage and flexibility benefits, along with lower operating costs and better maintenance.

On-premises LMS tools, on the other hand, can be more beneficial in terms of giving you greater control of your data and will not be disruptive as a cloud-based one. You need to choose one that best fits your organizational requirements so that you can provide a comprehensive learning experience.

  1. Determine what additional technical capabilities you require

There are many technical capabilities you will need to choose from to ensure that you can provide an effective learning experience. Many LMS tools provide ecommerce integration services that can enhance your technical educational offering. You can also choose mobile accessibility so that your students and customers will be able to have all learning modules and course details at the click of a button, essential for those who are constantly on the go and need quick solutions to keep them updated.

Other features include gamification, social media learning, and video-based learning. Gamification and social media learning, for instance, can provide a much more competitive approach to learning. Students can score points and commit their time and effort in outpacing one another.

Ecommerce integration, whereas, is suited to those who wish to sell their eLearning courses to students. In this case, it is vital that all the important details are sought such as the type of payment infrastructure provided, the number of promotions that can be given, and what type of plug-ins and add-ons can be supported.

  1. Do a thorough evaluation of the LMS vendors

Doing a comprehensive background check on an LMS vendor is extremely important. An LMS vendor needs to have the right amount of expertise, skill-set, experience, and qualifications in delivering quality LMS tools to clients. But, in an industry dominated by dozens of vendors, it can be very difficult to ascertain they are a right fit for your organization.

This is why you need to keep your eyes open for reviews from past customers and how they rate their service, functionality, and flexibility of use. You should also check that the customer is in a market or sector similar to yours as this will give you a much better idea of whether its LMS offering will be beneficial for you.

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