The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to switch their training programs over to eLearning. That clarified the need for learning management systems (LMSs) in the workplace.
An LMS is a great tool designed to streamline the corporate training and development process. It allows employees to get all needed knowledge and skills without being confined to a single place, and lets businesses increase employee competency and thus their effectiveness, without investing lots of time and money.
But how can one choose the right LMS from among the great variety of options available in the market?
Here’s a quick guide that includes the steps you need to take in order to succeed:
Identify your audience
The first thing to do is explore the profile of your learners. Here’s a list of questions you might want to answer:
- How old are your employees?
- Do they have a different baseline level of knowledge?
- How tech-savvy are they and do they need extensive training to use the platform?
- What kinds of devices do they use for the learning process?
- How many employees are you going to train?
Define the requirements
Now that you know your audience, you can define the must-have features that your LMS should have. For example, if your employees aren’t tech geeks, you might want to search for a super simplified and user-friendly solution. Or, if your company is large and/or is growing quickly, you might need a scalable LMS with mass user registration capabilities.
Consider what features your LMS should have. Would you like to transfer all the training to self-paced courses, or are you planning to host webinars as well? Are you going to create various training programs for different departments, branches, or employees? Do you want to keep your learners engaged by incorporating gamification? Do you already have a tool for course authoring or want to create the content right in the LMS?
Next, identify the technical requirements of your future platform. Do you need a cloud-based or hosted solution? How secure should it be? Should it have integration with HR software, CRMs, or any other services? And so on.
In the end, focus on the financial aspect. Find out how much your company is ready to invest in the LMS.
Research the market
Once you’ve defined the system requirements, explore the LMS market. Get started by searching the Internet. There are software and service review websites where you can find the rankings of the best learning solutions and users’ real feedback. This will allow you to create a list of 10-15 solutions you might find suitable.
Another way to search for a platform is to ask your colleagues and friends which LMS they use in their company. This is a great practice because they can share their personal experience and how satisfied they are with the solution they chose.
Explore vendors’ websites
The next step is to explore the vendors’ websites. Learn about the vendors and see if they instill trust in you. Explore the pages with the LMS description and feature overview, see if they provide a knowledge base (product documentation, manuals, video tutorials, etc.), and if these resources are free.
Also, pay attention to tech support terms - what communication channels they use and how quickly they answer. Another important thing to consider is how well vendors handle updates - if they release new features regularly and whether you need to pay extra for it.
At the end of this stage, you’re likely to have a list of 5-7 LMSs that meet your requirements.
Request for a demo
Once you have a list of platforms that you want to see in action, contact the vendors for a demonstration. But beforehand, think of possible use cases - scenarios that will typically be performed by an administrator, an instructor, and a learner. With specific use cases, vendors will be able to demonstrate how a system works according to your needs. Also, prepare a list of questions you would like to ask the vendor.
After you’ve watched the demo, it’s a good idea to sign up for an LMS trial and explore its capabilities on your own. That way, you’ll be able to find out if the platform is sufficiently easy to navigate, if it really has all the necessary options, and make sure that everything works fine.
Are you looking for a learning platform that’s powerful but easy to use? Then check out iSpring Learn LMS. Request a demo or take advantage of its free 30-day trial now!