HOW TO PICK THE BEST LMS SYSTEM: 7 EXPERT TIPS

LMS system employee training

The next frontier in enterprise software is LMS system technology for online employee training.

Sure, “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is spouted in my businesses hesitant for change. This is true with new technology in business. However, there are undeniable benefits to digitizing certain business operations. And this includes how we train employees.

Moving to online training systems can save your business time and money. It can make your organization more adaptable in times of crisis and lend flexibility to your employees. And, not to mention, moving training to online platforms creates exciting and innovative way to learn.

Nowadays, there is no shortage of LMS systems to choose from. Each one highlights different capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. The abundance of choice in the LMS market allows businesses to have their pick of the crop when selecting an online employee training platform. This can be a great thing!

But there is a downside to having so many options for LMS platforms. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. In fact, you may question which software package will meet your organization’s unique needs, goals, and technological infrastructure.

It might be tempting to rush the implementation of a new digital training program.  However, it’s critical to carefully plan your transition and select the LMS software best suited for your company.

At RTG Solutions, we recognize that every organization is unique in its operations, culture, aspirations, and needs. So, we’ve put together a list of crucial things to consider when selecting your learning management system and creating your employee training curriculum.

What is a learning management system (LMS)?

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a digital platform that facilitates the delivery, implementation, reporting, and administration of online education. Educational institutions, in particular colleges and universities, have been taking advantage of the many benefits offered by LMS technology for years now.

Through an LMS system, schools and universities provide fully online courses and hybrid online/in-person courses. But what does this have to do with companies outside of the education sector?

In recent years, companies have begun utilizing a learning management system to provide online training to their employees.

Why use an LMS for employee training?

employee training on laptop

Good training is vital to corporate success. Poor training can foster a negative workplace culture, increase employee errors, and boost turnover rates. Given the importance of high-quality training, some might be hesitant to change to technology to manage employee training.

But don’t panic! If properly planned and selected, a transition to an LMS-based training can greatly enhance the quality and efficiency of your training process.

Some benefits of embracing an LMS training program:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Lower marginal cost for training
  • Consistency across trainings
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Evidence-based educational techniques
  • Increased employee retention
  • Opportunity for high-volume training

However, to reap the benefits of online training, it is crucial to approach the LMS selection and implementation strategically.

7 Steps to pick the best LMS system for your organization

    1. Identify the deployment plan and LMS that matches business needs
    2. Identify compatibility and API development for system integration
    3. Identify API development needs and timeline
    4. Perform a training needs assessment
    5. Perform an LMS assessment
    6. Identify appropriate training method and delivery mechanism
    7. Identify resource needs and training development time

Identify the deployment plan and LMS that matches business needs

Understanding your organization’s needs is the first step to choosing the right LMS. There is no panacea or one-size-fits-all solution for training. Every organization, and every position within an organization, is unique. And each comes with a different set of training needs.

With all of the LMS options out there, it’s important to keep your business needs in mind when selecting one for your company. This weeds out all the platforms that are not a good match for your organization.

Not only do you have to select the right software, but you must also develop the right plan for deploying that software. A software implementation model outlines all of the steps and team members involved in launching a new program.

Crafting a strong deployment model ensures that your LMS system investment does not hamper business operations during the implementation phase. Therefore, it is crucial to allocate resources for deployment planning to preserve your ROI.

At RTG Solutions Group, we specialize in corporate training and employee development. Our consulting experts have boiled down LMS selection, curriculum development, and deployment planning to a science. We combine our expertise with your vision to choose the right system for your needs. And, together, we can create a world-class training program for your company.

Identify compatibility and API development for system integration

digital infrastructure for LMS

When adding new software to your business, consider the big picture. In particular, anticipate how this change will integrate with your existing business systems. This will help develop a strong Application Programming Interface (API) that connects all of your software components together.

In the simplest terms, an API is essentially a platform that allows digital systems to work together. In the context of LMS assessment and training development, an API connects your new LMS system with your current devices and programs.

Some LMS systems will be easier to implement into your digital infrastructure than others. In fact, some software might be so incompatible with your existing programs that adopting them might be too time consuming.

So, when selecting an LMS for training, be mindful of the ease of implementation and API development. This will likely require collaboration across departments, such as the curriculum development team and IT staff.

Identify API development needs and development timeline

As discussed in the previous section, API development is essential to implementing your LMS training software. Like any procedural change, API development should be conceived via a needs-based approach.

That is, your API should address specific needs relating to the adoption of your new LMS. The best way to ensure your API addresses your business needs is to actually map out your API development needs.

Here are some things to consider when developing an API for training software:

  • Do you need your training to be available remotely?
  • Do you want your training to be accessed only on company devices?
  • Do you want to imbed your training within another program? 
  • Is your new LMS replacing an existing system?

In addition to identifying your API development needs, you will want to create a timeline in which API development will take place. This timeline should be part of a broader timeline for the entire LMS integration and curriculum development project.

In order to be effective, your timeline should include when tasks are to be completed, when certain deliverables will be produced, when certain milestones will be reached, and who will be responsible for each step.

Timelines are great tools for accountability. They help keep a steady pace on your project, and they also help with leadership sign-off on investments.

Perform Training Needs Assessment

At RTG Solutions Group, we believe needs assessments are important before launching any new project. Effectively conducting a needs assessment is a valuable tool for improving efficiency.

Any time your company is implementing a change, particularly something as significant as an LMS, a needs assessment is the best place to start. This approach outlines project priorities and identifies needed resources.

A training needs assessment will help identify such issues as:

  • Lack of knowledge retention
  • Unsafe work environments
  • High employee turnover
  • Reduced productivity
  • Lack of standardization in work and procedures
  • Poor accessibility to training
  • Lack of engagement and interest

Needs assessments are complex and have many components. A comprehensive assessment should include project outcomes, a current-state process evaluation, an ROI model, a scope of work outline, key performance indicators (KPIs), workflow prioritization list, subject matter expert resource identification, a project schedule, and budget allocation.

Because it is such a meticulous process, business managers might be tempted to skip the needs assessment and jump right into the meat of a project. However, hastiness can sacrifice the quality of project outcomes.

Taking the time to conduct a thorough needs assessment will ensure that you can get your employee training program from point A to point B with optimal efficiency and no surprises.

Perform an LMS analysis

An LMS analysis is just as important as a needs assessment when launching a new LMS program. The goal of an LMS analysis is to evaluate software capabilities and limitations.

This will help determine the best fit for your business needs and training goals. You can think of your LMS analysis as a more sophisticated “pros and cons” list for a potential LMS system.

These are some considerations you might include in an LMS analysis:

  • Does this LMS require a real-time instructor, or is it fully automated?
  • Will this LMS be easy to integrate within our existing systems?
  • Is this LMS user-friendly?
  • What digital devices is this platform compatible with?
  • Does this software provide space for various forms of training, such as on-boarding orientation, product training, safety training, and technical skills?
  • Does this system provide tools with which to measure training effectiveness?

Once you’ve conducted an LMS analysis and a needs assessment for your training program, you will be able to evaluate the compatibility of a particular LMS system with your unique training needs.

Identify appropriate training method and delivery mechanism

employee online training

It’s important to apply a training method and delivery mechanism that fits your organization. Consider best way employees can learn and access the training. The more engaging and innovative the training method, the greater the opportunity to invigorate team members and increase retention.

A training curriculum should be built around the delivery mechanism. And a delivery mechanism should be selected based on your business needs.

Fortunately, thanks to the boom in corporate technology, there is a wide range of training mechanisms available today. Businesses can choose from a variety of digital training methods such as mobile training, AR/VR training, game-based training, traditional eLearning modules, and more!

At RTG Solutions Group, we are not affiliated with any LMS companies, so you can trust us to recommend the best method and mechanism to deliver your training. Our instructional design experts can transform your training program with our innovative, results-driven strategies!

Identify resource needs and training development time

Before starting the project of selecting a new LMS system and developing a curriculum, it’s important to outline necessary resources and set a project schedule.

These steps have many benefits. It identifies upfront the financial and staff needs. Identifying resources reduces surprises and provides needed information for leadership sign-off on the project. The timeline provides a roadmap and schedule to complete the work. This provides team member accountability and reduces delay in implementation.

Ideally, a resource list and project timeline will be completed as part of a thorough needs assessment. Your resource list should include not only material and financial resources, but also team members and subject matter experts.

The training development timeline should be concrete yet achievable. It should include specifics about deliverables and who will be responsible for doing what.

Conclusion

Selecting a new LMS system and developing a curriculum is a complicated task with many moving parts. This is why a strategic approach is important. The 7 tips above will help guide your team on your LMS implementation and best-in-class employee training program.

Tackling such a project is not something an organization does often. Including training and LMS implementation experts on your team can help ensure success.

If we can assist you on our upcoming project, please contact us today.

“A vision cannot be realized without the ability to execute.”

Khris K. Bhattan
PresidentPresident, RTG Solutions Group
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