Choosing the right Learning Management System for your company is the best way to keep your business healthy and growing. This has always been the case, but now, more than ever, since online learning via LMS is a vital tool that offers a whole host of benefits.
But what should you be looking for when shopping for an upgrade or seeking out an LMS for the first time? Here’s our handy cheat-sheet to make sure you invest in the best platform possible.
Easily Create Online Courses With Authoring Tools
It goes without saying you should be able to create great online courses tailored to your business and your workforce’s needs. When choosing an LMS, pay attention to how easily you can do this and the variety of media you’re able to include to make online learning dynamic and interesting. Quizzes and videos should be part and parcel of your training, so check that the software you’re looking at offers strong authoring tools in this department too.
Assign and Track Learning Progress
Ensuring your people are directed to the right courses to build their skills is one of the key paths to effective online learning. A great LMS will suggest relevant course modules to every learner and then track their progress. Excellent reporting is a must, too, so you can see at the click of a button how an individual or a selected group are getting along.
Filter and Export Learning Reports
If valuable performance data isn’t trackable, searchable or exportable, you’re likely looking at a substandard LMS. To get the most out of online training, you’re going to need software that helps you pull out or drill-down information. For example, if you’re unsure how easy to follow a course might be, then you’ll want to look at how quickly learners grasped the course content and moved on. In the long term, your employees’ skill level will help you plan for your company’s future, so the ability to export and share reports on training with management teams is invaluable.
Why Build Searchable Manuals?
Not all online training is made up of real-time videos or tests. Your ideal Learning Management System should also act as a library containing manuals, reference material, handbooks, and all the resources your business generates. Your teams will thank you for the ability to easily look up any procedure or code of practice whenever they need to. If the LMS you’re considering doesn’t offer this feature, you’ll be missing out on a handy workplace tool.
Creating Self-Initiated Learning Libraries
While some individuals prefer to learn through guided courses, others do far better if they have some degree of autonomy. Robust learning software should offer on-demand libraries (which you can create with minimum fuss) for self-initiated learning. Whether that might offer quick refresher sections or material to work through to gain new skills, ensure your chosen LMS caters to a wide variety of learning styles.
Connecting An LMS With Other Software Through API
W It’s entirely likely that your LMS won’t be the only bit of software your company uses, so it’s got to be able to connect with it via API!
Is SCORM Compliancy Important?
Scorm compliancy is another technical must for a prospective Learning Management System. The acronym stands for ‘Sharable Content Object Reference Model’, and without getting too technical here, it basically indicates an LMS is as ‘plug and play’ as it can be. With a SCORM-compliant LMS, you can build modules or courses and then share them across multiple systems without having to re-build the whole thing or pay a fortune getting developers to do it for you. Basically, a SCORM-compliant LMS will be 100% less hassle, which means you can focus on creating great courses and sharing them company-wide.
Generate Customised Certification In Downloadable PDF Format
Once you’ve got your employees online and learning, you’re ideally going to want to move them toward certification. It’s a great way to demonstrate you’re interested in everyone’s career paths and simultaneously improve your company’s reputation if all your staff have recognisable qualifications. Look for an LMS that offers customised certification that can be issued on completion of a course or module via downloadable PDF. This option provides a tangible reward for students and can encourage them along their learning path.
Should I Choose A Multilingual LMS?
O Yes! We live and work in a world with ever-increasing international connections, so it makes sense to pick a multilingual Learning Management System. Your business may be global or working toward it, or you may have employees who would prefer to learn in the language of their choosing. Multilingual software is a must – make sure it’s on your LMS shopping list!
Creating Admin Roles and Assigning Learner Groups
While there are many automated elements to a great LMS, a Learning Management system requires administrators to optimise results. When looking to adopt online training software, it’s important to choose a platform that allows you to create various admin roles to oversee various aspects of your company’s learning goals. Plus, another critical feature is the ability to assign groups of learners to different admins who can support their learning journey. The best LMS’s are the kind that present flexible ways to support trainees!
Grouping Learners Through An LMS
We all remember being back at school and that common scenario where some kids shot to the top of the class with apparent ease in some subjects, while others struggled to keep up. Your workplace learning picture is not really all that different, so your LMS must allow you to appropriately group learners. You should be able to do this according to ability, topic, and workplace department – however you need to – to keep everyone motivated and following relevant courses.
Varying Content Types Within Courses
The ability to mix things up during a course or a module will go a long way to keeping learners returning to their studies. A variety of content types, including media like videos, should be easily attachable to online training offerings. An LMS that makes adding different content seem like a headache should be avoided.
Does Your LMS Support Multiple Question Types For Quizzes?
Question and answer tests are the bread and butter of a course conclusion to see how readily the necessary information has been retained. However, these needn’t and shouldn’t be the same format every time. Great Learning Management Systems should support a number of quiz styles. Look for ones that offer options to create open-ended, ‘fill in the blanks’, or image-based questions and so on.
Is Gamification Necessary For Online Learning?
Let’s be realistic; nobody will continue to engage with online training that’s not fun. Gamification is a strong trend in online training these days – and for a good reason. Your LMS should have features like leaderboards to encourage a little healthy competition and the opportunity for reward. Ways to earn badges and points are also part of a strong gamification bent to an LMS; all the research shows uptake and continuation of courses is more positive for it.
Feedback And Content Flagging Functions
If you’ve already narrowed down your choice of online training software to include ones that provide freedom to create any courses you like, then that’s great news! However, you should also bear in mind that mistakes happen, and errors or confusing course elements might pop up occasionally. To combat this, check your prospective Learning Management System has a way to allow learners to flag content or directly communicate with administrators. Having a route for constructive feedback means that the courses you build will ultimately become a quality asset.
Allow Learners To Message LMS Admins Directly
As the saying goes, the road to enlightenment is not always an easy one, so make sure your LMS offers a direct way for learners to message administrators for support. This is a useful tool to ensure that your employees don’t feel adrift and become frustrated with their progress. It’s also a great way for your admins to step in and organise quick technical fixes without interrupting learning too much. Communication is important, so check your LMS offers a way to let it flow unhindered.
Automated Notification & Reminders Via Email
While admins will perform important roles in your LMS’s day-to-day management, be aware of overburdening them. A strong Learning Management System should have a whole roster of automation options to lighten the load. Key ones you want to look for should include a way to send reminders to learner inboxes and issue course notifications to keep folks moving forward.
Can I Customise My LMS With White-Label Options?
Looks aren’t always everything, but it is advisable to look for learning software you can customise. You’ll likely have gone through the process of choosing appropriate and attractive colours and branding for your business, so why put up with someone else’s choices when it comes to your company training platform? White-label options such as the ability to update colour schemes and logos within online learning experiences mean that learning can aesthetically fall into the fold of your company culture. It might not seem like a big deal, but great colours and graphics that harmonise with your company identity can really improve engagement.
Learning Management Systems On Mobile Devices
Phones and tablets have joined the list of things many of us now use daily to get our work done. Reports are written on note apps in transit, and presentations are created on tablets. There’s no reason why your LMS should only be accessed at work in this day and age, between 9-5 on a desktop computer. Your employee training software needs to compatible with any mobile device, and if you choose an LMS that offers flexible, multi-device access, you’ll be giving your teams more routes to complete courses and learn new skills.
Should An LMS Offer Social Learning features?
Lastly, don’t underestimate the value of peer-based affirmation and social learning. While some learners feel less of a need to engage with others while they follow courses, most will reach out to classmates if given the opportunity. Choose an LMS that gives you the option to create discussion boards where everyone can post and discuss courses or questions. Skilled staff and admins can help others over stumbling blocks, teams can like or celebrate others’ successes, and others can give feedback after completing useful courses.
An ideal Learning Management System encourages a culture of learning, offers options for skill-building that suits a wide variety of individuals, and allows the results to be easily collated, shared, and used for future planning. Remember, not all learning software is created equal, so choose wisely!