How To Choose The Best Learning Management System
Written by Sandip Das on 29 August 2017
Today learning has evolved and so have the technologies driving learning. “One size fits all” no longer works and there is no “Best” Learning Management System (LMS). Choices are plenty at the same time choosing an LMS for your organization could be a high stake decision.
So how do we go about doing this right?
1) Find out what you need..
Here are some of the questions you need to try answering?
- How will I create and manage my courses - overview, objectives and topics et all?
- How easy it is to create, update and organize my courses using the system?
- Do I need any additional fields?
- How will I organize my course materials?
- How are my powerpoints, pdfs, docs, videos and SCORMs stored?
- How good is the quality of conversion from the format I upload and the format displayed in the system?
- Can I reuse the content across courses?
- How easy it is to search content? Can I search within docs? Can I use one specific sections(pages) of content I have uploaded?
- Can I define my own tags to organize my content better?
- How easy it is to revise by course content?
- Does the content work well on mobile devices?
- How will I deliver my courses? How will my students access course materials?
- Will my courses be predominantly self-study recorded lectures?
- Will I have some real time online classes? What options are supported by this LMS and how do they stack in terms of cost and quality.
- Can I do classroom teaching and use the content in class as well as share with my students?
- Will my students access course materials online on PCs as well as mobile devices? Do I need a mobile app?
- Will I need offline secure access of content ? If yes what are the models supported?
- How do I evaluate my students? Do I need both formative and summative assessments?
- Will I have a large question bank over time? What are the different type of questions supported? Can I do a timed quiz?
- Can I use a rubric for evaluation? How do I share test results with my users?
- What will be course completion criteria? Do I need to generate certificates?
- Do I need a credit system or a full fledged assessment and evaluation plan?
- Can I define a grading scheme?
- Can I generate certificate of merit on course completion?
- How do I encourage my students to complete their courses and not drop out?
- Can I engage my students better through peer discussions and forums?
- How do I built in social learning elements?
- I have heard of gamification in learning; are their any such elements in the LMS I am considering.
- How do I motivate my students to take up the next /related course?
- Can I have a recommendation engine to suggest courses?
- Will I be selling my courses and need e-commerce? How will I market my courses?
- Do I need a to built a separate website for marketing or does the LMS support catalog features?
- Can I configure specific content, urls, titles, descriptions and keywords for my marketing pages?
- Can I track the pages through Google Analytics?
- How integrated is my LMS with my portal or storefront?
- What data I want to track to optimize my delivery and marketing/sells?
- How are the course enrollments month on month?
- How many students are completing and how many are dropping out?
- How are students doing in the assessments?
- Can I find out the areas of strength and weakness by analysing assessment data and take corrective actions?
- How is my site doing wrt to SEO? How is my sales funnel looking?
So you must have got the idea by now; with every question you need to dive deeper and gather more insights. The LMS of your choice needs to fulfill your immediate needs as well as has to have the “goods” to enable your growth plans.
2) Understand how simple and flexible is the system.
Simple things should be easy to do . At the same time does the system provide some advanced automation options.
For example: It should be easy to create and assign a quiz at any time?
But suppose I want to auto assign an assessment at the end of every week for my popular online course, I should be able to do it.
Essentially system needs to be simple but need not be simplistic.
Also flexibility is the key. Does the system provide too many constraints on how to do things?
3) Look at the Support and Customization
How eager is the provider to make me successful? Can I get support on “How to do things better and validate some of my ideas?”.
Do I need some customization and how easy it is to get it done?
Can I get custom reports?
4) Are the usual headaches taken care of
I want to focus on my users and don’t want to deal with hardware, upgrades, on demand scale etc. Also I want to pay as I go.
Are these things taken care?
Ensure that the LMS runs on dependable enterprise quality cloud infrastructure and can really scale as promised.
I am OK with SAAS but is my data secure?
Ask specifically how the LMS provide secure your data.
I have tons of data already somewhere else. How do I import the data to the new system?
5) Is there a good Exit Plan
It is always prudent to have an exit plan. What if I want to move to a different provider at some point? How do I get my data back?
I will need both the content as well as my transaction and other meta data.
So, as mentioned earlier, there is no “Best” system and no silver bullet solution. But by now you should feel more assured and confident to make the correct choice.
With CloodOn LMS you can create engaging learning content.