Choosing an LMS is not a small task. If done incorrectly, then your organization will suffer, and it can actually be counter productive. However, if proper time is taken to complete the necessary in the pre-selection phase, then you could see tangible gains in many different areas of your organization.
There are many items to consider before choosing an LMS, but here are three steps to help you get started with the process. Note that these are not the only steps to take when choosing your software or service, but instead meant to help you get started so that you can make an education selection:
1. Define LMS Objectives
It can be easy to say, “we need an LMS”, but that is just the very first part of the process. You need to define LMS objectives.
For example, is the LMS going to just deliver elearning content? Will it track user progress? Should it track user scores or just completion? Is tracking user time within learning modules important? It can be easy to treat this section as a “feature list”, avoid doing so.
Try to keep it to high level objectives. Something like “track user progress” is a feature, but when you tie it to something tangible, then it becomes an objective. For example, why do you want to track user progress? Perhaps to award a certificate for employee engagement?
2. Generate a Feature List
With your objectives in hand, you should be able to come up with a pretty robust list of features. The features should lend themselves to the objectives, and you can have more than one feature for each objective.
Don’t be conservative here, make sure you consider every feature you would like the LMS to have. With that list in place, go through it a few times and identified the “must-have” features from the “nice-to-have” ones. This will help you later on when you compare the different software options.
3. Define a Budget
You should do this part after you identify the goals and features. With those now in place, you can come up with a yearly budget. Even if you go with a self-hosted LMS, you should still divide that budget into a monthly number. If you plan on hiring an LMS administrator, then factor this into the budget as well, along with any implementation costs. Once you have your budget, stick to it.
Armed with goals, desired features, and budget, you can begin searching for the LMS that satisfies all three criteria. You may add more items to this list, but these three will give you a solid starting point for the research process.