3 steps to selecting a successful LMS

Don’t worry, I’m not really going to sit here and offer a ground-breaking 600-word analysis on how to guarantee you choose the best Learning Management System for your organisation.

Across many of the most successful LMS implementations we have worked on, a recurring theme has appeared. Interestingly enough, most of these considerations are quickly identified by the client at the earliest stages of LMS procurement. It’s a ‘back-to-basics’ type approach, but a word of warning; these points below shouldn’t be a ‘given’ and don’t assume all LMS’ truly fit this criteria.

So here are the top 3 considerations when selecting a successful LMS as established with our clients:

  1. Ease-of-use:  Yes, seriously, and I know it’s an obvious one. I appreciate most LMS’ will claim to be easy to use, and it’s all relative, right? It’s not! Easy-to-use should mean just that across organisations and requirements. Ask any Head of Training department and they will tell you it’s hard enough getting staff to log-in to an LMS, but to then have a system that is grey, clunky, and a turn-off to any attempt to access a training course, just negates the whole point in having an LMS. Ok, so my example is (hopefully?) far-fetched, but there are basic expectations for an ‘easy-to-use’ system.
    1. Brandability: I’ll include the look and feel of an LMS under this consideration. Having a system that is clean, clear and reflects the corporate branding strategy, can only have a positive impact on training uptake. When LMS providers offer this branding implementation out-of -the-box, rather than your marketing team painfully tweaking with the colour scheme of the LMS, what’s not to like?

    2. User experience: Increasingly, learner expectation is to be able to access their training from anywhere, anytime. What is more easier-to-use than an LMS which contains an innovative and responsive, HTML 5-based user interface that adapts to different hardware devices, from conventional desktops and laptops to tablets, such as iPads, and smartphones?
    3. LMS Administrator experience: We’re always worrying about the Learners, but actually let’s not forget the guys who are managing the LMS! It’s all well and good having a system with the most powerful reporting wizard in the history of LMS evolution, but if it takes me 45 minutes to customise and run the report, forget it. Show me easy-to-navigate menus, enrolment keys, course bundles, automated certification and automated report distribution any time.
  1. Innovation:  We’re in the technology industry after all, so we should be looking to our LMS providers offering more innovative and compelling advancement in LMS functionality and to help improve learner engagement. This also includes improving the use of ‘basic’ functionality of an LMS through innovation (like the responsive, HTML 5-based UI that adapts to different hardware devices).
    Furthermore, is your LMS provider demonstrating an innovative product development roadmap, and if so, will you be entitled to these great new features for free when released?
  1. Industry recognition: Oscar season is nearly upon us, and everyone loves an award. But actually, choosing a successful LMS is a pretty important decision, and what better yardstick for reviewing LMS success potential, than by reviewing the awards and accolades. The industry-leading reviews are led by the like of the Brandon Hall Group, TrainingIndustry.com and Bersin & Associates. Also bear in mind the accolade history; does the LMS have a track-record and annual consistency in award recognition?

I hope that this article has rung true for many of you who have been through and survived the LMS procurement process – I would be very keen to hear if this matches with your experiences and if the output was a successful LMS?