How to choose a Learning Management system is almost as important as how you implement it. It doesn’t matter how hard you work at your LMS, if it isn’t the right one for you, it won’t give you the results you need. Often, the LMS you have isn’t working for you. Maybe it was never quite right, or maybe your needs have changed. But you’re in the market for a new one and you don’t know where to start.
So how do we begin to select a new LMS? What features matter the most? And the least? The features of eLearning systems can be classified roughly into the essential and the evolving. The essential features of an LMS are the ones they need to have to be any use to you, whereas the evolving ones are new features that just make the LMS better than older versions.
Building a LMS requirements checklist is a must. This way we can work out which ones meet our needs.
Of the essential features, the two that stand out are where you want your LMS to be hosted, and whether it will replace or support an existing educational system.
You may want a cloud LMS, or you may want a local one. The differences may seem small on the surface, but they matter. A cloud LMS is more on-demand, accessible from many different places, and has a greater storage capacity. Whereas a local LMS can be accessed only locally, but offline. There are other key differences in cost and user friendliness to consider.
You also need to ask yourself if you want your LMS instead of traditional education, or supporting traditional education. Obviously, if you work in a school environment you will want your LMS to support your teachers, which means you need to make your teachers part of your LMS strategy. Not only do they need to be comfortable delivering the service, but they should probably offer some input regarding what the LMS needs to do for them. Likewise if you want your LMS to support self-training. Simply put: the people using the system need to help choose it.
Of the evolving features, it can be hard to pinpoint what will matter to a user in the future. After all, the minds behind LMS are inventors and innovators, who think of solutions to problems we just accepted – sometimes to problems we didn’t even see as problems!
Right now LMS’s evolving features involve better connectivity through Apps and touchscreens, and the possibility of virtual assistants. If you’re finding that your LMS is hard to connect to and back up, or that your training timeframe is longer than a couple of days, you may want to invest in a more modern LMS, that includes better connectivity and guided tours of the system as standard.
Beyond that? Who knows what the future will bring. Keep an eye out for big updates and improvements, and otherwise stick to what works for you today, with the knowledge that this is a rapidly evolving industry and set of services on offer.