February 24th, 2015 LearnDash Tips

wordpress-for-elearningSelecting an LMS for yourself or organization is not an easy task. In fact, the process can be so overwhelming that there are even companies that specialize in helping you to choose an LMS that is best for you (Capterra comes to mind).

There is a lot of information out there in the LMS industry.

If you are not familiar with the various nuances, you could end up choosing a solution that does more harm than good for your online courses.

Before you start looking at various solutions, you should spend some time researching what makes a good LMS. There are many great options out there, but not all of these options will be great for your unique situation.

That said, even though training goals vary by situation (and thus, so does the LMS), there is a general checklist that you should employ to help you narrow down the contenders.

The Quick LMS Research Checklist

1. Flexible & Adaptive – Your LMS should adapt to your organization, and not the other way around.

2. 3rd Party Integrations – Any solution that claims to be “all-in-one” should be avoided. Look for programs that integrate well with other leading platforms.

3. Communication Tools – Does the LMS make communication easy? It should. Communication is critical to any successful elearning program.

4. Relevant Reports – Most systems will give you some reporting features. Make sure that these meet your needs, and if not, investigate whether reports are adaptive (see point #1).

5. Custom Branding – Gone are the days where you are only permitted to put your logo and a few custom colors. Your LMS should be 100% brand-able so that it can fit within your organization culture.

6. Easy to Scale – Your LMS needs on day one will likely change by day 700. Make sure your system scales well with your business so as to avoid implementing a new one a year later.

7. Stellar Support – Technology is never perfect (things happen). You would do well to find a company that has a reputation for great support.

8. Pricing – Avoid solutions with unreasonable up-front pricing and hidden costs. This is not to say that a pricey LMS is a bad one (there are many good ones in fact). It’s all in the way that pricing is presented. It should be transparent.

Circulus Education

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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Hey Justin:

Here is a spreadsheet that allows users to enter their own criteria, weight, and evaluate, and tab 2 generates some nifty graphs


(about halfway down the post is a link to sample eval I did with a client, removing vendor names, and then a completely blank template for folks)

I find no two companies are the same- even if the requirements are similar, the weights vary, and they see products very differently.

Hi David,

I found the spreadsheet very informative and thanks for sharing.

Kind regards,

Avatar John Husband

For those in academia (both K-12 and Higher Ed) there’s another must have items for the checklist. The LMS must be accessible. My quick-check method that catches most of the design problems is simply to put the mouse in the desk drawer. If you can navigate through the full LMS there’s a good chance that the LMS passes the accessibility test. If not, then the LMS will be found in non-compliance if OCR or DoJ comes investigating.

Thanks for the comment Raymond – a good point indeed!

Hi Justin.

The LMS should also include mobile learning functionality. If not a native app then at least responsive designs / themes / templates that can adapt to student needs and accessible from any-where, any-time and any-device.

Avatar Sam

Hey David, an important point in this list would be availability of a mobile app for android and ios along with LMS. When we were seeking an LMS provider, we came across Shezartech and they in fact had a LMS and also a mobile LMS product Brainmint for us to go with

Avatar Amit

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