“While many pundits claim the LMS is dead or dying, survey data show it is still the predominant learning platform,” writes Steve Foreman in a recent Guild research report, Trends in Learning Technology. He found that 98 percent of large organizations (defined as those with more than 5,000 employees) today use an LMS product, as do 80 percent of small organizations (those with 1 – 500 employees). Foreman’s research indicates that overall, 86 percent of all organizations use an LMS product.
Learning management systems have been fixtures in the workplace since the mid-1990s, and L&D still values them because the LMS is a stalwart partner for course scheduling, delivery, and tracking. However, Foreman found that contemporary trends such as AR/VR, microlearning, and social learning are motivating L&D professionals to reexamine their existing learning platforms. Nearly a third of respondents to Foreman’s learning platforms survey say they are either considering, or in the process of acquiring, a new LMS.
Foreman understands that it can be difficult to sort through the hundreds of options currently available in the marketplace. He is the author of The LMS Guidebook: Learning Management Systems Demystified (Association for Talent Development, 2017), a comprehensive book that can help L&D professionals navigate the complex process of selecting and implementing a new learning management system. He offers the following tips to those considering a new LMS.
Seven tips for those considering a new LMS
- Be strategic. Many organizations let technology drive the decisions, but it’s really important to have a clearly defined and clearly communicated learning strategy that is aligned with the larger organizational strategy. Allow that strategy to drive the technology decisions.
- Ask IT for help in developing a clear set of feature and functional requirements for the solution. They are experts at defining requirements and sorting through technical issues.
- Get the perspectives of all the different stakeholders who will interact with the LMS, and incorporate their input into your selection process.
- Consider how your LMS technology fits into the broader technology infrastructure in your organization. If you will need to integrate a new LMS with other systems or tools (such as web conferencing,) you want to make sure there is compatibility.
- There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to learning management systems. There are many LMS products available, and each organization’s priorities and needs are different. Organizations must determine the best fit for their unique needs.
- Vet the products that are out there, narrowing it down to a short list. A new LMS represents a sizeable investment. Having a few possibilities will leverage more negotiating power with the vendor.
- Acknowledge the learning curve. Conducting an LMS evaluation and selection effort is time and resource-intensive and requires due diligence. Reduce risks by doing your research and/or retaining the services of a reputable consultant.