Does your organization need a learning management system (LMS)? An LMS can be a great way to manage and distribute training across the organization. An LMS can also ensure tracking and compliance of critical operations, facilities, and manufacturing training as well as human resources, sexual harassment, diversity and inclusion. But not all LMS or LxPs are created equal… some do a great job with different content and modalities, while others are better at collaboration and community, others are more focused on gamification, badges, and rewards and then there are others that require additional programming or advanced integration with third party systems to do progress tracking, secure login, certificates, transcripts, quizzes, assessments, and surveys. Lastly you’ll want to consider whether you’ll need the ability to create content within the platform.

To figure out if you need an LMS/LCMS/LxP, here are five questions to ask:

1. What are your goals and requirements for learning within your organization?

Before deciding whether you really need an LMS, you need to understand your goals. What do you need an LMS to do? Who will be completing the learning courses? Is your organization looking to administer an employee training program, track compliance, or manage employee performance? Or do you plan to prepare and deliver training courses for purchase by individuals or other organizations? As part of the full-needs assessment, identify which goals are most important and ensure all stakeholders agree and your IT staff is included, so technical requirements are part of the vetting process.

2. Is an LMS the right tool?

As your organizational goals crystalize, you may find that an LMS is not what’s needed. Main factors for this decision may include compliance and reporting requirements, objectives of your learning programs, and whether you need to integrate with third party HRIS systems.

An LMS is a powerful tool for delivering and tracking educational content and training programs. However, if a different set of tools would be a better fit, here are some alternatives:

  • Learning Content Management System: An LMS that also allows for the creation of training content.
  • Content Management System: A tool that allows creating, editing, and publishing content.
  • Performance Management System: Tracks employee performance and progress toward an organization’s strategic goals.
  • Talent Management System: An integrated platform that manages the employee experience, from recruitment through retention.

3. What kinds of training are you delivering and managing?

Once you’ve decided an LMS is the right option for your organization. In this case, you’ll need to define the types of training you’re offering, such as eLearning, video, emerging modalities such as AR or VR, audio, or interactive content such as gamification or simulation and whether it will be instructor-led, a flipped classroom, or blended learning.

The modalities and goals of your training should guide your evaluation process, and help you narrow down your choices. Not all LMS platforms will be compatible with all your training needs.

4. What other systems or tools do you need to integrate with?

From the technical requirements you identified in step 1 with your stakeholders and IT staff, take a look at the different systems, processes, or features the LMS will need to integrate with to meet your ideal learners’ needs such as:

• Virtual classrooms
• Course libraries
• Custom reporting
• Mobile learning
• Social learning
• Gamification
• Competencies and proficiency testing

You will also need to consider specific security features, such as multifactor authentication or compliance with specific industry norms or regulations, or to communicate with student information systems (SIS) or HR information systems (HRIS).

Knowing ALL requirements will help narrow the list of LMSs to evaluate.

5. Do you need eCommerce?

Finally, whether you are selling individual training or complete courses, built-in eCommerce functionality is critical. There are some LMSs that incorporate purchasing functions, but if selling is required, consider looking for systems that integrate with other eCommerce platforms or your own purchasing systems.

After you’ve addressed these five questions, you should know whether an LMS is the right tool for your training needs — and you can begin to evaluate your options effectively. Still have questions? Download our whitepaper “You need an LMS — Now What?”

Need more guidance? Using a consultant, like Evolve, can be beneficial.  Schedule a consult here!