If your business is in the market for a new learning management system (LMS), there's one thing you should know:
It's not a five-minute decision.
There's a huge range of features across all of the different packages that are out there, and every company will have its own particular needs to think about.
Before you rush into a hasty decision, you need to understand all of the important features that an LMS can bring to your company. And that means understanding your learners, your HR teams, and the way that your company currently manages its training.
So what do companies need to think about before they commit to a new LMS?
Let's start with the most important one:
1. A system that's easy to use
When choosing any kind of new software for your company, it's easy to become obsessed with the technical specifications. And that means it's easy to lose sight of the final end user: your employees.
Your employees won't notice the bells and whistles of an advanced piece of kit.
But they will notice if their learning experience isn't smooth and intuitive – and it's going to have a massive impact on their learning speed, their knowledge retention, and their overall engagement.
So no matter how complicated your company's needs might be, you'll always need a learning management system that makes the learning process simple and straightforward for your learners.
Want to know more about how e-learning boosts engagement and speeds up learning? You can find loads of useful statistics in our free eBook, Building a Business Case for e-learning in Your Company.
2. A system that's flexible
One of the best things about e-learning is the level of control and personalisation you can have over your learning programmes.
Your staff need an LMS that lets them choose when and where they take their courses, giving them the most freedom possible to fit their learning into their existing work schedules (and their personal lives).
And your own management and HR teams need to be given full control over the learning courses they administer. They need to be able to grant and remove access and privileges to each person depending on where they are in their learning journey, and create tailored development paths for each person in your company – so there's no time wasted on redundant learning.
Finally, you need an LMS that's flexible enough to be scalable as your business grows. The system you choose today is an investment for the future of your company.
And if that system can't keep up with the growing success of your company, you'll find yourself having to shop around for a new LMS after a few years.
3. A system that empowers your staff and your management
There used to be a time when traditional training methods had an edge over e-learning methods. When your classroom-based learners would get stuck or have further questions about the topic, they had an instructor or a nearby colleague to reach out to.
But today, an LMS can give your employees that same experience. The best modern learning systems will give your staff the option to join online chats, built-in messengers, and discussion forums.
So when they have a burning question – or they're not sure if they're on the right track – they'll be able to communicate and collaborate with their peers and their managers to get the results they need faster.
On the other side of the learning experience, you can give your admin teams and managers a similar level of empowerment.
They can track engagement and participation, as well as completion rates and time logs. And when you choose the right LMS, you're giving them the deep insights and advanced reporting features they need to monitor and measure the progress of your staff – and see in hard numbers the ongoing success of your learning programmes.
4. A system that cuts out the hassle
We all know that a learning project is a complex beast. With hundreds of employees taking dozens of different courses with various levels of proficiency, you can find yourself stuck with all sorts of data to process and keep track of.
But with the right learning management system, staying on top of your data becomes a breeze.
Systems like Moodle or Totara Learn can automate your performance review processes and learning assignments, helping you set and track individual or team-based goals to create tailored learning paths and push the right courses to the right people.
Your teams can quickly and easily get access to the most important reports and data analysis they need – without clunky spreadsheets or archaic paper-based systems.
And finally, your employees can get the smoothest learning experience possible, with a central online portal that's accessible through Single Sign-On (SSO) and fully connected mobile apps – so wherever they are, they're ready to learn.
So what do you really need to know?
There's a lot to take in when you're exploring the LMS market – this article has barely scratched the surface.