Though a Learning Management System is often a major investment, the right LMS or learning portal can cut down on future training costs, and eliminate the need to pay consultants or instructors to train. Implementing an LMS is a strategic investment that can help you take full advantage of the benefits of your company’s training program.
Of course, with the market growing so quickly, there are a lot of options out there to choose from. Hunting for the perfect LMS to fit your business needs can be time consuming and stressful. With all the different types of technology and features offered, it’s hard to know where to start.
Here are 5 tips to choose the right LMS or learning portal for you.
1. Consider Your Needs
Before you start shopping for a Learning Management System, the first thing to do is consider the needs of your business. Who are you hoping to teach and what are their learning objectives? What skill sets are you hoping to improve? What kind of end result are you hoping to implement? Will you be training the whole team simultaneously? A clear idea of your learning goals will make it easier to find an LMS or portal that can contribute most efficiently to your needs.
After figuring out your learning objectives and course logistics, the next step is to consider your audience. A good understanding of who will be receiving your training, how many users you will have, and what kind of content will be most effective is the best way to make sure the content delivery matches your learners’ needs.
2. Find A Good Fit
With your learners and their needs in mind, next up is evaluating technical considerations and limitations. Consider what type of content you’re hoping to exhibit (audio, video, interactive activities, PDF documents, PowerPoint presentations), and how your users will be accessing it. You want a Learning Management System that matches the skill level of your administrators. Too complex, and the cutting edge features you purchase might be going to waste, too simple and your administrators won’t be able to use their full potential. Striking a good balance is key.
With technological fit in mind, review the support services offered for any learning management system you consider. If you make the right choice, you likely won’t be using support very often, but you’ll want good support when you need it to save you a headache later.
3. Set Feature Priorities
The LMS market is growing, and technology is changing every day. With a myriad of services and features available, it’s important to know which ones to prioritize.
Some examples of features you might want to keep in mind include: discussion boards or forums, test/assessment capabilities, enhanced security measures, grading/scoring capabilities to track progress, data tracking, and automated user functions (such as alerts). Prioritize those which most directly benefit your business. Which features will be most useful in meeting the objectives you’ve set for your learners?
4. Plan For The Future
Implementing a new Learning Management System is a major financial decision. For the best strategic choice, consider the scope of your training, and any potential future needs. Is there future business or expansion you need to account for? What about the new systems you hope to implement? Will the LMS you’re considering now be able to serve your objectives for the next several years? If the features or technology you have your eye on will be obsolete before you can use them to their full potential, they’re not worth the investment. Think strategically, and consider how your business and training needs may grow.
Another important question to consider is how adaptive you need your training to be. What kind of maintenance might your business need to perform (and pay for) to keep the portal or Learning Management System running over the years? These are all important questions to consider as you’re comparing your options.
5. Try It Yourself
Reading through lists of features will let you know what capabilities the Learning Management System you’re considering has to offer, but nothing can compare to experiencing them first-hand. Ask for a demo, or, when possible, a free trial of the LMS or portal you’re considering. There is no better way to get a feel for what using the system will actually be like than exploring it yourself. A trial can give you a chance to test the setup in the context you will be using it, giving you an opportunity to note any potential problems that might arise before you invest.
With these tips in mind, you can break down the daunting task of sorting through LMS vendors in a way that prioritizes your needs first. The right LMS or learning portal will open up all kinds of doors to create your ideal eLearning experience.
Want to read about other features learning portals can help you implement? Download this guide to how you can enable personalization and accelerate learning with a portal.