Properly selecting a learning management system (LMS) for your organization is no easy feat. Now, more than ever, integration with other systems must be considered to ensure the greatest return on investment (you should consider whether you need integration with a performance management system, a learning experience platform, and/or an xAPI learning record store). Moreover, technology is changing fast, and an LMS can quickly become obsolete if it doesn't keep up with industry tracking standards and support the latest mobile devices.
"My best advice when selecting an LMS — make sure you're considering the specific requirements of your entire organization and gather them using a cross-functional team representing all the stakeholders" says Innovative Learning Group Senior Director of Technology and Visual Design Matt Kurtin. "During an LMS selection project, many people have opinions about the best system, but too often these opinions are formed without adequate information or without the correct people in the room."
TIPS ON SELECTING A LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
- Set realistic timing goals. Typically, a new LMS takes about three months to select and another three months to implement. It may take considerably longer if an existing LMS is being replaced. An existing LMS will be connected to other systems within your organization, and those connections must to be considered during the replacement process.
- Use a standard industry list to create your organization's requirement list and then vote to remove requirements your organization doesn't need. Industry lists document about 150 requirements; using one will keep you from missing something.
- Given the complexity, it can often make sense to engage an LMS consultant to help you throughout the selection process.
- Schedule sales presentations by the potential LMS providers before finalizing requirements. This will help you understand all the options available and give you the opportunity to refine/change requirements.
- Narrow down LMS providers to two or three. Request sandbox (testing) environments so you can use all the features and roles (learner, manager/supervisor, administrator) of the proposed systems.
- Ask many questions about the LMS implementation process. Determine whether the LMS provider has availability to implement the LMS to meet your timing or whether they'll need to connect you with a third-party system integrator.
- Request references. Ask to speak to companies that switched to the LMS provider's system from another or vice-versa.