A Complete Guide to Buying The Right LMS – Part 2

Previously, we tried helping our friends from L&D all across through our learning management system buying guide (Part 1), by focusing on reviewing a few popular ones.

But not all companies can afford buying these learning management systems. Also, the competition is heating up in this sector and more than a few new comers are coming up – raising investment, providing killer features, stealing away business from under the noses of the goliaths of the Learning Management System industry – all of it at a fraction of the usual cost!

Hence, in continuation of our endeavor in helping you choose a Learning Management System that is a perfect fit for your organization, we are listing down some hard questions that you can ask from your prospective vendors when deciding to purchase.

These questions are designed to cut through the swag – the swanky presentations, the contorted industry trends, the product demonstrations – and get you straight to the facts. Here we go!

1. Is this Learning Management System suitable for the people in my organization?

“One-size-fits-all” is a myth in case of learning management systems. Every organization is unique with specific requirements, and so is yours.

– What is the ratio of on-field and in-office employees in your company?

– Do they require more hands-on training or information delivery?

– Should they be able to set their own learning pace or not?

– Do they require a lot of peer and trainer support?

– What is the primary device they would prefer to consume trainings on?

– Is the Learning Management System compatible with the existing IT systems in your organization?

Suggestion:

It becomes important to identify your audience, your core learning objectives and clearly list down what you’re trying to achieve before exploring learning management systems. The must have for a Learning Management System is to be accessible via multiple platforms, whether by desktop or laptop computer with an Internet connection, or by smartphone or tablet. If you have a global audience, choose a Learning Management System that includes versions in multiple languages.

2. How difficult it is to get my trainers on board? Can I see the admin dashboard?

You want to get a Learning Management System, to make your existing system efficient. It is rendered useless if your trainers hesitate to use it. You should be clear on how this platform would empower your trainers.

Suggestion:

Knowing the specific talent and skill sets of your Learning and Development team will enable you to choose an learning and engagement platform that has the functionality and creative control you want, and the usability you need. The best way to validate the same is to make your team (at least all key members) try out a demo, maybe get a sample course up and experience the training and engagement platform. They’ll thank you for it, and you’ll get a clearer picture of the overall organisational needs.

3. How good are the navigations for the user? Can I try it?

All said and done, your employees are already assigned with competitive targets, tough deadlines, and are motivated to achieve them. If you do not give them an easy experience to get to the training, interesting and engaging content, and align their trainings with their deliverables at work – nobody would actually use it. Be sure to get that right. This is what will help you retain your employees on the LMS platform you eventually choose.

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Suggestion:

Try it out and ensure the navigation is effortless, intuitive and is customizable to remove all unnecessary features. If you simply take the salespersons’ word for the system being usable and have never done any observational user testing for the LMS, then you are only going to end up frustrating your teams.

4. We have some specific requirements in mind. Can you fulfil them?

Like I mentioned earlier, “one size fits all” is a myth. So make sure that the LMS lets you customize and offers the flexibility to get molded according to your organizational processes.

Suggestion:

Customization should be a non-negotiable component of an eLearning system. It equips you to take charge of your site’s functionality and administration.

– Look for an LMS that can be 100% white labelled and also allows you to customize your URLs along with a good support package.

– Be sure of how often you will need help and in what capacity.

– Look for a system that provides 24/7 hour or around the clock technical support for both you and your students, especially at the start of the implementation period.

– When choosing an LMS partner, question – are these partners going to charm you during the sales process, but then leave you hanging when it comes to support?

5. What kind of data/reports do you provide in real-time?

Here is why this is the most important thing – you set up your LMS, send out the invites and people do not turn up.

You need to know – who did not turn up, did the invite go to them or not. In case they did turn up, you need to know – who turned up, did they complete it, did they like it, did they learn, what more do they need – and a million other questions that cannot be answered without data.

Here is an example of a user level report as generated by Capabiliti’s learning and engagement solution

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Suggestion:

Make sure you’re clear on what data you need. Being able to identify what you need will help you identify an LMS solution that works. You’ll want an LMS that offers you learner’s data tracking, so that you can gauge learner performance and determine if any areas of your eLearning course needs to be fine-tuned, and how the users can be engaged further.

Capabiliti helps you implement the Kirk Patrick’s model of training effectiveness. See how.

To sum it all up:

Knowing your requirement is a must. Trying it out from the trainers and user point of view (through different access levels) is an absolute must. It should be customizable and should offer great tech support (not all organizations are good at handling new tech).

Having said that, needs often change once an LMS has been chosen and implemented, and what might initially seem like a must-have may fall way down the priority list as administrators begin to really understand the platform. The level of customization allowed in your LMS might see you through in such a situation.

Choose an LMS partner who has plans to develop the product further, either based on your needs or driven by an innovative and well-thought-through roadmap.

And finally, choose an LMS platform that lets you measure the effectiveness of your training initiatives.

With these questions, you are ready to go LMS-shopping! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!


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