Let’s assume you are clear about your learning goals; you know your organization’s specific requirements, levels of employee skills and specialization and their need for acquiring and retaining information. You have also done your research about the main types of LMS to have in mind, so now is the time to take the next step and select the right one for your company.
Here are the three most important points to have in mind when you do this.
#1 Company Size
The size of your company is an important factor when considering the type of LMS, but it’s also equally important to do the necessary research and be realistic about how many of your employees will have the need to use it and will actually do so. Just until recently most commercial LMS were catering mainly to the needs of larger companies which was reflected also in the initial implementation and customization cost, as well as in the ongoing expenses. Now, there are more and more lower cost options that are also perfectly suitable for the small to medium-sized business.
Even though some of these feature are also equally important for large corporate organizations, a small business will usually look at an LMS that offers:
- flexible payment options, without the need for big initial layouts
- User friendliness of the system which doesn’t require a steep learning curve and involvement from technical staff
- Easy configuration and quick (and easy) customizations - just because your company is small, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the special features
- Easy deployment - a SaaS option can be the best solution for an SME, but more and more large corporations are looking into it as well.
- Support and security - it’s important to have a reliable support option as part of the service and not to compromise on security, regardless of whether you company is big or small.
#2 Geographic location
Even if you all your staff is located in the same place geographically, the reality of today’s working environment is that we are all on the move at least some of the time. Indeed regardless of your company size, co-located teams, remote or home-based working are becoming the norm, not the exception. Thus, the best learning management systems should have the ability to distribute your content without geographic boundaries, making it possible for employees across different countries and continents to have an equally good level of access and service. If you are a truly global business and expect most of the access to your LMS to be from geographically distant locations, then a cloud-based LMS will potentially be the best option for you as it will resolve issues with hosting and having to dedicate staff internally to that. Another key aspect if you have a global audience of learners is the ease of localizing the system interface to different languages so you can provide adequate content and user experience to all of them.
#3 Type of learning and type of industry
Ideally, you’d want a system that will cover all your learning goals and be suitable for all types of learning including onboarding and induction, product training, compliance, as well as testing and quizzes. It’s important here to analyze in detail what the predominant type of learning will be in your company and then select the system that will best address that. Broadly speaking there are 3 stages in the learning journey and your company’s trianing needs will fall within one of them predominantly.
Knowledge initiation - this stage fits with onboarding and induction training, as well as retraining for new skills. It requires delivering big quantities of information, usually in short periods of time. Industries with high churn or big and constantly changing range of products/services are typical for this type of learning journey. A good LMS system for these organizations will have high content authoring capabilities and the option for blended learning. Good reporting features to keep track of progress for employee training is also essential. Interactive and gamification features will also help to keep people focused and motivated.
Knowledge retention - this situation is often encountered in companies where employees are required to have a very specific knowledge on a complex range of products or services (e.g. pharmaceutical sales, highly technical products or equipment, etc.). It is key for the right LMS in this case to be able to push content to learners from any place on any device, so they can access it whenever they need it. After all, much of the success of a sales rep depends on their confidence, and having to retrieve all information from memory is not always possible, hence helpful tools will produce the required results.
Knowledge management - for some organizations, pure learning is only part of the process. It is important that employee can refer quickly to different types of knowledge and information on a variety of topics. A suitable LMS in this case will have social features, the ability to tag and search, so learners can find and share knowledge easily.
We will continue to post more about LMS features to expand your knowledge and make it easier for you to navigate around the world of eLearning technology solutions. Stay tuned for the upcoming articles here or contact us if you require further information on Melon LMS.