Learning Management System
A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of e-learning courses or training programs.
Learning: It is used to deliver learning courses.
Management: It helps you organize these courses.
System: An LMS is a computer system.It is a software program that helps you create manage and deliver E-learning courses just like Gmail helps you send emails.
There are hundreds of LMS in the market. With so many choices reputation, and features, how do you select the right LMS for you or your organization?
Let us understand today with few tips mentioned below to select the right LMS.
1. Know Your Requirements
Before you start comparing learning management systems, discuss with all of the stakeholders in your organization and determine what you need from an E-learning program. Define, evaluate, and prioritize your requirements. Identify the features you absolutely need, and the functionalists that are really required to have for your LMS. Plan for the future, as well your LMS application should scale with you.When you get all of your stakeholders on the same page, you’ll have much greater success in finding the Right LMS that is required for your organization.
2. Decide on Proprietary or Open-Source or Cloud-based LMS
Will you need proprietary or open-source software?
Asking this question early in your LMS buying process can help you quickly eliminate a number of software options that aren’t right for you.
Proprietary software makes sense if you need:
- An easy-to-use system out of the box
- Live technical support
- Basic functionality and features
- Operational cost savings
An open-source LMS is ideal when you need:
- Flexible and customizable software
- Access to source code
- Frequent security updates
- Upfront cost savings
A Cloud-based LMS is ideal when you need:
- Powerful LMS
- Adaptable & huge storage space
- Low initial cost
- Transparency for later expenses
3. Training and Support
Having a great LMS application doesn’t do you any good if no one in your company knows how to use it. Don’t buy any software without knowing exactly how much training and support you’ll get, and how much it will cost. Every platform is different. Find out if training comes with the software. Will you have access to ongoing training? Can new staff be trained as new hires come in?
4. Look into Content Tools
It will probably be a priority to create content or upload existing content that was already created outside of your LMS. Integrating with third-party content such as social learning or action-based features lets you create a rich learning experience that generates higher engagement.If this is a priority for you, make sure the LMS application is compatible with SCORM, LTI, and AICC.
5. Identify Your Integration Needs
Does your business run on other key software? Certain LMS platforms let you integrate your business software with the LMS to save time and money. Integrations like this help to automate and save time by creating accounts and sharing of information between key systems. Your employees can log into the central system and go to your online learning site without having to login again or re-enter their information multiple times.
6. Reporting and Analytics
Capturing and analyzing data is increasingly important in online learning. It is becoming much more important to have insightful reports, to have access to all the data in the system, and to share that data between key people. Consider what level of data access your LMS will give you, and what kinds of reporting is available.
Choosing the right LMS for you involves much more than just the price and basic features of the system. Think about your needs and priorities in each of these areas, and you’ll be well equipped to select a learning management system that will meet your needs for years to come.
7. Consider the Total Cost
Many LMS buyers start with cost because it’s easy to eliminate anything that falls outside of your budget. But when buying a learning management system, you should consider more than the initial price of the purchase. Whether you choose a proprietary or open-source or cloud-based LMS, you will have ongoing costs for support and maintenance.
Proprietary systems will have licensing costs. Ask about additional costs for extending the software, upgrading, and maintaining the system. Open source applications will have the cost of internal IT staff to run, upgrade, and maintain the software. Also be sure to consider the cost of hosting on-site or in the cloud.
8. Centralized Learning
The first benefit of using a learning management system is it offers a centralized source of learning. This means that the training, performance, and development content are offered at all times from the same source. Multiple users can access the information at any given time. These systems ensure consistency in the evaluation and delivery of the material, meaning every user sees the same content in the same manner. These systems let the user design customized training modules that can be used to introduce new equipment, update equipment, or modify operating procedures.