5 things to pay attention to while choosing an LMS

Nick van Oostrum

We explained what an LMS is exactly in a former blog. According to the American research of Brandon Hall Group’s is 38% of the companies that use an LMS is unsatisfied with the chosen system. That’s quite a high percentage, in our opinion. Choosing the wrong learning platform will eventually costs you a lot of time and money. Finding a good LMS is thus very important. We explain how you can deal with this in the best way. 

Choosing an LMS isn’t a one person job. It’s smart to create a team that represents several departments of the company. Every department uses the LMS in a different way.

Goals

When you’re going to choose an LMS, it’s important to know the needs of your organisation. Which goals do we want to achieve by means of an LMS? Ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. Do you want to educate your personnel continuously or only during certain moments in the year? 
  2. Do you want to train everyone in the same way, or only employees of specific departments? 
  3. How complex is the content you want to present in the LMS?
  4. Are there employees with the needed qualifications and expertise to create new courses? No? Are you planning on hiring professionals or are you looking for an LMS that already offers standard content? 

It’s important that the answers on these questions and the goals you want to achieve are taken as a starting point in choosing an LMS. After this you can continue to the next phase: selecting the most important features which suit your requirements. 

Functionalities and features

Which functionalities and features are needed to make a success of an e-learning depends on the wishes and needs within your organisation. The content differs, but also the methods of learning and the manner in which new material is introduced differs per company.

1. Cloud  based of lokal

Which safety regulations are followed in the organisation? This can vary strongly, depending on the field of the organisation and the internal procedures and rules. Do systems work from their own servers or do they also work from the cloud? The system that works from its own server is perhaps more reassuring, but the design will take longer. An LMS linked to a cloud is set up in a few clicks. Besides, it needs no maintenance and you don’t provide any tasks for the IT-team.

2. User's Interfase

You can choose from the most advanced LMS on the market, but all these corresponding features don’t matter if the interface isn’t convenient to use. Don’t underestimate the importance of the ease of use. It costs more time to create content in a user unfriendly system or to organise the administration. A good user interface and a good navigation motivates the learner to follow the course. This results in better personal performances with a better company performance as a result. That’s why you always should ask for demos or trial accounts of several LMS’s, so you can discover the differences in the ease of use. 

3. The use of mobile devices

You can expect that a great deal of your personnel wants to learn using a mobile device, often a smartphone. A desktop often shows you everything an LMS has to offer. A mobile often displays only a part of this. In general there are three levels in which you can divide LMS’s on mobile devices. 

  1. An LMS on your mobile with which you can only view the basic features, such as results and personal messages. 
  2. An LMS on your mobile in which you can also follow online courses and where you can view instructions.
  3. An LMS on your mobile where you can do all of the above, but also create and manage content. 

Think of what’s the most desired option for the managers and the users and incorporate this in your choice.

4. Statistics

L&D specialists and HR managers love statistics. Numbers give insight and make it easier to keep a finger to the pulse concerning results and progression of employees. Almost all LMS’s have this feature nowadays, but the quality differs. It’s for example very convenient to be able to view individual achievements per specific part, besides general data on achievements of all the employees. Not all LMS’s offer this application. 

It’s important for an HR manager to know the strong and weak spots of the personnel. Statistics on the progress of every individual are also very useful in this. Besides, statistics on the general trend within the organisation are of great value. How many times a certain answer is given to a specific question can be very helpful information for an organisation. The more details the system displays in these data, the better you are able to perceive the lack of knowledge on certain areas. Which topics are often misunderstood by employees and should we therefore reformulate? Which modules and tests are that easy that they aren’t of any value? Which questions often confuse learners? The insight in these relevant data makes the life of HR managers easier. This results in them being able to have a better overview of the learning process and to convert specific findings into action within the organisation.

5. The in- and export of courses and content

There will always remain a change that you need to switch to a different LMS. An LMS that’s the best choice today, is perhaps not sufficient for your needs within two years. In that case it’s convenient that there’s an option to export and import created courses and content to the new system, so your work of the last few years hasn’t been for nothing.

Conclusion

You don’t simply choose an LMS, there a many factors to take into account. Don’t be put off by this. A deliberately made choice is worth the money and the effort and ensures you to achieve your goals faster on the long term.