10 Questions to Ask to Take the Overwhelm out of Considering an LMS
Posted: January 22, 2020
Introducing or upgrading a learning management system (LMS) is an excellent enhancement to your learning and development roadmap. With so many LMS vendors out there, launching this quest can quickly become overwhelming. But not to worry — your learning experts here at ttcInnovations have provided tips and some critical questions to ask when choosing the right LMS for your organization!
What are our goals?
Before you even start looking at resources, you should determine first the organizational goals for the professional growth of your employees. Once you’ve gotten specific about your goals, it will be less daunting to match up the perfect LMS tool.
Start with professional growth topics that benefit the entire employee population. Including content for the organization as a whole will help encourage adoption across the board.
The next step is to narrow your scope to specific job performance skills. Identify learning gaps and make a plan to bridge those gaps. Seek out performance data from department heads and quality assessments. Don’t forget the value in candid conversations with those department heads to assess the needs of their teams.
What do we want, and what do we need?
Now comes the fun part for your training department: They get to brainstorm about what bells and whistles to include with the LMS! If you haven’t started planning for your training needs in 2020, check out our blog on a 4-phase approach to forecast your training needs.
Start with a candid list — your “wish list,” if you will — and include everything you can think of that makes the group squeal with delight. We’ll call this the “perfect world” of your LMS.
The next step is to whittle your list down to the must-haves, then be prepared to get around 80% of your list based on the next section (cost). Remember that anything is possible for the right price.
What kind of content do we want to include?
Think of what you have today and what you hope to have in the future. For example:
- Core content (will the new format support?)
- Instructor-led training (scheduling and attendance tools, webinars, and conferencing)
- Gamification and social learning
- Assessment tools
- White label (add your organizational branding)
How much will this cost?
When it comes to the cost and budget of your LMS, you want to look beyond the initial sticker price of the system. Learning management systems are like new tires — they may cost a pretty penny upfront with small unexpected extra costs if you’re not careful, but the return on investment and peace of mind gained as a result will far outweigh the expenditure.
Who will administer the program?
You have the option of administering your LMS in-house or outsourcing the task. There’s also the question of training available for your administrator/facilitator in addition to your employee population. You want to make sure you factor these ongoing costs into the sticker price.
ttcInnovations can also augment the administration needs of your LMS with our Innovators on Demand®.
How will the cost grow with the organization?
LMS programs are priced according to the number of licenses you need. You need to factor in anticipated cost increases as your organization grows.
Who pays for updates?
This detail with LMS vendors varies and may even be negotiable. As your LMS gets new upgrades and features, ask if those updates are complimentary with your subscription or if you have to pay extra.
Where do we start?
It’s finally time to explore your options! We found a good list to help you compare the hottest LMS vendors currently out there. As you start comparing, browse the website beyond the features. Seek out reviews and comments for the LMS. Get a feel of their ongoing support by reviewing resources like tutorials, user guides, knowledge bases, and user community platforms.
Can we take a test drive?
Once you have your shortlist, you’re ready for a test drive to get a feel for your LMS platform. Ask about options like a user “sandbox” that simulates the live environment. You may also be able to negotiate a trial period of 30 days (or longer), especially for larger corporations. Extended trial periods enable more users to get involved in the learning process, which almost always helps with the adoption of your new tool.
Do we need help with adoption?
Implementing a new LMS is a significant undertaking considering all of the steps to get you active and efficient, so a thoughtful approach is best.
Once your LMS is live, it’s time to partner up with a training vendor to start loading it with fresh and innovative content, putting your best foot forward as you introduce your exciting new tool to the organization! Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more!
About the Author
Valerie is living a double-life in corporate training and marketing, realizing that many of her two decades of skills around how people learn and absorb new information are entirely interchangeable. Her real joy is in training and helping others improve and succeed. When she’s not at her desk, you’ll find Val deep in the woods where she and her husband built their cabin, exploring the beauty with their two dogs, officially named as her administrative assistants.