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10 Tips on Selecting a Learning Management System (LMS)

Are you considering purchasing an LMS for your company? Below are some tips or a “checklist” of things you may want to consider. Please provide feedback whether this was helpful, or provide suggestions to add to the list to frank@atrixware.com.

Tip #1. Do your “Due Diligence”
More features usually means more complexity – What level of complexity can you handle?
___ Did you identify your core current needs or requirements for your LMS?
___ Did you identify your future needs? (see scalability below)
___ Which LMS Features are “need to have” versus “nice to have”?

Tip #2. My Server or Yours
___ Decide on a hosted solution LMS (by the vendor) or…
___ Decide on an LMS that you host (on your company’s servers)
Does the vendor offer both solutions? If so, Which solution is better for you?
If the vendor hosts, you probably don’t need an IT manager or department involvement.
If you host, did you identify LMS techincal requirements and get IT involved?

Tip #3. Try it before you buy it
___ Does the Vendor offer a FREE LMS Demo or LMS Presentation?
___ Is it “Live” so you can ask questions during the demo, or is it “pre-recorded” so you can watch it anytime?
___ Does the vendor offer a working “sandbox” implementation so you can “pilot” or evaluate the LMS using your data and conditions?

Tip #4. Batteries not included (Know the LMS limitations)
___ Are all the features you need included “out of the box”?
___ Are there any features you need that are available but at an additional cost?
___ Are there any features you need that are not available at all? (the “deal” breakers)

Tip #5. Get a user-friendly LMS
___ Does the LMS interface have easy navigation and ease of Administration?
___ Is the LMS end-user centered for your student, employee and/or customer?
___ Is it an intuitive LMS? can the instructor use it immediately or is training involved?
___ Are there simple and time saving edit functions and Help available in the system?

Tip #6. Get a user-friendly Vendor
___ Do you get a “Live” vendors who take the time to talk with you?
___ Does the Vendor have experience with organizations similar to yours?
___ Does the Vendor align with your strategies and commit to your long term business goals?
___ What is the Vendor’s history, vision, and current successes?
___ Is the Vendor a Stable company? Who are their current clients?
___ How successful have their clients been with implementation? What is the vendor’s overall reputation?
___ Can the vendor provide to you a list of customers currently using their LMS?

Tip #7. Get a Scalable LMS (an LMS thats expandable like your business)
___ Is it a Configurable LMS?
___ Can you customize the interface to reflect your companys color scheme, logo, branding, etc?
___ Can the LMS automatically generate certificates for end-users with the necessary information?

___ Is it a Customizable LMS?
___ Do you need an LMS with e-commerce automation and integration?
___ Is it a for-profit LMS or a not for profit LMS?
___ Do you need your LMS Integrated with other systems?

Tip #8. Get a Flexible LMS
___ Does the LMS offer online tracking, self-registration, and front-end authentication?

What is the LMS Authoring capability?
___ Can you store different types of media including: .doc, .swf, .html,etc.
___ Is it easy to import existing elearning content or elearning materials?

What is the LMS Reporting capability?
___ Can reports prove your LMS training is both effective and cost effective?
___ Can you get easy access to standard reports and export the reports to varied formats like Excel?

Tip #9. Get a well Supported LMS and Secure LMS that is Easy to Implement
___ Will the vendor get you thru implementation and successful launch of the LMS system, or is there additional costs involved?
___ What post implementation services are available?
___ What levels of ongoing support are included and what is the cost of those services?
___ Is it email (ticketing system) support, phone support, both or none?
___ Does the Vendor offer System Backups?
___ What about Upgrades? Online Help? What type of training if offered?
Is is a Reliable LMS?
___ Is Reliability and Stability and continuity of LMS service guaranteed?

Tip #10. All that and a bag of chips… Affordability
___ Is it a cost-effective LMS?
___ Is the cost of the LMS within your budget?
___ Is it an affordable LMS (remember to include annual tech support, upgrades, etc)?

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