Choosing the right Learning Management System is an arduous task and if not done carefully, may lead to a substantial waste of time and money. But most importantly, it may fail to achieve its main purpose: of creating the right online learning environment in the organization. Look out for the following things before you make the big decision:
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Customizable and intuitive interface
The interface should be simple so that all kinds of users feel easy to use it. Compare good and bad websites to understand how a neat, simple yet comprehensive interface makes all the difference in the willingness to browse. A good LMS is easily customizable. Customizability gives you that extra flexibility to add, delete or change whatever features you want. It should have a search feature- simple, yet extremely useful. Plus, if the interface is intuitive, for example if it can list suggestions based on learners’ searching and browsing, great!
If you have a dedicated IT department that can work to provide tireless 24/7 support and backup, self-hosting is for you. If not, ask your vendor to provide cloud based support on their servers. Doing so eases all the technical burden and hassle of installation, maintenance and backup.
Whichever hosting method you choose, your LMS must be easy to integrate with third party applications. Be it in-house ERP systems or external applications from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, if your LMS does not merge its functionalities with the applications your employees use most commonly, it will not be able to deliver the full utility that it must.
The Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a collection of standards and specifications for web-based e-learning. Basically, it allows content to be created once and used in a plug-and-play form at substantial cost savings in different systems and multiple times without any modification. Make sure your LMS is SCORM compliant to the latest version which allows for Tin Can API support.AICC (Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee) is another standard and it allows content to exist on a separate server and supports secure information transfers with HTTPS. Ultimately, it depends on your priorities. If secure data transfer is more of a concern for you, AICC is the right choice otherwise common rapid eLearning development tools work well with both SCORM and AICC.
Social learning is the need of the day and it would be unwise to invest in an LMS that does not have social features embedded in it. A good LMS should be able to provide real-time chat, video-conferencing, online discussions, etc. to facilitate onboarding. At the same time, administrators must have the power to monitor discussion content ad intervene if necessary. This list isn’t exhaustive, but it encompasses a few key things that you should start your research with. Go for a demo before zeroing in on one. Of course, the final choice of LMS depends on individual organizational needs and constraints.
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