Searching for a learning management system is a frequent task for learning and development organizations, whether as a new implementation or as a replacement for the currently adopted system. Learning Solutions has published many articles on the topic of LMS selection. There are a number of factors identified in those articles affecting the choice of an LMS summarized here. Use the links to access the details.
Which of these cases describe your situation?
Begin the process by thinking about your requirements. Do you have:
- A stable number of learners who must receive specific required training?
- Is there a lot of turnover among learners, or a lot of one-time training requirements?
- Can you send learners through in cohorts at regular intervals?
- Does the demand for training vary a lot throughout the year?
- Are there specific features needed for your situation? (See the next section of this article.)
- Does your training require tailoring for different groups within the organization?
- Can you customize the LMS using L&D staff, or do you need to have IT or a contractor to do this?
Are there specific requirements that the LMS must be able to handle?
- Customization of reports
- SCORM compliant, SCORM conformant, or SCORM certified by ADL
- Support for xAPI
- Support for multiple languages
- Analytics; including learner behavior, learner proficiency, learner satisfaction
- Special delivery needs; such as managing podcast or video materials
- Features matched to your industry or regulatory requirements
What options are offered for paying for the LMS? Do these match up well with your situation (the beginning of this list)?
- Pay per active user
- Pay per learner
- Pay as you go
- License fee/subscription
- Open source
There are hundreds of LMS products available, and the number changes constantly. These websites provide comprehensive coverage of what's available, and they also provide ratings and different ways to sort the offerings so that you can match them to your requirements.
Ratings and RFPs
The sites listed immediately above this paragraph will help you locate information and user ratings of LMS offerings, but you will still need to pare the list of candidates down. The Request for Proposal (RFP) is the best way to approach getting the specifics you need in order to make a decision. The article by Steve Foreman cited in the first paragraph outlines a "product evaluation funnel" approach to the evaluation and selection process.