12 Questions to Ask When Shopping for an LMS

Questions to ask yourself when shopping for an LMS

With hundreds of Learning Management Systems (LMS) out there, you might pull your hair out trying to find the right one for your organization. 

We say, “Love your hair. Stay focused on the great benefits the right LMS will deliver. And remember, when you ask the right questions about your needs, your buying journey becomes so much more efficient and enjoyable.”

Stay focused on why you’re buying an LMS 

Surveys show that millennials consider an employer’s learning and development offer to be their first-choice benefit. So by prioritizing continuous learning in your culture, you sweeten the appeal of your organization, and that helps attract and retain people who seek to grow and will help you grow. 

What’s more, you know that the right LMS will make your Learning and Development program dramatically more efficient to manage while also offering your learners training flexibility and delight. If you’re a leader in a training organization, the right LMS will also help you promote and sell your activities and products so you can scale more easily. 

Keeping these LMS benefits in mind, ask yourself the following 12 questions about your needs for today and tomorrow.

1. What’s the DNA of your company?

Is your organization like a fast-growing teen or has it reached the stable size of maturity? If your organization is growing quickly, you’ll want to choose a system that allows you to enroll new people without increasing your system’s cost per user. 

Are your learners in one location or distributed across time zones? Do their learning needs vary? Are they served by different business systems?

Your LMS needs to connect seamlessly to all the business systems serving your users, and communicate with your respective platforms. If your learners live on the other side of cultural borders, you want to be sure your LMS can easily switch languages and currencies (assuming, of course, you’re selling activities and products).

2. Are you a nation-spanning enterprise or a small and medium-size business?

Just as the needs of adult elephants differ from those of their calves, an organization with thousands of employees in international jurisdictions requires an LMS different from those of a small or medium-sized business.

The “adult elephant” LMS, as it were, needs to deliver features like:

  • Scalability, which offers the functional capacity to accommodate large numbers of users and uses;
  • Distributed administration to enable regional administrators to manage with relative autonomy;
  • Hierarchical management, which empowers the top administrator to manage all the divisions, departments, groups, locations, licenses, authentications, and supervisors as well as to distribute administrative rights to key people;
  • Adaptability to multilingual environments and different currencies.

3. On-premise or cloud-based? 

Your LMS can live on your own servers (on-premise) or those of your vendor (cloud-based). Here’s why cloud-based solutions are increasingly favoured.

  • You have no IT trouble-shooting or upgrades to deal with.
  • When scaling your Learning and Development activities, your costs are foreseeable and controllable.
  • Your LMS is uniform wherever your people may be located. So the people in your Atlantis office work with the same LMS as your team in Asgard.
  • You get heightened security because the cyber-security people hired by the major cloud providers are (probably) more highly qualified than your own busy IT team.
  • You can access it anytime, anywhere! Maybe you need to check a report quickly while you’re grabbing your morning coffee, or maybe your learners want to do a quick 30-minute lesson while they’re taking the train to work —- all this is possible when your LMS is cloud-based and accessible on any mobile device.

Although an on-premise platform cannot offer most of these advantages, such software could be advantageous if your organization, for example, operates in a highly regulated industry in which data security is extremely important.

4. Does the LMS delight your learners?

Whether you have a dozen in-house learners or thousands both inside and outside your organization, their LMS experience is going to impact every aspect of your ROI in Learning and Development. 

So your LMS interface better please the eye, be intuitive, easy to use, and eliminate any obstacle to learning. If your LMS inspires a spirit of play, you elevate engagement. Look for gamification features like fun dashboards and badges and certificates. Learners love to share about their activity, so ensure that they can post their activity on social media.  

5. Is the LMS responsive to any mobile device?

Your learners are developing their knowledge and skills anywhere, at any time. So your LMS’ design should be responsive to any mobile device.

6. Are the automation features flexible and powerful? 

Managing courses eats up a lot of team time. If you’re assigning people to activities or products or requesting real-time reports from the system, an integrated LMS with flexible automation options and automatic notifications can make these repetitive tasks almost effortless.

7. Are you promoting and selling your activities online?  

When you lead a training organization, meeting your revenue projections may sometimes make you wish for a genie lamp. That’s all the more reason why your LMS should perform like a sales genie to lighten the heavy lifting of promoting and selling your activities and products. Let’s look at how the right LMS can help in the three stages of a sale. 

  • Attract prospects to your storefront

To buy from you, your prospects have to find you first. Is your LMS SEO-optimized?

To be cost-efficient, you want to showcase your courses and instructors online without building a second website. Does the LMS offer a customizable web storefront that’s appealing? 

Enhancing the catalog of your offer with the activities and products of other organizations is an efficient way to scale revenues. Does your LMS facilitate the sharing and licensing of your content? 

  • Enhance sales in the shopping cart

Your online customers expect a convenient, smooth sales transaction. Does the LMS’ web portal make it easy to sell your digital content (courses, videos, audio files, etc.) or physical items like books, instruction manuals, and DVDs? 

Does the shopping cart allow for promotional coupons or gift cards to be added?

  • Turning customers into brand ambassadors

Because your customers already like your products, they can be the best advocates for your organization. Does your LMS enable them to share their activity on social media and, thereby, help build your profile in the community?

8. What level of content-authoring tools do you need?

Before you can sell the course, you’ve got to create it. Do you have easily accessible programmers and designers who can develop your courses for you? 

Or, do you want to eliminate the need for technical skills and simply use an intuitive course-authoring tool that enables you to easily store and assemble course content and create tests and surveys? 

LMSs and third-party course-authoring tools offer a gamut of creative possibilities. Choose the tool that meets your needs.

9. Can you give and get feedback from your learners?

Feedback is essential to the learning experience.

With a modern LMS, you can easily test learners to give them feedback on what they’ve learned. You can create quizzes with different types of questions, and even correct open-ended questions within the platform. 

To continuously improve your learners’ experience, feedback from them is also a must. An easy-to-use survey tool will give you the assessments you need.  

10. What are the reporting and analytics tools like?

With an integrated LMS, your team should have a centralized real-time view of your key performance indicators (KPIs). Is the administrator’s dashboard flexibly configurable? 

Does it allow you to easily manage your activities through handy filters that reveal the information you want? Are powerful real-time reporting and analytics available to help you make better business decisions? Can you export the data to Excel?

11. Is the LMS platform secure?

With all the learner data and eLearning content stored on your LMS, you want peace of mind about the security of your information.

Ensure that your LMS platform is hosted on a secure server and complies with best practices, such as ISO/IEC 27001, GDPR, and others. The applications should use proper authentication and encryption methods to keep your data safe. Your LMS platform should also have a Disaster Recovery plan in place with proper redundancy, backup, and fall-back procedures to keep your operations running. 

12. What is the quality of technical support?

Just as when you move into a new home, the day you acquire your new LMS you’ll need to transfer and re-arrange all the content you had either in your old LMS or scattered among your other business systems.

To make that move as painless as possible, your LMS should be inherently flexible in design. That way it will adapt easily to your organization’s unique structure and integrate seamlessly with your current business systems. Should you hit any bumps in the road, your vendor’s customer and technical support teams should be ready and able to make the transition a smooth one.

Furthermore, an LMS provider, like uxpertise,which can provide various support packages to help you migrate data, input content, customize the functionalities of the platform, or even support your marketing efforts, is definitely a value-add. It’s always advantageous to have these helpful options available!

So before you sign your purchase contract, make sure that the dialogue you’ve had with your LMS partner offers you peace of mind regarding the quality of their support and expertise.

 

Shopping for your LMS shouldn’t lead to a bad hair day. To fine-tune your shopping list, connect with us.

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