There are hundreds of LMSs available on the market, each offering different features and functionalities for workplace learning.

Traditional LMSs were designed to provide courses and content, however as technology and digital has developed, so have learning platforms. Many platforms now focus on agile, on-the-go solutions rather than traditional courses and the market has transformed beyond just the LMS to next-generation platforms and learning experience platforms.

More organisations are choosing to move away from courses and choosing the right LMS is a great place to start to get your employees up-to-speed, reduce L&D costs and improve performance across the entire organisation.

So how do you choose the best LMS for your corporate training? Take a look at the points below to ensure you’re on the right track.

1. Clarify why you need an LMS

When you begin searching for an LMS, it’s important not to let vendors guide you as to what your needs are. Make time to be clear on your objectives with a checklist of what you actually want to achieve from your L&D initiatives and how the LMS can support you with this.

By avoiding this step, you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed or lost in the mountain of features that LMS vendors offer and end up with an LMS that offers numerous features, but none that are beneficial for what you’re trying to achieve.

2. Outline the must-have features

As LMSs have advanced over the years, so have their lists of features. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of different things LMS vendors offer, so it’s important to outline what you actually need from the LMS.

The L&D industry is full of buzzwords and new trends (think gamification, AR, VR etc). Whilst it’s positive that L&D is becoming more modern and digital, often these new features end up just being gimmicks rather than offering any real benefit.

Although these new features may sound impressive and glamorous, they are not for everyone. Instead, look for the features that are fundamental in supporting your corporate training and any additional features should be seen as added bonuses.

If an LMS vendor is pushing a specific feature, ensure they explain how it will specifically help your business and what you’re trying to achieve.

3. Test the LMS and its usability

It’s important to test any potential LMS, as an administrator and as an employee.

The complexity and ease-of-use of the LMS is fundamental when it comes to the selection process, especially if you have employees that are not very technical. You should consider if you will need to train your employees on how to use the platform itself before even beginning their training and the time that will be spent doing that.

You should also consider how easy it is for admin users to add their training materials, track user progress and keep the LMS maintained and updated over time. Have a checklist of the types of different content you require, such as videos or interactive elements. By testing the LMS and its ease of use, you prevent delaying your training initiatives to ensure the user interface and features match your expectations.

At this stage, you should also test its accessibility. How easy is it for staff to log on to the LMS? Do they need a strong internet connection to access the training materials? Is the LMS compatible with mobile devices? Is it web-based, or will employees need to use specific hardware?

Ensure vendors offer you a live demo or free trial to ensure you are able to test every feature before making a decision. Whilst reviews and ratings are useful when it comes to choosing an LMS, they should not be the decision-maker as every organisation is different and your training goals are unique to you.It would be impossible to find an LMS that will be suitable for every single business out there!

4. Learn more about the vendor

Once you’ve tested the LMS and feel happy with what it provides, it’s also important to learn more about the vendor. Consider the level of support the vendor offers, as well as their customer service and existing relationships.

Regardless of how experienced or competent you are, every LMS is different, so it’s inevitable that you will need the help or guidance of the vendor at some point. In these moments you’re going to want a positive relationship with your vendor, one that actually listens to your concerns and addresses them.

Some vendors are mostly concerned about growth and offering their LMS to everyone, even if they aren’t a fit. Look for a vendor that prioritises their customer relationships and are committed to working with you during your initiatives.

5. Determine how the LMS fits into your long-term training goals

Corporate training is a long-term process, so you need to have a clear idea of what your long-term goals are if your LMS is going to support you beyond just the beginning stage.

For example, if your organisation will be expanding significantly in the future you’ll want to have an LMS that will be able to accommodate a larger number of employees. Plus, if you plan to offer a lot more training over time, you need to look for an LMS that lets you add new content easily, to minimise delays or a drop in performance.

At this stage, you should also look at the analytics on offer, as these are fundamental to your long-term training by being able to track performance and monitor your employees’ progress.

Consider the type of information the LMS can track. Do you need it to track scores, attendance, engagement or anything else? Does it allow you to export reports or is it limited to the platform? Take time to check these capabilities to see how they will help you over time.

6. Clarify your budget

The final thing to consider is your budget. A survey of 2,500 companies by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) found that companies that offer comprehensive training generate 218% higher revenue per employee. Technology also saves organisations money by eliminating the need for transportation costs, paperwork, instructor costs, and travel time. But you also need to consider the costs of a poor product and the impact this could have with poor performance, productivity and turnover.

Ensure you’re aware of the overall costs, whether that’s monthly or annual fees, upfront costs, courses or hidden charges and that these match your expectations and requirements.

As you can see, choosing an LMS requires careful planning and consideration. Keep all of these things in mind when you are looking for a new platform and most importantly take your time and test your options before making a decision.

An LMS is a big investment for your business so make sure you are as prepared as possible to ensure you’re making the right choice.

Looking for a practical guide to engage the modern learner? Get the free whitepaper: The Empowered Learner.

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