10 Questions to Ask Before Purchasing an LMS for Your Training Programs in 2024
Learning management systems (LMSs) are great for improving workforce training and development. Purchasing an LMS is a big decision. As such, if you’re thinking about acquiring one for your organization, you should:
- Gather information about different LMSs
- Develop criteria for selecting the LMS that best suits your needs.
Drawing from our extensive experience in helping organizations deliver first-class training experiences, we’ve identified the key characteristics you’ll want to look out for in your search for the right software. To aid you on your journey, we’ve put together ten key questions you should ask to ensure that the LMS you select is the optimal choice for improving your training results.
2 Fundamental Questions
Before we delve into inquiries directly related to the LMS attributes that matter, there are two queries we need to address to ensure that your program is headed in the right direction:
1) What Do I Want to Achieve With My Learning Initiatives?
The objectives of your teaching programs determine their software requirements. Therefore, answering this initial question is a great way to help your LMS provider tailor a precise solution that aligns with your goals.
A program focused on onboarding new interns into a company will have different requirements than one aimed at teaching individuals to become mechanics. In the former case, the LMS could provide most of the necessary resources, but in the latter, it’ll primarily serve as an assisting tool due to the hands-on experience required.
2) Why Virtual Learning?
If you opt for the virtual learning environment that an LMS offers, you should have a clear rationale for doing so. Elearning has proven its effectiveness, but it may need additional resources to conduct practical training, such as those required by technical operators or health professionals.
There’s no better way to establish your reasons for adopting virtual learning than by thinking about the advantages it brings to the table. Some of the main benefits of eLearning via a good LMS can include:
- Saving time and resources
- Improving learner engagement
- Providing accessible learning regardless of location and device
- Offering flexible, self-paced learning
- Enhancing analytics and reporting
Equally, you might find yourself drawn in by the ease an LMS can bring to managing your learning programs—especially when it comes to capabilities like process automation. This is a great reason to turn to virtual learning, especially if you leverage this ease to create new opportunities to provide added value and resources to our learners.
8 Questions to Ensure That You’re Getting a Reliable LMS
Now that you have addressed the fundamental questions, it's time to delve into the criteria that will assist you in selecting a dependable learning management system that aligns with the requirements of contemporary learning:
1) Can This LMS Improve Learner Engagement?
In the previous section, we mentioned that a good LMS can improve learner engagement—because not all LMS platforms guarantee it. At Open LMS, we take engagement to heart, and we’ve collated a list of engagement-first features your system should possess:
- Effective use of multimedia, supported by interactive technology like H5P
- Collaboration tools including dynamic forums and wiki spaces
- Real-time feedback mechanisms
- The ability to customize the learning path based on a student's progress
- Accessibility options
You should also consider using micro-learning to enhance learner engagement. This approach involves breaking down content into smaller, more digestible pieces to enhance knowledge retention or reinforce previously acquired information. By the same token, your LMS should also give you the tools for designing courses in this manner, allowing you to save costs on hiring an external content designer.
2) Is This LMS Open Source?
Selecting an LMS built on open-source technology, such as Moodle™, offers the advantage of being nurtured by a global community of education enthusiasts. New features and bug corrections are shared constantly, and the migration from one system to another is effortless thanks to sharing the same base technology.
On top of these advantages, an open source LMS will allow you to avoid some of the pitfalls associated with proprietary alternatives. Sometimes, choosing a proprietary technology can result in unforeseen costs and a longer adoption and implementation process. Also, migration tends to be more challenging, adding a layer of resistance if you want to change your provider due to the risk of data loss.
3) Is This LMS Intuitive and Accessible?
This is a crucial point. An intuitive LMS is one that’s easy to comprehend and navigate, enabling users to focus on their learning. Non-intuitive platforms can lead to wasted time and increased stress when accessing course content or participating in learning activities.
In digital platforms, intuitive features are a key element of a design process known as User Experience (UX)—which we’ve utilized to create our original Snap template.
A good digital platform will also ensure that it’s usable to everyone. That’s why you’ll want to invest in an LMS that adheres to the internationally recognized WCAG 2.1 accessibility standard and Section 508 in the United States.
4) Is This LMS Stable and Secure?
Stability will be paramount for your platform. Your LMS shouldn’t experience unexpected errors or crashes due to server issues. Such scenarios can not only disrupt access to courses but also lead to the loss of learners' work and, in severe cases, compromise the entirety of your course data.
While achieving 100% stability in a technological context isn’t viable, offering a very high level of stability is entirely possible. A good provider will perform constant backups to ensure the safety of your data. For instance, Open LMS maintains a stability rate of 99.7% thanks to its hosting on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and performs daily data backup procedures.
5) Does This LMS Provider Offer Good Support?
Having reliable support is essential if you want to maximize the potential of your LMS. Your provider is the expert in the product, so they should assign someone, typically a program manager, to guide you during the onboarding process to ensure that you comprehensively understand how to leverage your platform. After that, they should offer a 24/7 support team to assist you in maintaining the system operating effectively.
6) Does This LMS Offer Analytics?
Analytics are a great way to quantify the efficacy of your training programs and make data-driven decisions. A reliable LMS will give you access to this information and visualize it through a personalized, real-time dashboard. In other words, LMS-backed data should be readily accessible and understandable.
A good analytics feature should encompass:
- A configurable alert notification—in case data starts to show something you must be aware of
- Automatic reports with customizable criteria
- Easy access to partners for conducting audits
7) Does This LMS Provide Access Alternatives?
Not all learners will have the opportunity to access your LMS through a computer, so you’ll want a platform that includes a responsive mobile app. Moreover, since internet connectivity isn't always guaranteed, the ability to download content for offline access is a huge bonus.
8) Does This LMS Assist With Certification?
The right LMS will include evaluation systems that can automatically generate personalized certificates for your learners and even set expiration dates for them. Additionally, if the LMS has unique features like Open LMS’s Personalized Learning Designer (PLD), it can be configured to notify workers and managers when those certificates expire.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PLD | ‘Uncovering the Personalized Learning Designer: A Unique Feature of Open LMS’
Are You Ready to Choose?
If the answers to these eight questions are “yes”, you can be confident that you’re considering a dependable LMS option. An LMS that meets the above criteria will enhance the quality of your training programs and facilitate strategic planning while saving valuable time and resources through automation.
It’s time to witness an excellent LMS in action. Schedule a demo or contact our team to discover all the advantages of Open LMS Work!
We know this because it’s precisely what our clients have achieved through Open LMS Work. We’re continually striving to develop new updates and functionalities to ensure that you can harness the best available technology for your training goals.