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How to Choose the Best LMS

How many times has it happened that you visited a retail shop with a clear understanding of buying something only to reach home and regret spending beyond the budget for a product that was not needed in the first place? In recent years, different LMS platforms have marketed themselves as all-inclusive, offering a wide range of features. As a result, it can get painfully confusing to choose the best LMS platform.

466 06/07/2020
Content and Marketing Manager, Raccoon Gang

Dmitry is passioned about gamification and immersive learning techniques. He has been the content writer and editor at RG blog since 2018.

How to Choose the Best LMS

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Stats reveal that many end-users end up investing in the wrong LMS platform. According to The Learning Guild, around one-third of surveyed participants expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of their LMS platforms. Although there can be many reasons behind this sentiment, one thing is for sure anorganization must have a clear view of its objectives. They should know what holds more priority and make sure that the LMS platforms address those needs to the letter. 

The time and money investments that companies make in LMS are massive. Since there are hundreds of LMS on the market, the choice to go with anyone of them can seem quite daunting. This is why it is always recommended to have a well-crafted plan when considering an LMS.  

You can clarify your doubts by following this guide. It shows you how to select the ideal LMS platform for your organization. In this way, you can avoid making the perennial mistake that is often done by those in your place: choosing an LMS that doesn’t align well with your organization’s needs. 

How to Choose the Best LMS

        1. Know Your Demographics

While considering an LMS, delve in your learners’ minds—who they are, what drives them and how can you integrate them with the LMS. Here’s what you should take into account:

  • What is the age of your learners? Traditionally speaking, older workers don’t value modern collaboration tools. On the other hand, younger employees are likely to integrate social features into their learning and training experience. 

  • How are the skill-sets of your employees? Learners often have a different baseline level of knowledge. You don’t want them to go through unneeded training. This is one of the biggest advantages you can build personalized paths for your users. 

  • Will learners require extensive training for the LMS use?

        2. Review the Learning Requirements

Before you review the LMS, you can have a clear-cut objective of what you anticipate at the end of the learning sessions. For example, your company is providing a crash course on React JS, a popular JavaScript framework for your mobile developers. The trainees can belong to your company’s branches that spread throughout the world. The LMS can have features such as user registration, display a quiz test, set a timer for the test, navigate through multiple courses, and offer certifications. There is little to no personal interaction required for these functionalities. Your users can easily log on to their systems and learn by themselves. Since they have a development background, they are not reliant on the instructor. 

Let’s consider another situation, think about an LMS, which is required for an animation course. In such a scenario, there is a higher level of interaction between the tutor and the student. Ideally, your LMS has to enable the exchange of sketches, sharing comments, and uploading the assignments. Without interaction, such a course can prevent your learners from getting acquainted with the relevant concepts. 

Another point to consider is that the learner might not have WiFi or internet access 24/7. Therefore, you need to offer a download option so they can gain offline access to your course. In a nutshell, getting the hang of your target audience’s needs is a thought process that can help you choose the best LMS.  

        3. Check the Pricing Structure

The budget plays a crucial role in choosing an LMS. Each vendor sets their pricing model, based on their brand reputation, features, and other factors. Some LMS platforms have hidden costs that are uncovered too late, after purchase. Therefore, actively look for platforms that have a well-defined pricing model. Even surveys suggest that an LMS with a clear and reasonable pricing model attracts buyers. 

It’s not recommended to compare two LMS platforms on the basis of their licensing policy and pricing as alone as there are numerous variations. Some LMSs require the learners to pay for the course at the registration time via online payment, whereas others have feature-based pricing. Here are some of the popular pricing models:

  • Per-user pricing

  • Lifetime licensing

  • Batch discounts

  • Annual/monthly subscription

The onus is on you to find extra or hidden charges that are incurred over crossing a limit.

        4. Assess Content Compatibility 

Each employee responds differently to information due to varied preferences. Therefore, you need to add content that can cater to everyone.  

How complex do you want your course curriculum to be? You can deliver online content in several formats. Consider whether you are going to need PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, Flash files, or spreadsheets. It’s possible that you might benefit more from audios, videos, and webinars. You can even go for a blended approach. 

Before taking the final call, get feedback from your training department. Their visions and ideas help you to come up with a more calculated decision. Run online surveys and collect insights from focus groups. In this way, you can grasp the training content that is ideal for your team’s needs. Moderns LMS is powerful and flexible enough to handle all types of formats. Still, reach out to your LMS vendor and verify if they can accommodate your content requirements. 

        5. Look for Reporting Analytics

An LMS can turn out to be an excellent background monitoring tool for the administrator. It helps them determine the learning tendency of their users. For this purpose, you can access in-depth quiz reports. Knowing the number of attempts taken by a learner to pass the quiz can be valuable. These reports are generally grouped as:

  • Course Reports – Enrollment, schedule, assessment 

  • User Reports – User progress active users, and performance comparison

  • Custom Reports – Overall course report by batch or location

  • Organization Training – Customized to fulfill your requirements

Analytics is common in LMS, but companies need to adopt a bolder approach and avoid using meaningless metrics. Find LMS that can provide analytics on adoption patterns. It should provide not only provide data on time-spent and completion but also outcome assessment and learning behavior analysis. 

Choose an LMS that identifies and compares non-linear and linear behavior. It should show whether learners are bouncing around a subject or are becoming more interested in a certain topical area. It should also offer insights on the quizzes or course types that are being completed by the learners. 

        6. Define Criteria to Shortlist Platforms

When you begin to shortlist LMS that seems to offer all the desirable features, it can be challenging to pick between the good ones. Apply a scorecard strategy to compare LMS and use an aggregated NPS for quantifying intangible criteria. The NPS score is a rating ranging between 0-10 (0 = extremely unlikely and 10 = would recommend). Each of these criteria has to be assessed in terms of 0-10 .i.e. how likely is it that you recommend the LMS to another company? 

  • Human factors – Evaluate the vendor’s relationship with you and how they have responded, especially their commitment to give information to your requests and their understanding of your requirements. Before buying the product, this can be a good indicator of what’s likely to come. 

  • Sector experience – Check other clients belonging to your sector, especially those with a reputable brand. Check the types of their training audience. For instance, if too many companies seem to invest in an LMS platform to provide a sales training program, you should note that. It’s likely that excels in educating salespeople and is generating good results. 

  • Roadmap – The roadmap reflects if the vendor has a viable plan to combat any weakness or adjust any functionality. 

        7. Go for a Mobile-Friendly Design

No one can dispute the usage of smartphones and tablets. According to a study, American adults spend an average of 2 hours and 51 minutes on mobile media. A mobile version of an LMS can ensure that your target audience can learn from anywhere at any time. While many LMS platforms do have their mobile applications, frustration-free designs are a rarity. 

Mobile design enables enhanced learning across multiple contexts through content and social interactions. This makes them more engaging and relevant for the learners. Good LMS platforms tend to produce excellent results on smaller screens. Therefore, you have to ensure that your LMS is accessible and functional, just like its desktop variant on mobile so your target audience can have an easy time  accessing courses from any device. 

        8. Consider Instructor Student Interaction

Can the instructor and students communicate with each other? Can the student upload assignments on the LMS? Communication is essential in an LMS. Both parties prioritize an effective medium so they can talk to each other with ease. 

Communication can also include integration from social media platforms. Since both students and faculty spend a huge chunk of their daily time on social media, this inter-platform communication can generate desirable outcomes. 

        9. Develop a Training Strategy

It’s a common practice to develop your training strategy after selecting an LMS. However, it can create a conflict between your training program and LMS. Work on the training strategy first so you can use it to find an LMS that can address your pain points and align well with your strategy. 

        10. Request for a Demo

Go through your training goals and needs and create a list that contains use cases for the LMS platform. Moreover, prepare a list of questions that you will ask the representative of the LMS vendor. Assemble a small audience that comprises of all types of your learners and have them try the LMS. Many LMS platforms provide free trials for at least a week or a month. Register on the sites of the shortlisted LMS platforms. 

Write down the possible use cases and scenarios and navigate the platform. For starters, test the following:

  • How is the course enrollment process?

  • How does the user deletion functionality work? 

  • Is it easy to download the reports? 

You are expected to run into a few roadblocks. Contact the support team and test their response—is it quick enough? How efficient were they in resolving your issues? 

If you feel that there are too many problems in the beginning, then it’s a red flag, and you should take it seriously. Rather than forcing your users to access such a complex platform on a daily basis, try another LMS platform

How to Choose the Best LMS

Final Thoughts

You should take advantage of this opportunity of choosing an LMS platform to assess your present business workflows and modify them as desired. An LMS platform can help you to gain automation and productivity, along with the following benefits:

  • Your training costs are significantly reduced.

  • Your workforce is showing more interest in learning and development. 

  • You can use the tracking feature to manage regulatory and compliance requirements with ease. 

  • You can utilize the LMS for skill gap analysis, resource planning, and succession planning.

Nowadays, LMS has become the backbone of L&D for the corporate sector and continues to soar. Many companies report at least 50% cost savings by adopting an online LMS that can offer blended learning

By following the requirements mentioned above, you can choose a reliable LMS and take your company to newer heights. 

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