Choosing an LMS: what exactly does my business need?

A Learning Management System (or LMS) is a strategic investment for businesses wanting to upskill their team, improve compliance and support scalability.

A Learning Management System (or LMS) is a strategic investment for businesses wanting to upskill their team, improve compliance and support scalability. Whether you are new to the world of LMS or wanting to upgrade from your old and outdated systems, trying to find a new LMS can be an extremely daunting task. There are so many options out there that it seems near impossible to know which one is right for you. So read on to find out how to choose the system that best fits your businesses unique needs.

Identify your needs

What exactly does your business need from an LMS? Beginning the search with a well-defined list of criteria you need is the best way to start. If you’re already using a system, ask managers and learners what that system is missing and what they want from a new system. 

Who are your ‘learners’?

Knowing who your audience is will help you decide on the best LMS for them. You probably already know who your audience is, but think about how these points play into their needs:

  1. Age: if your team is typically younger, they might find social functions that allow them to share and discuss learning content to be more engaging. Think about what that particular audience is going to find most engaging and how they might interact with the platform.
  2. Skill levels: experienced employees and new employees have different skill levels and therefore different training needs. Your LMS should offer personalised paths, relevant to the employees skill level - otherwise you’ll find yourself with bored company experts and overwhelmed newbies!
  3. Multiple locations?: If you’re a business with multiple locations, you need a system that offers the same standard of training across all your locations.
  4. On-the-go learning: In this day and age, your learners are likely to be interested in mobile capabilities. Not everyone has a desktop, but everyone has a phone! If on-the-go learning isn’t a priority for your audience, maybe pop it on the bottom of the list, but definitely look out for a system that has mobile capabilities!
  5. Tech-savvy: is your audience interested in modern technology? If so, consider the most modern system with a slick interface. If not, think about the ease of use and an interface that is super user-friendly. Or, maybe you could take a look at a system that offers both?
  6. Audience size: If you’ve got a large audience of learners, you’ll need a system that has the capacity to hold mass user registration. Don’t forget that you’re a business for scalability, so choose a system that will allow you to grow!

What are your goals?

Ask yourself what you want to achieve from training. Do you want training to be focusing on maintaining standards among all sites? Should training be focused on employee development? Regardless of the reason you are looking for an LMS system, develop SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. These goals are going to help answer that question of what you want to achieve from training.

Define the LMS features you need

You’ve now defined your goals and explored who your audience is, so now you’re ready to create a list of what your business needs from an LMS. We think (at a bare minimum) these features need to be at the top of your list of requirements:

  • Flexible assessment types: You should expect your LMS to host multiple different types of assessments, such as: quizzes, workshops, observation sign offs and more. This should be the bare minimum requirement for the LMS you choose. 
  • Detailed and customisable reporting: Your reports shouldn’t just tell you who has or hasn’t completed their learning, it should provide you with real insights. Having an LMS that can tell you the compliance of particular stores, states and more is an invaluable tool that can help you identify areas for improvement. 
  • An integratable system: Your LMS needs to talk to your other systems to sync up your messages and maintain consistency. Whether all your training programs, operations manuals and intranet posts are all hosted in one awesome system or you have lots of existing systems, you need an LMS that integrates well. 
  • Compatible with SCORM: SCORM is the industry standard in the eLearning community. It governs how content and your LMS communicate with each other. It provides you with the most efficient online training and any LMS you choose needs to be compatible with SCORM.

You might have a much longer list of features you want/need from an LMS, but these really do need to be at the top of your list!

Now it’s time for the great LMS search

You have defined your audience, explored your goals and made a list of required features, so now you’re ready to go out and search for an LMS! This is of course the most daunting task, as there are thousands of LMS vendors out there. Here are a few tips for narrowing down your choices:

  • Ask around! You’re part of a huge community by being in the business world, see what other businesses you know and respect are using. That might be a good way to add a particular system to your shortlist (or to rule one out!)
  • Check out reviews and ratings. You can easily find a host of reviews for businesses on Google or through social media, so check out what people are saying about that vendor. 
  • Cost. Well yes, cost is usually a deal breaker. There are so many systems out there that offer similar things, but the prices are so different! While you want a premium system, there is no reason why a great system should come at a huge cost. Make some pricing requests and rule out those unnecessarily costly systems!
  • Check out their support. High quality, local tech support is super important. The support team should be able to resolve any issues quickly and be super helpful (and friendly) when you have any questions. 
  • Are they updating their systems? Any good vendor should be conducting updates on a regular basis, as technology changes rapidly. Ask the LMS vendor if they update their systems regularly and whether those updates come at a cost. 

This research is likely to shorten your list from thousands of vendors, to a solid 5-10 (hopefully), allowing you to schedule demonstrations with the LMS vendors and figure out which one is right for your business.

A note on Op Central

Hopefully, Op Central is one of your shortlisted LMS vendors, as we offer all of those features we talked about (and so much more!) Our LMS; Learn Central, uses a unique Single Point of Truth (SPOT) system to keep your learning content consistent with all your other content (e.g. policies, procedures, intranet posts, etc.). Learn Central gives your business the opportunity to improve compliance, maintain consistency and help your team (and business) grow. We are keen to have a chat with you to see if our LMS is right for you, so schedule a live demo with us today!

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