As a stakeholder in a learning & development (L&D) organization, you know the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest trends in eLearning. But have you ever stopped to consider whether your current learning management system (LMS) is keeping up with your evolving needs?

In this article, I will explore the strategic reasons for changing your LMS software, discuss how to select the best one for your organization, and the steps necessary for identifying top candidates for consideration.

Why and when to change your LMS software

Your learning management system is the backbone of your eLearning programs, and it should adapt as your organization grows and changes. Here are some reasons why you might consider upgrading your LMS:

  • Your current LMS is outdated or lacking essential features: As technology advances, modern LMS platforms offer increasingly sophisticated features such as mobile compatibility, personalized learning paths, gamification, and social learning.
  • Inefficient user experience: If your learners or administrators struggle with a clunky or unintuitive interface, it might be time for an upgrade. An LMS with a modern, user-friendly interface can increase engagement and productivity.
  • Scalability issues: If your organization has outgrown its current LMS, you need a system that can scale with you. The right LMS should easily accommodate new users, content, and other resources without compromising on performance.
  • Changing business needs: If your organization's goals or priorities have shifted, it's crucial to have a system that can support your new objectives.
  • Change in the number of users: If the number of learners using your LMS has increased or decreased, you need to ensure that you are paying the right amount. The cost of many LMS platforms depends on the number of users.

Selection criteria for new LMS software

When considering a new LMS, it's essential to identify features that align with your organization's needs and objectives. Here are a few important criteria you should consider in your selection process:

  • Functionality and flexibility: Identify the features you need now and anticipate any future requirements. The LMS should be scalable and easily customizable to ensure your eLearning initiatives remain relevant.
  • Ease of use: Look for an LMS that offers a smooth, user-friendly experience, both for learners and for administrators.
  • Integration capabilities: Your LMS should integrate seamlessly with other essential tools your organization uses such as HR systems, content authoring tools, and more.
  • Support and upgrades: Choose an LMS that provides excellent customer support and regular upgrades to stay current with the latest eLearning trends.
  • Pricing and fees: Consider your budget and any recurring or unexpected costs as you evaluate different LMS options.

Timing is everything: When to make the change

Knowing when to switch to a new LMS is crucial. Consider making the change if:

  • You have an upcoming course or program launch, giving you the opportunity to pilot the new LMS without disrupting existing courses.
  • Your current LMS contract is nearing its end, providing a natural transition point.
  • The pain of using your current LMS outweighs the potential growing pains of switching to a new system (as confirmed by learner feedback).

Identify top three candidates for a new LMS

As you search for a new LMS, invest the necessary time and effort to research, demo, and test potential candidates. To ensure you find the perfect fit for your organization, follow these steps:

  • Depending on the size and governance requirements or policies of your organization, consider establishing an LMS selection committee, a decision-making process, and selection criteria: the committee should include key representatives of the stakeholders, including IT.
  • Get unbiased evaluations: There are online sites where you can obtain impartial reviews of LMS software to get the best match to your requirements (see the last section of this article). Most software vendors will work with you to identify the perfect fit for your organization while ensuring you get the most out of your system in terms of performance, scalability and cost-effectiveness.
  • Gather a list of potential candidates: Use your selection criteria and online reviews to compile a list of all the potential LMS platforms that match your requirements.
  • Schedule demos: Invest time in trying out multiple platforms to understand their functionality and user experience.
  • Compare features: Analyze each platform's strengths and weaknesses and closely compare their features against your must-haves.
  • Assess customer service: Take the opportunity to evaluate each platform's customer service capabilities, including support levels, response times, and more.
  • Test the system: Test out the LMS solutions you’re considering with limited user access before diving into a full-fledged implementation process.

Once you have identified the top three candidates for your new LMS, take the time to assess them in greater detail. This will allow you to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of their features, pricing, scalability, security, and more.

Make your decision

Make sure you test out the platforms with your LMS selection team before making the final decision. With all this information, you can then make an informed decision and select the best LMS for your needs.

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