It's no secret that learning management systems (LMS) have become an integral part of corporate learning and development. In today's business environment, it is essential to have a system in place that can manage and track employee learning and online training. However, with so many different LMS options on the market, how do you choose the right one for your company?
If you're selling courses or offer internal training in your business, choosing the right learning management software can be a daunting task. Most business owners put it off until they're in dire need of a learning management system for their online courses, and then get overwhelmed with all the alternatives out there. In this blog post, we outline the main factors you must consider when making this decision, and provide steps to help you choose the best LMS for your company.
What makes a great LMS system?
When narrowing down your learning management system options, it is important to consider the features that are a priority for your business. For example, some businesses might prioritize ease of use and implementation, while others might put more emphasis on robust reporting capabilities.
Here are some key features to look for in a learning management system:
- Ease of use: The learning management system should be easy to use for both administrators and learners. This means having a user-friendly interface that is intuitive and easy to navigate.
- Implementation: It should be quick and easy to set up and implement the LMS software. There should also be minimal disruption to your business during the implementation process.
- Reporting: The LMS should provide detailed reports on learning progress and performance. This information can be used to improve the learning experience for employees and identify areas of improvement.
- Flexibility: The learning management system should be flexible enough to accommodate your company's specific needs. In this sense, it needs to be able to integrate with other software applications or systems that you are using.
- Growth orientation: A good LMS software should help your company grow by providing features that allow you to scale up or down as needed.
What are the main types of LMS?
Although we can find many different classifications, like single vs collaborative learning platforms, there are basically three main types of learning management systems out there.
Open source LMS
As is the case with all open source software, these are free to use and can be customized to fit the specific needs of your business. This can be great for businesses with limited budgets, but keep in mind that you will need to have some technical skills to make the necessary changes.
Proprietary or commercial LMS
Proprietary learning management systems are owned by a single company, which means they are not open source. These systems usually come with an off the gate fee, and then you're free to install it in your own server. The main advantage of proprietary LMS solutions is that they often have more features and are easier to use than open-source systems. Moreover, you can normally get a demo of the software before you buy it, so you can see if it's a good fit for your business.
Hosted or cloud-based LMS
Hosted learning management systems are similar to proprietary systems, but instead of purchasing the software outright, you pay a yearly subscription fee. The main advantage of hosted learning management systems is that they're managed by the provider.
This means that you don't have to worry about hosting or maintaining the software yourself, which can be a great option for businesses with limited IT resources or those who want to avoid any technical complications and just want to focus on training their employees.
Why your company needs an LMS
A learning management system can be a great asset for businesses of all sizes. Here are some benefits of using an LMS:
- Improved learning outcomes: An LMS can help you deliver e-learning content in a more organized and effective way, which can lead to improved learning outcomes for employees.
- Investing in your employees: a learning management system shows that you are invested in your employees and their learning and development. This can help to engage and motivate your workers.
- Reduced training costs: A learning management system helps you save on training costs by delivering learning content electronically and asynchronously. This is a great way to cut down on travel and accommodation expenses when compared to traditional training.
- Increased labor retention: A good training plan leads to increased labor retention, as employees are more likely to stick around if they feel that their learning and development is being supported.
What factors must be considered when choosing an LMS?
As you can imagine, there are many solutions in the LMS space, and each one of them has its own set of features. So, how do you know which digital learning management system is the best for your business? Here are some factors to consider when choosing an LMS.
Learning needs of your organization
Are you selling courses to people outside of your company? Do you mainly want to have a structured online resource that you can use to train your employees? Some of the best LMS options out there allow you to easily prepare different learning paths, but you'll need to do your own research in this regard.
How big is your company, and how many employees do you have? The best learning management systems for small businesses might not have the LMS features needed for enterprise companies. Again, this is something that you'll need to research on your own but it's worth considering because some learning management systems are better suited for small companies while others shine when used by large corporations.
Of course, you'll also need to consider your budget when choosing an LMS. How much are you willing to spend? Do you prefer yearly payments, or are you looking for a lifetime fee? You'll need to calculate your ROI before making a decision in this regard.
Ease of use
How easy is a specific learning management system to use? Can someone on your team set it up and get it running without too much trouble? Is it optimized for mobile learning and content creation? These are important questions to ask yourself because you don't want to invest in a solution that's going to be too complicated for your team and your employees to use. This will also help you with learner engagement, as an easy to use platform will improve online learning processes.
If something goes wrong with your learning technologies, who are you going to contact for help? It's important to make sure that the vendor you're working with offers excellent customer support and content management in case you need it.
Last but not least, you should also consider security when choosing an LMS. Does it offer features like two-factor authentication and data encryption? These are important considerations to make when you need to choose an LMS, especially if you're going to be storing sensitive employee information in your learning management system. Also, if you're going to do compliance training or talk about sensitive topics, you'll need to make sure your LMS is safe.
5 steps to choose the best learning management system for your business
1. Do your research
The learning management system market is huge, and there are different options to choose from. The first step is to do your research and figure out which ones are the best for your specific needs. To do this, you can start by reading online reviews, talking to other businesses in your industry, and doing some general research on learning management systems. This will help you get a better understanding of the different features and benefits that each one has to offer.
2. Make a list of specific features you need
Once you've done your research and have a good understanding of the different learning management systems available, it's time to make a list of features that are important to you. For example, if you're mainly interested in the ability to create both synchronous and asynchronous courses, the best alternatives will be completely different than if you're looking for an LMS that offers extensive gamification features.
3. Try out a few learning management systems
Once you've chosen the features that you need, it's time to start trying out different learning management systems. The best way to do this is to sign up for free trials or demo versions of the ones that interest you. This will give you a chance to see how they work in real-world scenarios and figure out if they're actually what you're looking for.
4. Talk to your team
After you've sampled several LMS alternatives, it's important to get feedback from your team. After all, they're the ones who will be using the system on a day-to-day basis. So, sit down with them and find out what they think about the different options. Do they find one of them to be particularly user-friendly? Are there any features that they're missing? This feedback will be incredibly valuable when making your final decision.
5. Get learning management system quotes
Finally, once you've narrowed down your options, it's time to start getting learning management system quotes. This will give you a better idea of how much you'll need to spend on each one, and will help you decide what the best option is according to your budget.
The best LMS for businesses
If you're looking for a software that allows you to sell courses and manage your company's internal training, Workleap LMS is the best option for you. Our LMS offers both synchronous and asynchronous learning, making it the perfect tool for online education. With LMS, you can easily manage your learning and enrollment, as well as get certified and accredited. Do you want to learn more about how Workleap LMS can help your business? Sign up for our free trial and see for yourself!