Finding the right learning management system for your company can be a daunting task. You need tools that help streamline the training process and get work done faster. You need services that are simple to implement and easy to use. And they must have real-world business applications for training. Scouting out services, the tools they offer and gauging their support will be a different experience for every company because each company has different needs. But there are some standard factors that should be included with any LMS.
Take advantage of free trials. Any good vendor with a good product will let you take it for a spin before you buy it. Try it out and gauge how user-friendly it is. Consider whether or not this system will be easy to implement. Get some of your co-workers in on the trial as well. Gather feedback and ask your vendor about improvements. Can the system be tailored? How easy or complicated is it to make changes? Compare the Learning Management Systems you and your team have tried and make a team decision on what is best for the organization.
Web-based, 24/7 access is a must. We live in a mobile, digital world and your employees are used to the convenience of e-learning. When you are able to offer training online, employees are not only able to access these tools on their own time, they are able to refer back to them as often as they like. Offering training education that employees always have access to increases the likelyhood that they will utilize the tools that you give them. Furthermore, when employees can access this information online, you are ensured a streamlined and consistant training program.
Don’t settle for good support, get great support. 24/7 support services are vital to any successful LMS. Be sure to ask if there is constant support and if it comes at any extra cost. Read reviews on their support and customer service, or contact a company that has implemented their LMS to find out how responsive they are after the initial purchase. They should offer online and/or live customer support. And find out if they have any other resources like a knowledge center for self help and tech questions.
Cut to the chase about costs. Often times there are hidden fees or upkeep costs. Ask for a clear number value or total cost to live. With everything accounted for, how much will this cost? If you can’t get a clear answer from your vendor, odds are you will end up with an ever-growing bill. Set up, maintenance, customer support, technical assistance, these are all things that they can tack on extra fees for. Ask for cost transparency and get it in writing. Keep in mind that vendors may have more contract flexibility at a smaller company.
Ask about upgrades and growth. If what you see what you get, or are you working with a vendor that is interested in evolving their product? Is there the posibility for updates and upgrades or is this it? Your LMS should grow with your needs as well as your numbers. If you go from 5 employees to 500, will this systems still work with and for you? Again, ask about the costs associated with scalability and upgrades. You might have found the perfect training management system for your company at 300 people, but if it becomes unreliable and cumbersome at 600, that’s an issue to address before implementation time (actually before signing up at all). Align your recruiting and talent acquisition objectives with your training schedule and you can get a pretty good idea of where the company will be in five years.
Choosing the right LMS is an important decision with a lot of details to consider. Did you know that only 24% of LMS buyers are satisified with their purchase? That means out of every four people, only one is happy with the system they selected. Investing in a product that no one can or wants to use is a waste of money and your and your vendors’ time and energy. Instead, arm yourself with the questions and research above, so that you can make the right decision the first time.
photo credit: One Laptop per Child via photopin cc