LMS Selection: Features You Should Never Compromise
LMS selection can be an overwhelming task. There are hundreds of Learning Management Systems on the market, and an equal number of tools to help you select the “right” one.
It is easy to get lost in the myriad of LMS features and lose track of the functionality that is most important to your organization. It is just as easy to make assumptions about how your LMS selection will accommodate your needs.
Avoiding Costly LMS Selection Assumptions
Don’t be too quick to check off vital feature requirements during your LMS selection. A bit of additional research can make all the difference in finding the best platform for your needs.
Once you find a Learning Management System that does “almost” everything you need, you can fill in many feature gaps with workarounds or add-ons.
But there are certain features and functionality you should never compromise. These will depend on your specific needs, but they are features that will be difficult to find effective workarounds for later.
Knowing when not to compromise on features is an important step in the LMS selection process.
When consulting with our clients, we’ve found some common places people tend to get into trouble by making assumptions. You may find more of your own, but these can get you started…
When an LMS claims to offer compliance features, that can mean many things. It could simply mean the LMS offers certificates that can be renewed.
It is worth digging deeper to investigate what an LMS really does to make your compliance training process easier.
For instance, does the LMS track the compliance status of employees? Does it remind employees (and admins) to renew their compliance and reassign courses automatically? Does the LMS generate compliance reports for managers?
If you plan to implement a competency-based learning program, then you need an LMS that can properly facilitate your program.
Look for an LMS with robust competency and mastery features that integrates with automation systems to personalize the experience for learners.
Other features to look for from a robust competency offering include:
- The ability to tag lessons and assessments with competencies
- Effective coverage analysis and reporting
- Assigning rubrics to competencies
- Associating competencies with quiz questions
When an LMS offers “custom” reporting, don’t assume that means all of the data in your LMS is available for reporting. Make a list of your reporting needs, then confirm that the Learning Management Systems you are considering are able to accommodate those needs.
xAPI and SCORM Reporting
Many LMSs claim to support xAPI, but that DOES NOT mean that the LMS will capture all the data xAPI generates. Research this well if you plan to utilize xAPI to its full potential.
The same issue applies to SCORM reporting. Most LMSs only capture whether a SCORM module was completed, while ignoring scores or time spent in the module. If you need more granular reporting from your SCORM packages, make sure your LMS selection offers these options.
Incorporating different types of assessments can usually be accomplished by integrating LTI or other tools with an LMS. But if you need advanced testing functionality, make sure your LMS selection has the features you need.
For instance, does the LMS offer the ability to generate randomized quizzes from multiple question banks based on criteria like tagging or competencies? Does it allow you to re-quiz only missed questions? This type of advanced quizzing functionality is rarely found in an LMS.
Be careful not to make assumptions as to the full functionality of an LMSs testing features. And make a thorough wish list of the features you expect.
The best Learning Management Systems have mobile apps available in the leading app stores. But don’t assume that your learners will be able to access content offline.
If you need to train people in the field or in other areas where Internet access may be limited, make sure your LMS selection offers offline access for their mobile apps.
Learning Management Systems typically offer customization options like colors, logos, and other types of branding. But few of them offer the ability to alter the layout within the LMS or to include custom functionality.
Due Diligence Pays Off
Though this list isn’t exhaustive, it can help you avoid making assumptions about the “must have” functionality you need in your LMS.
How Elearning Delta Can Help
We vet the market for the best Learning Management Systems and match them to our clients’ needs. We’d love to help you with your own LMS selection.