Identifying and implementing a Learning Management System for your business is a difficult task — not because of a lack of quality systems on offer, but because there are several hundred LMS vendors in the sector.
It is essential to your business growth strategy to clearly align your L&D needs and define your LMS objectives — what you hope to achieve, where you hope to go and how you plan to get there.
8 key things you need to consider when looking for your LMS partner:
1. Understand your employees
As well as aligning your L&D strategy with your business goals, it is important to have a clear understanding of who your audience is because it has a direct effect on the LMS requirements. You need to have a clear picture of your audience age, size and company structure. How will the learners access an LMS, what they will use an LMS for, what type of content they will view?
2. Identify your LMS requirements
There are many advertised functions out there and sometimes it can feel like a minefield of options. The best approach is to look within your organisation and understand your own learning requirements, your company structure and who you need to train.
3. Do you require customisation?
Can the LMS you are considering be customised to support your organisation’s learning goals? Can you create tailored learning experiences to support different business functions, personal career aspirations and localised learning needs?
4. Durability of the LMS
Will the system have longevity in the marketplace and continue to be relevant? Will it be supported with periodic maintenance and upgrades?
5. Extensibility, scalability and adaptability
Does the LMS partner own the source code and ongoing development of the software? Can they show examples where they have tailored the LMS to a client’s specific needs? Also how long have their key clients been with them? Is the system fully scalable to your business needs and roll out requirements, and can they offer advice and support you on every step of the journey?
6. Do you want a cloud-based system
This has reduced ongoing hardware and software cost implications, and ensures that your LMS deployment is quicker as it negates the need for individual machine software installs and updates.
7. Do you need SCORM compatibility?
This approach to learning content development can save you time, money and resources.
8. Mobile learning
This is an ever-increasing demand within the retail and automotive sectors where customer experience is becoming the main brand differentiator. Mobile learning also means your employees can access “just in time” learning content not only at the time of need, but can also download courses to review whenever is convenient for them; whether that’s in the workplace, during the commute or at home.
So what makes a good Learning Management System?
Essentially a good LMS is a platform that has a simple, user-friendly interface and is regularly updated with the right features for your learners’ needs. It should have enough flexibility to be tailored to your company needs and corporate branding as well as supporting the range of learning types for your business. It also should be a secure environment to house confidential data and have a variety of tools to engage learners and support communication.
Plus relevant insight and analytics from your LMS are essential for informed decision-making and ongoing L&D management.
There are many ways to source LMS vendors
- Ask for Learning Management System recommendations;
- Reach out to an LMS market analyst or a software advice company;
- Do the research on your own by looking through the LMS vendors’ websites and speaking to their representatives to compile a Learning Management Systems Comparison.
Call for proposals
Compile an RFP (Request for Proposal) with all the requirements determined and send it to the LMS vendors, then issue your call for proposals outlining your specific needs. Don’t rush evaluating the responses and narrowing the list of submissions. It can be time-consuming but it will save time and energy in the long run.
Finding the right partner
Communicate with a shortlist of vendors to find one that you feel happy working with. Be sure to investigate each company so you can assess their experience, financial stability and their level of customer satisfaction. It is essential they fully understand your requirements so that you can work together to achieve your learning aims.
Ask probing questions about how your proposed partner will handle integration. The best partners will possess complete knowledge of integration methods and how to manage data transfers to and from many systems.
Spend time with the candidates, learn how they think and what their values are. Make sure there is a cultural fit.
Ask what is the onboarding program like, who will be your first point of contact and how can they help you roll out your LMS to ensure maximum adoption rates across your organisation?
The right LMS partner will take the time to understand your business and L&D challenges and will have fully considered your learners’ needs.