Welcome to the presentation on the Do’s and Don’ts of Selecting the Right LMS for Your Organization.
Investing in an LMS is a major decision that an organization needs to make. Organizations look for solutions that address their learning and training requirements when selecting an LMS.
There are many questions that come up in the initial discussions—Should we select proprietary LMSs or should we try open-source? What are the features that we should be looking at? What are the costs involved? Will they meet our specifications?.
Selecting an LMS is not so much about what a Blackboard, Saba, Sumtotal or Moodle CAN DO or NOT DO but about how they can best be customized to cater to our requirements.
In this context, here are some do’s and don’ts that we can keep in mind while selecting an LMS.
Before choosing an LMS provider it is important to understand your training need and learning strategy that you wish to adopt to fulfill the need. What are the functions that you want the LMS to do?—Integrate classroom training, provide certification for mandatory training programs, deliver eLearning programs, and provide a collaborative learning environment by incorporating informal learning?
LMS may be installed and managed by the IT department but it is the L&D department that is its end user. An LMS may have many complex features and options that may not really be required in this context. Therefore, it is important to consult and involve L&D department in all discussions. Document the questions and expectations of key stakeholders so that it can come in handy when checking on the solutions provided by various vendors. It will also ensure that the focus remains on the immediate and basic requirements of the organization, instead of being carried away with the frills and extras that are not immediately needed.
You will be the best person to know your needs and what works for you better than any of the vendors. Therefore, it is a good practice to document your primary requirements in consultation with your training/L&D department. It also serves as a good reference manual for potential vendors who will better understand your essential requirement and provide customized solutions. When introducing LMS for the first time, it is better to go for something that is simple and easy to navigate so that it is not intimidating to a newbie.
Though you start of on a simple and small scale, you may want to expand the use of the LMS in future. You may intend to scale up and choose to extend the online training facility to your employees in other locations. Therefore, choose an LMS that allows you to grow slowly along with your needs and provides the option to scale up as and when required.
A one-time demonstration may not be adequate to understand the suitability of an LMS to your specific requirements. Ideally, it would be a good idea to try out the LMS and its feature to ensure how it fits into your overall organizational set up. A pilot test or trial involving all key stakeholders such as the administrators, a few users and managers is a good idea to assess their comfort level and ease of usability with the interface. Some LMSs may be rigid and may not provide enough room for customization. Even if they do, there may be a lot of vendor administration costs involved. You may also want to compare the offer with open source LMSs such as Moodle, which could be customized easily without recurring costs.
Now, let’s look at some DON’TS to be kept in mind before LMS Selection.
Don’t just look at immediate requirement, think long term. Currently though you may be having a limited number of courses administered to a few hundred employees, this may not be the case in the future. You will need to ensure the scalability of an LMS when you grow and expand. What is the maximum seat capacity of the LMS?
Don’t rush into LMS purchase without understanding the entire training scenario in your organization. How many classroom trainings are offered? Are there any online courses currently offered? If not, you may first want get some eLearning courses developed, upload them on to the organization’s online portal and observe employee reactions to the online courses. Would classroom trainings also be managed by the LMS? Is there a reliable internal team to manage and administer the courses?
Don’t be hasty in recruiting manpower to manage LMS internally. Analyze the internal team members and see if a few can be assigned administrative rights, while the rest of the enforcement can be outsourced to an external vendor. Understand the scale and volume of the work involved. Do you really need to hire internally or would it be easier to outsource the LMS maintenance and administration to an external vendor?
LMS needs to be tailored to cater to the organizational needs and not the other way round. LMS is an investment of time, money and personnel. Therefore, you need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of every option and make a decision that best caters to your requirement.
Do's and Don'ts of Selecting the Right LMS for Your Organization
Do's and Don'ts of Selecting
the Right LMS for Your
Do Analyze Your Training Requirement
Integrate Classroom Training
Do Include L&D department along with IT
End-user requirements and inputs are extremely important
Do document all your requirements before meeting
Enables to crystallize objectives of LMS
Do consider future expansion possibilities
Increase in number of employees and need for more courses
Do try it once before purchasing
Identify the hidden costs