Last week we covered the first three steps for selecting the right LMS. Today we will cover the last two and provide you with the insights we gained from a poll we ran during the webinar.
As a quick re-cap, the first step in selecting the right LMS is to determine and set your LMS goals. The second step is to clearly outline your LMS specifications—essentially, you want to ensure that the learning management system can perform all of the functions you need it for. The last step we covered is to ‘go for a test drive’ and demo the LMS from all stakeholder perspectives. For a deeper explanation of the aforementioned three steps see 5 Tips for Selecting the Right LMS Part 1. We know you have been eagerly waiting so without further ado, here are the last two steps!
4. Get Feedback & Check References
Just like you preform reference checks for new employees, it is crucial to look into both the LMS software and your LMS hosting provider. Specific to the LMS software, treat it as you would a product review. Scour client reviews and if provided with a list of clients served in your industry, be sure to reach out with a detailed questionnaire to ensure the LMS meets their standards. If you are looking into a world leading LMS with millions of users you won’t have to search long to find the information you need. You can find the current user community on LinkedIn, Twitter, forums, blogs and conferences— be sure to ask about their experiences and what works/does not work for them.
Specific to the LMS hosting firm, ensure to utilize all documents they provide to gain a further look into their business and they clients they service. Most hosting firms will provide case studies, testimonials and whitepapers so be sure to do your homework. Like we said for the LMS software provider, it is important to ask for a list of references in addition to a list of clients they serve in your industry. References will typically provide glowing recommendations so call a few additional clients as well.
5. Look Ahead—Purchase for Present & Future Needs
We have heard a lot of complaints from customers who don’t plan for their LMSs future growth. Companies will outgrow LMSs in a duplicative way making a costly investment even more costly in the future if you don’t plan effectively. The first way a company can outgrow their LMS is by users. Be sure to ballpark your LMS user growth annually for the next 5-10 years so you can select an LMS that is flexible and will grow as you grow. Explore the flexibility of potential solutions with regard to both minor and major changes. Be sure to ask how quickly new ideas or technologies can plug in, and what kind of costs are associated?
The second way companies outgrow their LMSs is through functionality. This takes us back to step 1—if your LMS goals aren’t set correctly from the get-go, it can be difficult to turn back, especially with proprietary LMSs. Be sure to think about your current and future LMS needs to ensure that the LMS provider is able to adequately meet both.
We know that searching for a LMS can be a daunting due to the large amount of planning, budgeting and expenditure. Thus, for our first poll question we were curious to know what participants viewed as the largest challenge in finding a new LMS. We all know that LMSs increase productivity and automate administrative tasks accounting for cost savings, but often times, organizations come to us not understanding the full power of LMSs. Thus, when nearly 62% of participants indicated that the largest challenge in finding a new LMS is ‘not knowing what we need’—we weren’t surprised! Discovering what you need is a lengthy research process and we hope we provided helpful tips on finding an LMS that is right for you. For further guidance, contact one of our experts and someone will contact you shortly!