Here we offer advice on how to choose an LMS provider, with details of some top elearning software and information on leading companies that offer expert services in developing and managing them.
Are you looking for a smart, cost-effective way of training your team or allowing your students to learn online? Do you need a versatile LMS (Learning Management System) that will take care of registration, task assignment and progress tracking? The global eLearning industry is huge and getting bigger, expected to reach $325 billion by 2025.
That means there are a ton of options available and it can be hard to choose an LMS that will be right for your company. So how do you find a provider that will tick all the boxes for your business?
There are thousands of eLearning companies out there, offering different systems with a varying amount of features, from gamification and social learning, to advanced customisation and analytics. The best way to choose an LMS is to establish your company goals and decide exactly what you’re aiming to get out of your investment.
This will depend on a number of variables, including the nature of your business, your audience (and how tech-savvy they are), your budget and need for flexibility. To shed a little light on the subject, here are a few tips on how to choose an LMS provider in 2019.
What’s Your LMS For?
If you want to get the best value for money and optimum results, you’ll need an LMS that includes all the features you’re looking for. Let’s say you run a remote company and your staff work over different time zones. Being able to login from anywhere used to be a major advantage of an LMS; today it’s a bare minimum requirement.
If your learners are busy professionals that need to learn on the go, make sure your LMS provider allows for mobile access. Even if your employees are all under one roof, they may want to extend their learning to their home hours or brush up on some skills on the way to work.
So, beyond an LMS that allows users to access from anywhere on any device, what else are you trying to achieve? Depending on your budget and size of operations, your goals will be unique to your company. Even a one-man (or woman) band or skeleton team should have a clear idea of what they expect from their LMS.
Try sitting down with your department leaders, or asking individual team members about what they would like to see in your LMS. What kind of learning activities would they prefer and how technically competent are your eLearners?
Remember that not everyone learns at the same pace or in the same way, since there are different learning styles. The best LMS for your team could be the one that gives you the most flexibility and control to adjust the course according to your learner, rather than one packed with features you aren’t going to use.
What Features Are Important To You?
Speaking of features, in 2017, there are now many that you can expect to find in a typical LMS, but they may not all be attractive or relevant to you. Ease of use and progress tracking should come as standard, but will your users benefit from mobile access or social learning? Are they likely to be receptive to an interactive learning strategy?
Do you want to stir up healthy competition in your sales team, or are you delivering an academic master’s course online? What kind of budget and technical resources do you have access to? Would they enjoy tinkering with an open source LMS? Or do you need a turnkey provider that takes care of company training from start to finish?
LMS Features Checklist
Here is an initial LMS features checklist based on the latest, commonly-discussed functionalities.
Your immediate instinct when hearing about gamification may be that it’s an unnecessary distraction, or even a hindrance to learning. But, in 2017 it’s becoming a top feature of an LMS and a great way to encourage your distracted, overworked audience to reach their learning goals. Gamification might not be a feature you want to include in an academic institution, but if your company is comprised of busy adults with many tasks, it’s a great way to expedite learning and encourage progress.
Will your course be turned into an online version of Mario Bros.? No. It’s more of a way to get your learners hooked on the programme. Look for an LMS that includes leadership boards, as this is especially useful in competitive sales training, firing up participants to do better that their peers. Rewards are also good incentives, such as collecting tokens and points. It might sound simplistic, but gamification has been proven to make eLearning more engaging. It also provides a sense of compensation for the work put in.