10 things to consider when selecting an LMS [White-Paper]

10 things to consider when selecting an LMS [White-Paper]

Posted on May 20, 2015
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With all the jargon and people in the marketplace offering you a variety of learning options, it’s important to have a clear idea on what you want to achieve before beginning your search.

To help with this, we’ve put together a list of the 10 things we’d suggest were most important based on the things we’ve seen go right (and wrong) over the years. 

 

1. All aboard?  

Before doing anything else, make sure you know who needs to be involved with the decision-making process. Obviously this will depend upon the size of the organisation but it’s been pretty common for people to miss this step and then it’s only after devoting a whole heap of time/energy that you realise that: 

  • Your organisation already has something that can do what you want 
  • You’ve broken some procurement rules on tendering so won’t be able to continue 
  • No one consulted IT, so now you can’t  log in to the site as the emails have been junked or the site is blocked 

(If you’re thinking these things are rare, you’d be surprised: they’re actually pretty common).

2. Identify the goal 

You know you need (or, sometimes, want) training but I’d suggest that you have a clearer goal in mind. After all, if you don’t knowwhat results you want, and what kind of things you need your LMS to do, you’ll find it hard to know which system will help you achieve your goal.  For example: 

  • We need each department to be a separate group on the system 
  • I need training on X to fulfil a legal requirement; or  
  • We want to increase the level of collaboration  between employees 

Knowing your goal also gives you a way to measure success ie it’ll be when that goal has been achieved.  

3. Who are your learners?  

I’m not suggesting that you compile the list of names and email addresses before you’ve even got your learning in place, but rather this is about thinking of the best way for your people to learn, for example: 

  • Is everyone office-bound? If so, mobile might be less important but if you run an outward bound centre then everyone’s always going to be off in the wilderness somewhere and, in which case, you’ll  need  offline mobile access 
  • How comfortable are they with tech? If anything more than 2 clicks to get into the learning will be challenging, find a system that’ll give you the learning in 2 clicks 
  • What browser(s) or operating system are people using? Check the fine print of the LMS – most won’t support all browsers equally. Don’t get caught out with one that will only do everything on Windows and Internet Explorer if you’ve got an office full of Chrome addicts 
  • What type of job do they do? Are we talking competitive, ambitious sales people? If so, go big and bold in the messages and competition – they need it to buy into the system. Creatives? Find something visual and aspirational. A mixture? Find something that makes it easy for people to choose how they want it to be.

4. What you NEED the system to do 

Any learning provider, who has any hope of being successful, will be able to tell you about all the amazing features their system will offer and the tremendous benefits you’ll then receive.It’s exciting to imagine all the opportunities that might be your organisation. In the midst of this excitement, it’s easy to lose sight of what you need, so having a clear (and common) understanding of what the system must do ensures you get all of that, and then some really fun stuff on top. (Or this is what I get told in the office when I’m getting carried away with my latest amazing new find…the guy doing the telling is a clever chap, though, so I think we should listen to him). 

5. Quality of learning 

I’m hoping that it’s a safe assumption that you’re not just looking to present people with information but that you’re actually aiming to provide them with a quality way of learning. There are certain marks of quality for most things, but I’ve not yet found an accreditation for a quality, engaging learning experience that offers the learner all they need to stay engaged and take on board the learning. My advice? Set the bar high, don’t settle and think back to who your learners are. 

6. Mobile options 

There’s a clear reason that Google are prioritising mobile-friendly sites in their search rules: mobile browsing exceeded pc browsing for the first time in history last year. And, in particular, mobile apps: 89% of people’s time spent on media is through apps and only 11% through mobile web. So, where will your learners be? In apps. How is most mobile learning delivered? Mobile web. How to be successful? Find a provider offering an app instead. 

7. Support  

Whenever you start something new, you’re likely to find yourself needing to ask someone who knows more than you questions about how to do things. We all have a preference on how we do this: asking a real person via live chat, email, phone or using a help centre full of rich, correct and useful text and video that explains everything you need to know. 

8. Smooth transition 

There’s a good chance that you’ve already been doing some training in your organisation: face-to-face, sharing some handouts, other e-learning, watching videos on YouTube, on the job learning and, as such, you’ll have records. It’s difficult to keep track of all this activity if you’ve got records in different places so identify a system where you can upload these records to join your new records on your future LMS. After all, storing learning data is at the heart of what an LMS offers you. 

9. Personalised Branding 

The ability to brand the system will offer you a range of benefits, around two broad themes: 

  1. We like what we know: we quickly identify with ‘our’ way of doing things, it becomes familiar and it seems jarring if we step out of that environment.  

  2. Security: we, or our systems on our behalf, are being increasingly savvy in terms of filtering out information that can’t be verified as safe. Bearing in mind that it’s a near inevitability that learners will be greeted to the system by email, it needs to be clear that those emails are ‘yours’ and thereafter safe to use 

10. Hosting  

Let’s be clear, I’m no hosting genius so please don’t expect this paragraph to be full of technical wizardry. It’s written from the perspective of someone who finds the experience of clicking on a button only to get an endless ‘loading’ response one of the biggest disappointments in modern tech. That’s because it’s something that you can easily do something about. For my part, if someone isn’t talking to you about hosting as part of their solution then you’re talking to someone who hasn’t prioritised quick loading times and responsive reports or planned for their system accommodating 1000s of your users all logging in on the day their training needs to be completed (which, let’s face it, we know is a very real possibility). 

 

Download our free planning guide here to help you through this process or get in touch with any questions.

Or, if you want to see us to put our money where our blog is, ask us about the hosting for our system by clicking here.

 

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