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Best Practices for Selecting an LMS

Selecting an LMS is a big decision. Check out our best practices for when you make your decision!

Selecting an LMS

Selecting an LMS is a big decision. There’s the financial aspect. The time you’ll put into implementing the platform – adding courses, creating content. The more technical aspects – integrating with other systems, setting up eCommerce. It’s not a decision taken lightly.

Whether you are getting ready to select your first LMS, or are looking to make a switch, there are some guidelines to follow to ensure you make the best decision for your organization.

Consider Your LMS Needs

Why are you going through this process in the first place? Has your organization finally decided it’s time to take learning and training online? Are you looking to monetize your content? Provide better offerings and tracking for your users, so sites like YouTube and Vimeo may not be working for you anymore? Or are you facing challenges with your current LMS and are looking for other options?

Whatever the case may be, make sure to involve stakeholders from various departments that are or will be playing a part in the implementation and success of the LMS. Their opinions are important and will offer valuable insight during your needs assessment.

Outline Requirements

Okay, so you know what you need from an LMS now, but how does that translate into requirements when it comes to features and processes? What are you looking to provide your users? What kind of functionality is necessary for the backend administration? Will you need to integrate with other sites? Develop a list of all of these requirements, which could be anywhere from 25 to over 50, and have the list handy for any calls or demos you have with potential LMS providers.

In addition to features and functionality, another requirement you must consider is budget. It’s important to have a budget in mind when you begin narrowing down the LMS providers you would like to evaluate, as pricing can vary widely.

Let the Vetting Process Begin!

You have your needs and requirements outlined, now it’s time to start exploring your options! First, take your longer list of requirements and determine a “Top 10” type of list – what are the requirements that are absolutely necessary, deal breakers if the LMS provider does not have them?

Depending on your organization’s needs you will also want to consider what each providers’ implementation plan and onboarding process looks like, as well as customer support (for both you, the client, and your end users).

From there, it’ll be important to actually see the product you may be purchasing, so you’ll want to make sure that each LMS provider you are evaluating can provide a demo and/or a trial of the platform.

The Assessment Stage

Once you’ve determined the LMS platforms you’d like to evaluate, you’ll want to follow a similar process with each.

  • Most likely each LMS provider will want to have a call to qualify YOU first. This helps them determine if you are a good fit for them while you are trying to determine if they are a good fit for you!
  • From here you’ll move on to a more in-depth call and presentation – not only do you want to learn about the features and functionality of the LMS but you’ll want to learn more about the company as well – how long have they been in business, are they seeing continued growth and success, can they share any client success stories, etc.
  • The next step will be to see a demo of the platform. Don’t be afraid to dive and ask specific questions based on your top requirements. Make sure you evaluate the platform from both an administrative and end-user perspective – both are very important!
  • After the demo, some providers will offer a free trial or sandbox platform for a limited time. While watching a demo can be helpful, nothing is as good as jumping in their yourself! Allow yourself some time to play around in the platform as an end user and to perform some tasks as an administrator. Is it easy for the end user to navigate the site? Is it easy for you to accomplish the necessary tasks as an administrator? Make sure to note down any questions or challenges you have along the way.
  • Demos and sandboxes are great, but nothing is as good as hearing from another person’s experience. Ask for testimonials, case studies, read reviews and maybe even reach out to a few references. See what everyone else is saying about their LMS experience!
  • This isn’t necessarily the last thing to do during an assessment, it can come up at any point along the way, but it is extremely important! You don’t want to find yourself with your final two platforms in mind only to find out one is well over your budget!

Decision Time 

You’ve done it all. You’ve outlined your needs and requirements, heard presentations, viewed demos, tried out sandbox accounts, discussed costs. Now it’s time to circle back with those stakeholders who have been with you since the beginning of the process and make a decision on who you’ll be moving forward with!

At Blue Sky eLearn, we understand that choosing your LMS is a big decision and we are here for you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a call to discuss!

 

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