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  • Writer's pictureNikki Humber

Tips for choosing the best Learning Management System – Part 2

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Learning Management System

Last week I posted a blog to share tips for selecting the best LMS. Choosing the right LMS can be the deciding factor in whether a training programme is a success, so organisations should invest time in assessing different products and confirming which is the best fit for their individual needs. In today’s blog, I’m sharing my final 7 tips for LMS success.

Do you need to be able to partition the system?

Larger organisations may require a hierarchical system where the parent company can share content across all subsidiary organisations, but individual companies are still able to share content just within their own organisation. This functionality might also be used to partition different parts of a business within a company or different geographical locations within an organisation where certain elements of training might be specialist or specific to the laws governing the location.

How user-friendly is it?

This is perhaps an obvious question, but it is worth noting that your experience may be different from someone who has less IT exposure. Another key element of this relates to how mobile-friendly the system is. What kind of technology will your users have access to? Is the learning likely to be accessed via PC or laptop or will the system need to be compatible with mobiles and tablets? These days the answer is likely to be both so it is important to choose a system that will grow and adapt as technology changes.

Do you need in-system messaging and notifications?

Organisations with compliance reporting requirements may want a system that automatically sends messages to users and/or administrators when recertification is imminent or overdue.

Administrators managing instructor-led courses may want to be automated joining instructions and cancellation emails to be sent, but may also want the functionality to be able to send messages to attendees on an Adhoc basis (e.g. to advise them of changed parking facilities or amended registrations or venues).

When evaluating a new system, remember to identify what automated notifications are available, whether they are easily customisable and whether ad hoc messages to users are available (both individually and as a collective).

What kind of reporting do you need?

Ensuring that the system produces the reporting data required is essential when choosing a new Learning Management System. Where data is analysed external to the system (e.g. within a data warehouse), you will need to ensure that the LMS has robust and, where possible, automated mechanisms for exporting the data. Alternatively, all reporting may take place within the system. If this is the case, you will need to look at the reporting options available. Are they static reports or are you able to customise them? Are they likely to meet your reporting needs both now and in the future? Do they provide either the high-level overview or granular detail that you require?

For example, with IT system roll-outs, often there is a training gateway where a pre-agreed percentage of staff must have been trained before the rollout can commence. Similarly, when proving organisational compliance, there may be an acceptable threshold of user completion (e.g. 95%) for each topic. In both instances, you will want to check whether the system provides this information at a glance or whether it will require you to undertake an extensive analysis of the reports. In both examples, you will also want to be able to drill down to the specific completions to know which users or departments have outstanding courses or modules to complete.

The system you choose should make it simple to gain at-a-glance overviews, whilst still providing easy access to the individual user completion data.

Do Line Managers need specific access?

If Line Managers rather than administrators are responsible for ensuring that their staff have completed mandatory training, then it is worth looking for a system that provides Line Managers with a view that allows them to review their own staff’s training records and completions making it easy for them to follow up on any outstanding activities.

What technical and security standards will the new system need to meet?

Your organisation will need to ensure that any learning management system meets any legal requirements that they need to adhere to. For example, the public bodies sector will need to meet the recently introduced accessibility requirements and many organisations will require high levels of cybersecurity to protect both the content and user information held on the system. Your IT department should know which standards need to be met and your supplier will be able to provide certificates (e.g. ISO27001) if they meet these requirements.

What purchasing model do you need?

This will be governed by how you intend to use the system. Some suppliers will offer access based on licences, others based on the number of courses/modules hosted. Remember to take into consideration organisational growth and turnover so that you understand both the cost for the number of licences required at set-up and for any additional licences in future.

If the purchasing model includes hosting costs per module or course added, you will need to consider the total number of initial courses to be included on the system as well as how this may change in the future, as this pricing model could be prohibitive and it may be worth looking into a supplier that offers unlimited course hosting.

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