eLearning has become a very popular mode of imparting education in recent times. It is very easy to find hundreds of virtual courses for the subjects you are looking to study with a simple Google search.
A Learning Management System (LMS) is used for creating this online courseware and training. It is the software that lies at the core of eLearning. Selecting the right LMS platform for your online courseware is a very important step. Because there are hundreds of LMS platforms to choose from, finding the one that suits your needs perfectly (or almost) can be a daunting one. Many people make the mistake of ignoring their needs and the features of the LMS, and just choose one that ‘looks good’.
This article makes it easier for you by listing the top 10 things you should check before you choose an LMS platform.
- Determine your learning goals.
For choosing the right LMS, you need to have a clear picture of your learning goals and objectives. Be clear about the knowledge and skills you want your students to take away from the course. The LMS should be able to fulfil what your learners are expecting from it. Whether it is just theoretical learning, or attempting tests and exams, or even completing projects, the LMS must be able to support the specific teaching requirements of a particular course.
- Evaluate your development team
Your technical development team must be proficient in, or be able to learn, the working of the LMS platform. If you choose an LMS that is beyond the professional capabilities of your development team, then you are going to lose out on the personalization and visual appeal that only comes through human intervention. And you may also need to outsource all work related to the LMS, shelling out extra resources in the process.
- Analyze your strategic requirements
Knowing where you stand in terms of your learning and development strategy will help in selecting the right LMS platform for your courseware. The strategy will spell out what is working for you as against the issues that need to be worked upon. This way, you can select an LMS platform that optimally utilizes and enhances the positive aspects of your course and assists you in improving the issues.
- Features of the LMS
As obvious as it may sound, it is extremely important to look through all the features of an LMS to understand whether it is a viable option. An LMS that is difficult to use, has a complicated system, isn’t economically feasible, or needs intensive training isn’t the right one. This is a fundamental step in your research that must not be ignored.
- Your feature requirements
Does the LMS platform possess the features that you require for your courseware? For example, if you want to include tests, a live chatbox, exams, grades, and a forum, then you need an LMS platform that supports these features either independently or with the help of plugins. Usually, the LMS comes with a list of all its features and detailed descriptions. Read these carefully.
- In-house software & technology
Remember that the new LMS platform needs to integrate with your current software. It should complement the technology that you are using. Get in touch with your technical team to confirm whether the LMS will work seamlessly with the in-house software.
- Accessibility & Responsiveness
Do you want your courseware to be accessible across all devices, like laptops, mobiles, and tablets, or do you want to restrict it to a particular device? Deciding on the accessibility of the courseware has repercussions on the number of people who will opt for it. Almost all eLearning courses are now available on mobile devices.
The next automatic consideration is responsiveness. If your course is mobile, tablet, and laptop-friendly, then it must be designed for responsiveness across all these devices. Does the LMS platform allow for this? Look into it before selecting one.
- Offline and Online learning
If you want your learners to be able to download course material, such as audio and video files, to access later or in the absence of a strong internet connection, then you need to select an LMS platform that offers this feature. There are some LMSs that provide students with this option. There may be some LMSs that provide this feature as an add-on. Research the market to get the right options.
- Customer Support
Students encountering issues with the learning module or facing doubts related to any aspect of learning is a common occurrence. Do you want to offer 24×7 virtual support to your students, or have them raise a ticket and ask for assistance? A good customer support system is very important for any software, especially a learning one. Test various LMSs for their customer support features before selecting one.
Analyze whether the cost of the LMS platform is fair for the features and functionality that it is offering. It may so happen that the platform boasts of top-notch features, but it isn’t what you require. Whether an LMS platform is economically feasible, optimal, and sound depends upon the matching of the features and your requirements.
Selecting an LMS platform should be done carefully and with thorough research. Remember that you are going to be investing in the software in terms of time, money, and technical know-how. Hence, going back on your choice will not be a feasible or sensible option. On the contrary, it is better to take your time and make the right decision.