Criteria to Select the Perfect User-Friendly LMS for Your Online Training By Dr. Ayesha Habeeb Omer, COO & Co-Founder, CommLab India

Criteria to Select the Perfect User-Friendly LMS for Your Online Training

Dr. Ayesha Habeeb Omer, COO & Co-Founder, CommLab India | Monday, 25 September 2017, 11:41 IST

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Buying a Learning Management System (LMS) is a big decision and an important investment for any organization. With so many LMSs available in the market today, it can be a hassle to choose the right one that fits your needs. Every organization has its own set of criteria and objectives. The best one for you is the one that best matches your needs. Before selecting an LMS, it’s a good idea to do some preliminary research to define the list of features you need.

Here is a list of questions that could help you identify the features that will make your LMS user-friendly.

1. Is the LMS user-centric?

You need to evaluate how user-centric the LMS is. A user-centric LMS is one that enables users to achieve their objectives with minimal disruption and effort. The easier the interface is for your users (be it learners, administrators, trainers, or SMEs), the more they will use the LMS. You don’t want your users to battle with the interface, trying to understand the technology and how it works - which button to click or how to go to the next screen. The LMS should make it easy for them to find what they are looking for and navigate through the interface easily.

2. Does the LMS allow room for customization?

An LMS comes with a standard interface but you should be able to get it customized according to your organizational training workflow and look and feel. Customizing might include using your organization’s terminology, the color palette, layout, and themes to suit your organization branding. This feature is important because employees will relate to the content easily as it is aligned with the other interfaces they are familiar with such as the HR portal, Intranet or the company website.

3. Does the LMS help in course creation?

Course creation is an important feature to look for in an LMS. Not all LMSs have the ability to create courses. If you are not planning to purchase a license for a course authoring tool in the near future, this may be a useful feature to have in an LMS. The feature allows you to create simple course content and get you going on your online learning journey. It also allows you to have control over your course and update it as and when required. You can also upload resources, quizzes, and assessments related to the course. So, you may want to check this feature in an LMS.

4. Does the LMS support mobile learning?

If you are considering training employees such as sales force, service engineers, or those who do not have a fixed workspace, mobile learning option would be good. Regular e-learning courses can be made mobile compatible or you can even create short bite-sized modules specifically for mobile devices and deploy to your learners via an LMS. But, you need to first make sure that the LMS is compatible with mobile devices. So, this is one feature that you should look for when considering purchasing an LMS. After all, it is a long-term investment and the future is mobile.

5. Does it help with compliance and certificate management?

If you work in a domain that is highly regulated, compliance training is mandatory for your employees. Your LMS should allow you to keep records of compliance and regulatory training in real time – and enable you to be inspection-ready with up-to-date data and reports. It should be able to issue certificates of completion automatically, and notify users well in advance of expiration dates. Look out for these features in an LMS.

6. Do you have a team that provides 24x7 Support?

Often, it is seen that once the LMS is installed, administrators find it too complicated and difficult to execute their tasks. The job of an LMS vendor doesn’t end with installing your LMS. Technology can be tricky, and your LMS administrator may not always be equipped when it comes to handling the technical aspects of an LMS. Therefore, it is important that you select an LMS provider who is willing to be your long-term partner and not just a one-off seller of your LMS; someone who offers to be available to resolve your end-user queries and ensure uninterrupted learning management.

7. Does the LMS offer customized reporting and tracking?

LMSs consist of a set of standard reports that help track learner progress and evaluate training outcomes. These reports may or may not fulfill your needs. Invest time in determining what kind of reports you need and negotiate for the same to be default right at the time of purchase. It will be expensive to get vendors to make customizations after the purchase or installation.

8. Can the LMS offer a Multilingual GUI?

A multilingual GUI accommodates multiple languages for the interface. If you are planning to rollout multiple language versions of the same course, allowing learners to switch between languages of their choice, you need to make sure your LMS supports a multilingual interface. If your course is in Hindi or French but the LMS interface is in English, the learner will not know which button to click and what to do.

A multilingual GUI allows the learner to switch between languages anytime, to choose a language they are most comfortable with. Even if you currently do not have plans to deploy courses in multiple languages, you might come across a need in future and it is good to have an LMS that takes care of future needs.

A Learning Management System is a big investment for an organization to make with long-term ramifications. A wise investment will help reap rich dividends and achieve business goals. However, a bad choice will be a white elephant that you can neither dispose of easily nor make the best use of to achieve your training objectives. Understanding what you truly want is important. You don’t choose a vendor based on the features they highlight and showcase but you choose a vendor based on how closely they meet your specific needs.

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