Learning management systems (LMS) are on the rise due to the increasing popularity of and demand for more flexible, accessible, online learning solutions. With such a high saturation, it can be difficult for organizations to make a choice regarding which LMS is right for them. In order to make this decision, you should first assess company needs. An LMS system can support the employee onboarding process, as well as the organization’s training and development goals, but you want to ensure the LMS you ultimately choose has the features your organization needs and from which they can benefit.
According to an article on eLearning Industry by Christopher Pappas, organizations should consider the following features:
- Data Tracking
Data is an important element to have in determining the effectiveness of an LMS, the organization’s curriculum and materials, and the performance and progress of employees. If your organization values data, look for an LMS that has tracking and reporting features.
- Assessment Tools
Assessment tools allow the Learning and Development team to determine employee performance and knowledge retention and to evaluate the organization’s training program.
- Mobile Application
To make your learning solution more accessible, look for an LMS that has mobile-friendly features and is compatible with multiple devices. Mobile accessibility increases the likelihood that employees will not only use the LMS but will continue to return to it as the need arises. This also allows for employees to work on the go.
- Customization Options
Customization and branding options may be an important consideration for your organization. If so, look for an LMS that offers these features, which can include the use of your company logo, gamification features, online training certificates, multiple languages options, welcome/enrollment screens, role assignments, content delivery options, dashboards, and more.
- Cloud-Based vs. Open-Source
With a cloud-based LMS, there is no installation required, which means a quicker deployment for your organization. In addition, costs are based on client needs, so a cloud-based service may be more cost-effective. Cloud-based services are hosted on the provider’s server, meaning the provider also takes care of data security and maintenance, and client support from the provider is 24/7. Additional expenses are spared by automatic software updates. Finally, cloud-based service are much more mobile-friendly and would be the better option for on-the-go access and deploying in multiple locations.
An open-source LMS requires installation and setup, but are typically fairly budget friendly; there are many low-cost and even free LMS options available that may fit your organization’s needs. There are not as many options to customize your package based on company needs; many open-source tools have a set pricing model, and it may be difficult to find the right fit for your budget. Because an open-source LMS is installed on the company’s servers, the company is also responsible for data security and maintenance, including updates. While you may not have the handy 24/7 client support to turn to, most open-source LMS tools have user communities and forums through which you can find support. Finally, because it is open-source, there is considerable room for modification, customization, and enhancements by users.
While there are certainly other features you might want to take into account when choosing a learning management system for your organization, this is a good place to start. Always begin with establishing what needs must be met, as this is a crucial first step in your research.