What to look for in a learning management system
With 44% of companies dissatisfied with their current learning management system, it is logical to ask the question: "Why don't they change providers to find a product that best suits their needs?"
The truth is that only 1 in 5 companies has been using the same Learning Management System for more than five years. Organizations are constantly looking for innovative new tools to improve user experience, data analytics reporting, and scalability, but with hundreds of learning management systems currently on the market, choosing the best one that meets the needs of the organization can be difficult.
A learning management system (LMS) is a cloud-based software package or service that enables organizations to manage and deliver learning content, materials, and resources to students. These systems can be powerful tools for the business as they enable automation of repetitive (and sometimes tedious) human administrative tasks while facilitating the transfer of important information from source to end user. At the end of the day, an LMS will help improve the effectiveness and performance of the organization by tracking, maintaining, and ultimately developing the skills of people in your organization. Considering that 72% of global organizations see Learning Management Systems as a competitive advantage and organizations in the United States have attributed a 42% increase in revenue to eLearning, there is a strong case for incorporating an LMS within your organization. Selecting the correct LMS can be the difference between a complete success or a complete failure.
Here are the top 3 things to look for when selecting an LMS for your organization:
1. Research the background and experience of the LMS provider
Many vendors sell the "best", "most flexible" and "easiest to use" learning management systems on the planet. The Learning Management System market is expected to more than double, from an estimated $ 9.2 billion in 2018 to $ 22.4 billion by 2023  Therefore, understanding that there is a great opportunity for suppliers to warn buyers to be careful and to do extensive research before going with the first company that makes a bold promise.
There are tons of LMS on the market and the fact that the software is feature rich or used by other organizations in your industry does not necessarily make it the best for your business. What are the needs of your students? What are the objectives of the organization?
Create a spreadsheet of the main features you absolutely need to have and ancillary features that would be a treat. When searching for LMS, immediately cross out vendors that do not provide the necessary components for your equipment. Limiting your selection as soon as possible will help you compare providers that provide needs versus shiny bells and whistles. When meeting with your vendor, be sure to ask questions that will allow you to see all the capabilities of the software and what after-sales support will look like. Some of these questions include:
- How does this software meet the needs of the core components that we describe in our organization (and demonstrate)?
- What kinds of features do you provide that make your software unique from other vendors (mobile responsiveness, artificial intelligence, ease of integration, security and reliability, and communication capabilities)?
- What kind of automation does this software support and how does it make administration easier for our HR team?
- What kind of support services can we expect throughout the term of our contract?
- What happens to our data if we determine that this software no longer meets our needs and we decide to terminate our service contract?
2. Make sure the capabilities of the software align with current (and future) trends
While the corporate eLearning market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.4% between 2016 and 2020, it is expected that the features offered today will improve tomorrow as learning trends evolve across the industry. .
While there are many learning trends to consider when selecting an LMS to ensure robust functionality, it is important to choose an LMS that offers the features most closely aligned with the educational needs of your organization. With this in mind, some trends have developed rapidly and are becoming fundamental components of any learning experience.
My main trends in 2020 are:
- Mobile learning
- Self-directed learning
- Video-based learning
- AR / VR or "Immersive learning"
In a study reported by Lynda.com , smartphone users were found to complete their assigned course 45% faster than people who train on computers. Mobile learning supports the self-directed learning model and gives users the flexibility to access training more conveniently. Given that 58% of course participants report completing their assigned trip while traveling on business or commuting, it is essential to create mobile responsiveness that is accessible on the go by 2020.
The future of learning and development is less about the organization imposing training requirements and more about employees taking the initiative to evolve and adapt quickly to times of rapid change of their own free will. Self-directed learning is the process in which people take the initiative to diagnose their own learning needs and create learning objectives while identifying the resources necessary to achieve the desired results. Our organization has integrated on-demand courses for team members and the engagement has been favorable. LMSs that allow users to take the lead in creating their learning plan and incorporate features just like blogs and community forums where users can request and generate content are ahead of the curve.
According to a Forrester research report, 75% of people are more likely  watch a video than read a report. Furthermore, 59% of senior executives in large organizations agree that, given the choice between text and video on the same topic, the preference is to watch the video. Videos are profitable, easy enough to create, and easy to distribute. Conferences can be produced simply using screen recording tools  and hosting in your LMS. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), established in the early 2000s, have changed the game about how learning could and should be viewed at the enterprise level – the future of learning is video-based!
Employee engagement is critical to the success of any organization, and adding a little gamification to your company's learning strategy can be a quick win to score a few points with your team. 89% of employees say that gamification makes them feel more productive and happier at work. Additionally, 83% of employees who received gamified training  They feel motivated, while almost 61% of employees who complete non-gamified learning report feeling disinterested and unproductive.
Some of the most common gamification features that can be integrated into an LMS include:
- Points (which can be exchanged for physical or virtual rewards)
- Skill levels
Keep these potential elements in mind when selecting your LMS and ask your provider what gamification features they offer to encourage user engagement.
AR / VR (immersive learning)
With 76% of organizations declaring  Since Artificial Intelligence is essential for your strategy to be successful, it is logical to incorporate this technology in learning initiatives. Immersive learning capitalizes on the use of simulated (or artificial) environments to replicate a real learning environment, allowing students to immerse themselves in the learning experience.
By 2021, the market size for Augmented Reality is expected to reach $ 215 billion as momentum and desire for innovation in the workplace increases. Integrating Augmented Reality with learning improves content delivery and the gamification experience by simulating the environment while enabling personalized learning analytics for each user. AR will change the way each organization does business moving forward, and ensuring that your LMS has the ability to integrate immersive learning functionality is critical.
3. Make sure your LMS is agile and flexible to support integration with other systems
The future of LMS functionality will be the ability to interact.  and integrate with other software. An LMS that works in isolation will have a limit on what it can do and will not be used to its full potential.
Simple but necessary functions such as reporting, automatic enrollment, and course progress tracking can be accomplished using an Application Programming Interface (API), which is a connection between two different systems that allow data sharing. This is an example of how LMS can be integrated with other forms of software to provide an improved user experience.
Some of the most common integrations include:
- Email Marketing Tools (to simplify mass communication to your LMS users)
- Web user analysis tools (to track visitor traffic)
- Webhooks (allows real-time notifications)
- Social media platforms (i.e. users who have the ability to display course completion on LinkedIn)
- Payment gateway (for department charges)
While each integration will not be necessary for all companies, it is important to have a clear understanding of your organization's needs now and move into the future to find an LMS that supports the business goals of the company.
Use this guide as a conversation starter when you sit down with your provider to discuss what's possible for your next LMS. Making sure your learning team is well equipped with the right tools is the first step to a world-class learning experience for your employees.
References LMS market  Benefits of mobile learning  20 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY IN YOUR NEXT VIDEO  The best screen recording software for videos (2020)  The 2019 gamification at work survey  AI adoption drives revenue growth for businesses; Leadership in the Implications of the Vital Workforce – Infosys Study  4 reasons why the future demands the integration of LMS