Selection of Learning Management System (LMS)

Selection of proper Learning Management System (LMS) is a very important step that will impact your business for several future years.

You may plan to use global LMS or create independent local LMS, or integrate both with staff assessment and Human Resource systems. Whatever is your plan you need a professional consultant who will evaluate your needs, suggest the best options and follow-up its implementation.

We have experience and knowledge in all locally and globally available Learning Management Systems. We can consult you on LMS selection and support implementation of the system which you have already selected.

Too often, companies are deploying an LMS that is the current favorite, only to realize that it is not easy to use and it does not meet all company requirements. According to Bershin and Associates study, in 2009 more than 70% of large companies have an LMS already deployed and 30% of them are considering replacing their LMS.

LMS is too big an investment to make without careful consideration of how it will help organization achieve business goals and objectives. Common purchasing mistakes include failing to define system requirements, focusing on price rather than value, overlooking interoperability and scalability, and selecting customization instead of configuration.

Here we present a brief overview of the criteria for selecting an advanced LMS that will be readily adopted by trainers and employees. LMS is software for planning, delivering, and managing learning events within an organization, including online, virtual classroom, and instructor-led courses.

LMS can simplify global certification, align learning initiatives with strategic goals, and manage skills at enterprise-level. The current trend in the LMS development is integration with Talent Management Systems.

The advanced LMS have performance management, collaborative learning, content management, employee appraisals, competency management, skills-gap analysis, succession planning, and multi-rater assessments (i.e., 360 degree reviews) and other talent management modules.

The development platforms for LMS can be Java/J2EE, Microsoft .NET, PHP. The presence of authoring module in LMS is highly recommended. It allows creation of own e-learning content and hosting it on LMS. The authoring module should be compatible with LMS and compliant with SCORM standards.

LMS may be supplied as a hosted or installed application. Hosted application is delivered as software as a service (SaaS). It may be commercial software installed on site, collaborative open-source solutions, and social networking platforms with LMS components.

Hosted application requires minimal support, delivering new add-ons and modules on demand, in response to user requests. They come at a predictable monthly cost. Installed applications come with complex licensing and maintenance agreements, and require extensive on-site IT support. Direct costs can be significant, including support contracts and the hardware necessary to operate the system in-house.

Each option has its pros and cons, but any corporate LMS must meet the following basic functional requirements: Skill assessment: Assess trainee's knowledge and develop learning plans to fill the knowledge gaps. Learning evaluation: Evaluate the effectiveness of the learning plan. Enrollment and tracking: Track trainee's attendance, completed courses and interaction with learning material. Content Development: Create, maintain and distribute training content and “learning objects.”

It is important to make new technologies to work effectively, and first critical step is a selection of proper LMS. With so many options available, it is important to clarify your objectives and your requirements before starting search for LMS that fits your business and organization.

Follow these 5 steps for LMS selection:

1. Describe the current practice and learning objectives,
a. the profile of your target audience,
b. document and reporting requirements,
c. the technology requirements for you LMS.

2. Based on the above, send a request for proposal to available LMS providers. This documents need to thoroughly outline your learning objectives, scenarios, target audience and system functions. Be as specific and give as many details as possible. This will help your potential vendors address your specific needs.

3. Review the proposals. Once you have sent your RFP to a few vendors, you will begin to get bids for your project. Screen the potential contractors on their experience, former satisfied clients, and their proposed time frame and cost.

4. Schedule software demos. Once you have screened you bids and chosen a few top candidates, schedule product demos where you can see how the LMS works. When viewing the demo, you want to see whether the software is hosted or licensed, and make sure the software is easy to use and meets all your core requirements.

5. Finally, select an LMS which is the best fit to your needs and fits within your working budget.


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