However, we’ve all had that moment when Aunt Tilly presents you with the sweater you wished for, and you’re excited until you realize it’s Hawaiian print and not blue like you’d hoped for. You don’t want the same thing to happen when selecting a new learning platform. If a learning management system (LMS) is on your wish list for the New Year, remember to be specific in what exactly it is you’re looking for. An endless number of opportunities and vendors means that there are plenty of things to consider. New technology might come with a price tag, but often, a lot of time and resources also goes into training both administrators and users, in some cases leading to month-long transition periods. How do you decide what’s the best fit for your organization and minimize the time spent on getting up and running? Well, to help you figure it out we’ve put together some questions to keep in mind when defining your LMS wish list for 2018:
Time is money. This holds especially true for technology implementations. A crucial factor is figuring out how long introducing a brand-new platform will take and the associated costs – both money and resources. To ensure that your selected LMS is actually rolled out in 2018 it is important to analyze and understand your existing environment and how the LMS would fit into it. If the LMS integrates seamlessly into your familiar environment you can save time on setting up the system, as well as cutting down on the amount of time spent on training administrators and front-end users.
Determining a realistic budget towards a new training system will help you eliminate vendors and narrow down your search. Don’t waste your time and valuable company time looking at solutions that are outside of your price range. You should be aware that vendors have different pricing solutions and you want to make sure you’re paying for quality – the most expensive solution might not be the best fit for you and the one that is below your budget may be too good to be true! Make sure to ask for a quote with the same specifications, factoring in that you may want to add users in the future, to ensure a realistic overview. Additionally, keep in mind that the LMS should grow and evolve organically to match company growth. It therefore needs to be scalable and should adapt to a changing business environment: processes should be automated, onboarding and off-boarding must happen quickly and efficiently, and when hiring new employees, the LMS should be the center of knowledge and training. Your LMS needs to evolve as your business evolves, continuously adding value to support organizational performance and reaching business goals.
Technology constantly needs to be updated to keep up with the changing work environment. The same goes for a LMS. Does the vendor have a HelpDesk or forum you can access to help you troubleshoot issues? What are response times? Is additional training offered? Does the vendor have a customer team designated to support your specific needs? Or, are a certain amount of support hours offered as part of the solution? If you’re a small to mid-sized business that is looking to grow you will need to determine what resources you have available to allocate to LMS support if it’s not offered by the vendor.
Make a list of the programs already being used within your organization or department, and consider which of these you’ll need to integrate with your LMS. For example, a HRIS system or, if your employees are already using Office 365 having the option to integrate your LMS into this well-known platform. The same practice should be applied for existing training content. Not all LMSs offer the same flexibility when it comes to content integration and creation. If you already created a good amount of training in-house, or have purchased them from a third party you need to make sure that there is a way to easily move it all over into the new home for learning.
You can design a system that has the exact design and functionality that you need. If internal branding is important, you’ll have to keep this in mind when hunting for the perfect solution as customization can turn out to be a costly affair. Find a vendor that provides a solution where it’s easy to add logos, your own color scheme and other branding and design elements to create the look and feel that best matches your brand.
To ensure a successful LMS integration in an organization where your employees are predominately on the road or working from a satellite office mobile capability will be of the essence. While you may have a main office where leaners are primarily situated, many employees have flexible work schedules and therefore appreciate the same with regards to their learning platform. Is the platform able to support them from wherever and whenever they need it?
Do you want learners to be able to communicate with instructors or with other learners? Depending on your preference some vendors provide email integration, others in-app chat function and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams are also available. It’s important to consider which communicative form will encourage collaboration and support the best learning process in your organization.
There are so many things to consider before implementing a new LMS – we’ve only touched the tip of the ice berg – nevertheless, the above questions will help you determine what LMS to add to your wish list for 2018 and ensure that you get what you wished for instead of that Hawaiian print sweater. Ultimately, it depends on your business needs and the capabilities you have. These questions are the first step to understanding your existing environment and where you want to be in the future.
Is your organization already using the Office 365 platform? LMS365 provides a seamlessly integrated modern learning platform which is easy to use and quick to deploy. Try it out today – get your free trial!