LMS Evaluation Checklist: choosing a learning management system

What to look for in an LMS? You're looking into a new LMS and don't know where to start? We have a handy checklist to help you discuss with your team and choose the LMS that suits your needs best.

LMS Evaluation Checklist

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Look at the talents of your learning & development team

Do you have a big team with different talent, and do you want to take everything into your own hands? Or, are you a small group that wants to focus on creating courses to get your students or colleagues started on learning? Find an LMS according to the talents of your team.

How to integrate with other software you use

You probably use a lot more software than just an LMS. Look into the availability of options to connect or integrate with other software. Does the LMS support outgoing webhooks? Can you connect to your favorite software like MailChimp or Hubspot? 

Review experience and reviews of the LMS vendor

Look into the company who is creating the LMS. Is it a new kid on the block or is it a large and long-established company? Each company will come with its own unique set of characteristics. Look for LMS reviews to learn what users think of the company. 

Saas vs installed on your own server

Learning management systems can be divided in two chunks: online LMS (Saas) or installed software on your own server. Which do you prefer? Saas is usually cheaper, quicker to start using, and doesn't require your own servers. If you choose to install it on your own servers that's ok with us... but we think it's something of the early 2000's.

What support is offered with the LMS

Everybody promises an easy-to-use interface. But believe us, you're going to have questions at the start. Probably more than one. How is the support of the LMS vendor? An LMS is not something you should choose overnight. You're going to invest a lot of time and money in your LMS, so you better make sure they have pros available to help you get the most out of it. Check Capterra to read up about our reviews.

Features vs needs

You can probably make a long list of features you want from an LMS. If you have a meeting with your colleagues and your boss, the list will get a lot longer. Maybe even too long. Do you really need all those features? We suggest you look at what you need. Features make the system expensive. Needs are essential. Focus on what you need to get the best learning experience and what features will truly reduce the time to manage your courses.

Do I (really) need (the restrictions of) SCORM

There's a lot to say about SCORM. But you should ask yourself: "Do we really need SCORM?" SCORM has many restrictions. Ask yourself, "What do we lose if we choose SCORM?" Moving forward with your learning online might be the best option. When was the last time you took advantage of SCORM? And when was it a hassle? Or did it result in a less beautiful experience? Do some soul-searching.

Branding

Is it possible to brand your online courses? That's good if you need it but beware. You don't want to design the online course yourself or have to build it from the ground up. You want a well-designed distraction free-learning platform to maximize results. Too much distraction will diminish the level of learning. Ideally, your LMS should look beautiful from the start while still giving you the option to brand it.

Reporting

Have a look at the reporting module of the LMS. What does it track? And how easily can you export the results to Excel? 

Content Creation & Management

Do I need a separate LCMS to create and manage my online course content? Or is the course builder included in the LMS software?

Pricing and pricing models

Look at the pricing and pricing model of the different vendors. Do you pay per participant? And how much? Or, is it a flat fee (which is usually cheaper than paying per student)? Does the LMS vendor charge you for the setup of the system (with software) or is it a pay by month model? The latter is usually cheaper. What is the price? Learning management systems can cost a lot of money, but it doesn't have to be that expensive.

Just have a look at our pricing. Our pricing ranges from $20 to $100 a month, while other systems start at $300 a month.

Useful resources

eLearning Industry
Educause

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