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How to Choose the Right LMS for Your Business

As a leader of a digitally mature and growing business, you need a system that allows you to keep your employee trainings organized and accessible to staff. In 2023 and beyond, that means you need a learning management system.

A LMS is a type of software or web application that contains all aspects of a learning environment. From your LMS, you should be able to create, deliver, track, report and manage other duties associated with training. There are many different LMS providers, and because your business and staff are unique, you need to put effort into finding the LMS that works perfectly for you.

If choosing an LMS platform seems daunting, you might benefit from the following step-by-step guide:

Determine Your Goals

Different LMS platforms are created for different purposes, so understanding what you need your LMS to accomplish will help you eliminate options and find the best tool for your company. You can start by assessing your goals for your employee trainings; you should ensure that your goals are SMART — that is, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bounded — as this will help clarify your LMS needs. By breaking down your goals into discrete tasks, you can create a project roadmap that will direct you toward specific LMS platforms.

For example, if you have a goal of reducing the certification of sales representatives from three months to one week, you might recognize that you need a LMS that can educate staff on the details of your product line, teach efficient sales techniques and test employee knowledge and skill.

Understand Your Audience

Perhaps even more important than your goals for your LMS is the workers who will be using it. LMS are tech tools, and not every employee boasts the same level of tech literacy. You should spend some time getting to know your staff and their competencies before you select a LMS platform. In doing so, you might also consider when your staff will engage with trainings — on or off the clock — and how many workers will be training at one time. All of these audience factors can impact your LMS decision.

Investigate the Market

Different LMS platforms offer different requirements and are available at different price points. While you don’t need to dive deep into every LMS option available to you — which might take years, considering that there are more than 700 LMS products on the market — you should spend some time identifying viable options for your company. You might start by identifying the features you need in your LMS tool based on your goals and audience. Some features you might develop requirements for include:

  • User and course management: How will you manage the LMS?
  • Learning models: Will your courses be purely online or instructor-led?
  • Creation of learning content: Which technologies will you use to produce trainings?
  • Analytics and reports: How will you measure the effectiveness of your trainings?
  • Social learning: Will you encourage employees to discuss training content?
  • Mobile learning: Do employees need an LMS available on mobile devices?
  • White-labeling and customization: Do you want your LMS to fit your corporate style?
  • Gamification: Are you going to add gamification elements to your trainings?
  • Certification: Should employees earn certifications through trainings?
  • Cloud solutions: Where do you want your LMS to be hosted?
  • Security: How will you protect the data produced and stored on the LMS?
  • System integration: Does the LMS need to work with HR software, BI systems, CRMs or any other tools?

Test Your Options

High-quality LMS providers allow prospective customers to utilize demos of their platforms to test the features before committing to a long-term contract. These free trials usually last about two weeks, during which you should thoroughly test the LMS to determine whether it will work for your company. You might devise a test scenario that allows you to explore how the system works in practice and to ensure it has the features you need to achieve success. You should pay close attention to the LMS interface, making sure that it is intuitive for you and your staff, and you might try contacting customer service to understand the kind of support your LMS provider can offer.

Make a Selection

You should be able to narrow your choices to a handful of LMS platforms. From there, you might make a final decision based on attributes that are important to you, such as cost, regionality, customer service or something else. With the right groundwork, you should find the perfect LMS to achieve your goals and ensure a well-trained, successful staff. 

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