4 Steps to Successful LMS Selection
Are you in the market for an LMS and don’t know where to start? The industry is full of options, and it can feel tedious to weed through them all. Use this guide to help you shop for an LMS that meets your needs and budget.
Step 1. Decide between an open source, custom, or community-developed LMS.
LMSs are open source, custom, or an emerging low-cost model where the community drives LMS development by requesting and funding changes. While open source and custom LMSs have their benefits, you should explore the many reasons why you should pick a community-developed LMS before making a decision. In the community-development model, changes are added as either “no cost” options or directly incorporated as platform improvements. When implemented correctly, the community model can result in a powerful, customer-focused LMS at a lower price, because modifications to the LMS are paid by customers within the community yet shared with everyone. The result are lower hosting fees and no licensing fees per user.
Step 2. Determine how your LMS will be administered.
The number of LMS administrators you need will vary greatly depending on the LMS you purchase. For instance, if you choose an LMS with robust auto-assignment/automation features, you could potentially manage tens of thousands of learners with two or three administrators. So, before listing the features you want in an LMS, first define the human resources you have available to manage it.
Keep in mind that LMS administration is accomplished through tools to configure, create and manage:
In addition to identifying your capacity to manage the LMS, also consider who will mine learning data (and their process for doing so). For instance, Choice Hotels International (#6 ELearning Top 100) employs three administrators who manage about 60,000 learners via their community-driven LMS. They employ a business analyst who mines learning data, shares findings, and helps their learning organization implement solutions that increase learner engagement, enhance training design, and improve performance (See 3 Major Benefits of Using Learning Data).
Step 3. Identify features that meet your business needs.
After you decide on the type of LMS you want and how much support is available to manage it, identify the features your business needs require. At a minimum, the LMS infrastructure should:
Depending on the needs of your organization, you may also want an LMS that offers the following:
Step 4. Interview LMS providers.
Your interviews with LMS providers will be more efficient if you if you identify beforehand:
Armed with this information, you’ll quickly be able to determine whether an LMS meets the needs of your organization.