Shopping for a LMS to complement your training can be a daunting task. Here are some recommendations to ensure an efficient selection process.
Learning Management Systems (LMS) enable organizations to efficiently deliver blended learning to their employees as part of a larger training and development strategy. The inherent dependence on technology and mobile tools has changed the way LMS are designed, offering more accessible and functional platforms to deliver training to learners. Today, there are so many options to choose from, and in 2018, the LMS market is expected to grow into a $7.8 billion industry. With the vast array of options available, how can companies make the most out of these offerings and find a match for their organization? Here’s a quick reference on how to go about selecting an LMS for workplace learning and development.
Identify your training requirements via a training needs analysis. Before taking any major steps in training, companies must first and foremost do a critical analysis of their business processes and employees that make up these processes. This method is called training needs analysis, wherein training functions and HR managers determine the pain points in the process and skill gaps among employees. This method helps ensure that training will be aligned with the overall business objective. Once the training needs analysis is completed, the company should get a clear idea of the training requirements, upon which they can analyze whether LMS can meet these needs.
Review the LMS features. Not all LMS are created equal. There will be LMS that offer a wide array of features that may or may not be required by the client. Some features may be necessary, but might be presented in a way that is too complicated for users. Note that some complex features might make it more difficult for users to adapt, while unnecessary features will make for additional cost. Use the training needs analysis to guide you through the selection process and weed out functionalities that serve no purpose to the training.
Take advantage of free trials and demos. Providers often offer free trials and demo periods for companies shopping around for an LMS. Take advantage of these offerings to get a better understanding of the features and functionalities of the LMS. From the look and feel down to the content and reporting, free trials give a first-hand experience of what it will be like for your learners to use the LMS. It will also give a more in-depth look at each feature, and not just the concepts presented during sales calls.
Ensure its accessibility. Because today’s workplace learning is driven by technology, it’s important for an LMS to be conveniently accessible on more than one platform. Most of not all LMS are either mobile app-based or come with a mobile counterpart for access through more portable devices other than computers. This addresses the need for learners to access their learning materials anytime and anywhere. IDC estimated that at least 75% of Europe’s workforce will be mobile by next year. A person’s keen connection to their mobile device is an opportunity to deliver learning right to their fingertips—an opportunity that companies must take advantage of and can definitely benefit from.
Confirm integration capabilities. Today’s LMS are integrable, giving clients more room to implement single sign-on (SSO) technologies that make it easier for users to login and access their learning materials. Such integration capabilities enable LMS to be more flexible and recognizes the fact that in this highly data-driven world, LMS must be capable of communicating with other services. Clients should look for API capabilities that allows the LMS to communicate and share data with other programs or systems outside of its immediate technical environment. Such capabilities will make for a smooth integration process with existing LMS or training modules.
Procuring the right LMS is highly dependent on a needs analysis. But keep in mind that LMS features should be able to address such corporate learning needs. In order to achieve meaningful training results, LMS should be able to support the learning goals and training objectives and meet the needs of the company through its capabilities.