The Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing a Learning Management System
Setting up an e-learning platform is a major investment for any Registered Training Organisation (RTO).
Whether you’re starting online training for the first time or migrating to a new Learning Management System (LMS), the process should be done with consideration to learners, trainers and administrative staff.
Therefore, choosing an LMS that meets your business goals and enhances the learning experience for everyone is incredibly important.
While this process may seem daunting, doing so has the potential to improve assessment outcomes for learners, simplify the workflow for trainers and increase overall audience engagement.
To give you a better understanding of how an LMS can benefit your organisation, here are some useful tips to make the decision easier for you.
Make Sure the LMS Can Integrate With Your Student Management System (SMS)
One of the biggest fears of transitioning to a new e-learning platform is migrating student data onto the new system.
For most organisations, manually inputting student data from scratch is a costly and time-consuming procedure. It also increases the risk of inconsistent data between the two systems, along with the demand to manually update the database with new enrolments, graduates and payments.
Therefore, it’s important to choose an LMS vendor capable of automating the integration process for you.
Be careful though, as some LMSs are only compatible with certain SMS solutions on the market. So before you adopt any new e-learning platform, find out whether the system has been thoroughly tested and is capable of integrating with your SMS comfortably.
Establish Goals and Objectives in Your Learning and Development Strategy
What is currently working in your learning and development strategy? How can an LMS help learners earn the skills and knowledge they need to become accredited in their chosen field?
By understanding the learning outcomes you want learners to achieve, along with the benefits you want to provide for trainers, you have a much better chance of choosing an LMS that satisfies your Learning and Development strategy.
Consider the Technical Requirements and Limitations of the LMS
When incorporating an e-learning management system into your RTO, you should consider the implications of introducing new technology to trainers, learners and administrative staff.
To fully take advantage of an LMS, users must be able to navigate their way through the platform with ease. From uploading course materials to scheduling, monitoring learner progress and sending emails – if users struggle to manage these tasks, they may become frustrated and disenfranchised with the entire concept.
Take the time to educate users and provide the necessary resources to help them become accustomed to the platform. A good LMS vendor will have a customer support team, who’ll be there to assist you with troubleshooting and answering your questions.
Don’t Choose an LMS with the Most Features
One trap that some organisations fall into is wanting to ‘keep up with the times.’
While having the latest learning technologies is important, this can lead to the false-belief that having every online tool is a worthwhile investment. By prioritising features over functionality, you risk confusing trainers and learners with a platform that’s too complicated to use.
Ask yourself which features are most important to your organisation. Will you be utilising video chat to host live ‘Q and A’ sessions? Does having a ‘gamified’ award tier system reflect the learning needs of your audience?
Make these decisions before you start looking for an LMS, so you don’t risk going over-budget or duped into signing-up for unnecessary features.
Don’t Rush the Launch of Your LMS
Are you running on a tight schedule and hoping to launch your online course early? You may want to reconsider.
By launching a course that lacks content and substance, which is managed by trainers who weren’t given enough time to become familiar with the system – you risk alienating your audience and leaving trainers feeling frustrated.
Incorporate a gradual approach to introducing your platform to learners and trainers. Give them the opportunity to test the platform and provide feedback. Is the system easy to navigate? How does it improve their ability to teach, communicate with learners and monitor their progress?
Also consider the user-experience for learners. Will they be accessing the e-learning platform from a mobile device? What features will help learners stay involved throughout the course and guide them towards completion?
Take the time to answer these questions before launching your LMS – not afterwards.
Don’t Adopt a ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Approach
If your organisation is going to operate multiple e-learning courses on an LMS, you need to have a tailored e-learning strategy for each one.
Uploading course content online requires collating material from a variety of sources including textbooks, written notes and the web itself. You may also need to collect files from online services like Google Docs, Dropbox or other educational tools.
With help from your LMS vendor, you’ll be able to establish a plan that suits the requirements of your online course. You’ll also receive ongoing support in the form of phone calls, Skype or face-to-face meetings to ensure your course runs smoothly.
Choosing an LMS solution for your organisation is a big decision. However, by identifying the needs of your audience, the improvements you can make to your Learning and Development strategy, and making the transition to a new system easier for users – you improve the chances of running a successful e-learning course.
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