Purchasing a Learning Managament System in 2008

Avoid LMS Purchasing Pitfalls

 

Purchasing a Learning Management System (LMS) will impact every employee in your organization, not to mention your external customers, as online training touches everyone. To ensure your e-learning software will meet training needs and match business objectives, be careful to avoid these seven common mistakes.

1. Dodge senior management. Make sure top managers understand that training creates smarter, more informed employees and gives you a competitive advantage for sales and service. Without proper buy-in, your purchase order will linger without the necessary signatures.

2. Failure to identify your needs. Clarify your existing technical and training environments so your chosen product will do what you need, when you need it.

3. Compare apples and oranges. Some Human Resources Information Systems have learning modules but do not launch and track e-learning or manage courses, instructors, gradebooks, skills, certifications, and so on. Be certain that the LMS is a true knowledge management system.

4. Exclude IT from the process. Your IT team will ask the right questions to help make cost-effective decisions and to ensure the product is compatible with your technical milieu.

5. Focus on price, not value. An enterprise-wide LMS deserves a proper cost-benefit analysis to make sure the purchase meets the scale of learning initiatives in one fully inclusive product. Lower prices may mean additional purchases in the future.

6. Ignore interoperability. Your learning content is probably in a variety of formats, including Word, PowerPoint, HTML, spreadsheets and Flash, to name a few. Your LMS should allow you to include content in its original format, plus offer an integrated authoring tool, for quick and easy course building.

7. Choose customization over configurability. Custom code impedes flexibility, scalability and efficiency. Your LMS should be easily configurable to your strategic business processes and adaptable to your changing objectives. Hard-coded, ad hoc customizations require extensive programming every time business conditions change.

You should assume that your learning objectives will cycle and your learner population will expand over time. Donít make the mistake of selecting an LMS to automate dated business processes. Rather, choose an online training system that will significantly improve the way your company does business.

 

The purchasing process for your LMS should be given the requisite time, resources and budget since all LMS products are not created equal. Look for an LMS that can meet your immediate needs and help you migrate toward new and improved processes that grow with your business needs.



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