How do you select the best LMS platform?

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Have you been tasked with sourcing the best learning management system (LMS) software for your organisation?

As a learning and development professional, you may have been given responsibility for exploring an ever-increasing range of learning technologies to find the perfect solution to support blended learning.

Your learning system is a strategic investment – and while the right choice can help you upskill your workforce and provide an impressive return on investment (in fact, 72% of organisations report gaining a competitive advantage through the use of an LMS), the potential losses incurred by getting it wrong can weigh heavily on any L&D manager’s shoulders.

It’s no wonder you’re feeling the pressure.

However, by asking the right questions and gaining a full understanding of your organisation’s unique requirements, you can begin to uncover the best choice of LMS software for you.

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The LMS vs LXP

How familiar are you with the different types of learning technologies available?

There are various different types to consider. Is the traditional LMS really dead? Is the learning experience platform (LXP) the learning technology of the future?

If you’re uncertain as to what these terms mean and what each one does, this blog post breaks it down simply.

The key difference between the LXP and LMS is that the LXP focuses on putting learning experience first, whereas the LMS is based upon learning management. But remember, there are times when we do still need formal learning management. Compliance training isn’t going away anytime soon.

New, integrated learning systems like Thinqi now allow you to do both, which is helpful if you’re still torn between the two options.

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Questions to ask before buying a learning platform

Before committing to your choice of learning system, there are several questions you should ask to decide which one is right for your needs.

1. “What challenges can I expect a learning system to solve for me?”

Before exploring your options, create a requirement list for the new learning system. Your organisational objectives will help you decide what you need the technology to do. Think about what you want your business to achieve. The learning should be aligned to business objectives, and the right supplier will have the right customer success support to align the learning to tangible outputs (e.g. improved sales growth as a percentage).

Remember, your LMS software (or alternative choice of learning technology) will serve as a tool to help you achieve success, but shouldn’t be seen as the overall solution.

2. “What challenges are your stakeholders facing?”

Your approach here shouldn’t be to ask stakeholders to prescribe the solutions, but instead to represent their challenges. You can then add these to your list of requirements to help find the most bespoke solutions.

Different stakeholders will have different challenges – business leaders, for example, will be most concerned with return on investment, whereas line managers may want easy access to detailed learner reports to prepare for 1:1 meetings and performance reviews.

3. “How can a learning system support a more modern blended learning approach?”

Organisations are now adopting a more integrated learning approach that blends training courses with workplace-based, informal learning. Some key factors include:

  • Coaching for employees to become more independent Tools that enable collaboration (this is where an effective learning system can really work)
  • Learning that’s measurable using data and reporting to help inform the curriculum
  • Greater use of informal learning libraries

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Selecting the right vendor

It’s all too easy to get drawn in by flashy features and big promises. However, it’s learning first and technology second. Remember, the technology should be the enabler for effective learning and pedagogy.

Success in digital transformation is bigger than the learning system and you should be looking for a vendor who has expertise in both digital transformation and L&D. Software requirements should be borne out of the challenges the organisation is looking to solve. Vendors are sometimes geared to have all of the ‘popular’ features to tick procurement boxes, but this is meaningless without a focus on how usable the learning system is for end users, and without the expertise to advise on the best application of digital pedagogy.

While it’s important to select the right features and meet the right budget, don’t overlook the importance of great customer support when selecting the best learning system. Your unique set of challenges should be addressed by the product and its people. They should be working with you towards success in digital transformation, every step of the way.

Finally, there may be situations which require operations to scale up rapidly at short notice. You may need to accommodate far more learners to meet demand – it’s important, therefore, that your learning system is able to cope. You’ll also want assurance that the vendor has a robust system in place for data protection. After all, your learning system will contain sensitive information, user data and other content that will need to be kept private and secure.

In summary…

Selecting the right learning system and integrating a more modern blended learning approach paves the way for learning that’s personalised, collaborative, accessible and trackable – and can save your organisation both time and money in the long-run.

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