Are you an organization shopping for an eLearning platform? If that sounds like you, you most likely fit into one of three categories:
- You currently have an eLearning platform, but your current solution has not kept up with your evolving needs and the time has come to replace it with a newer model.
- You already provide in-person courses and are ready to bring those courses online. You’re not green to training, but you are new eLearning as well as finding a platform with the features you need.
- You’re a true eLearning start-up. In addition to needing a platform, the beautiful (yet challenging!) part of being a start-up is that you are not fully formed or 100% defined in your mission or your course offerings.
The good news with new platform shopping is that the sky is truly the limit: you are free to think outside of the box and be innovative when finding your new training solution!
However, the “bad” comes into play when you have to figure out how you’re going to get where you are going as a company shopping for a new eLearning platform.
And often… what you plan for is not necessarily where you end up…
“Life is what happens to you while you‘re busy making other plans.”
– John Lennon
In that case, we recommend being proactive about what you don’t know: be sure to plan for the flexibility you may need with a Learning Management System that can accommodate the changes you are likely to need over the long term.
Whether you are entering the eLearning industry as a start-up or as an established business that is implementing an LMS for the first time, here are few things to consider when shopping around for an eLearning platform that are sure to save you both time and money over the long term:
1 Look for an LMS that offers you software customization as an option. Think of this as being proactive instead of reactive to a need you could not anticipate. The vast majority of platforms will give you an out-of-the-box solution that will be updated periodically with new features. However, keep in mind that the software isn’t built just for you and you share it with thousands of other users. What happens if at some point during your LMS journey you require a functionality that your current platform doesn’t offer? …that could be a problem. But if you were proactive while shopping for a platform and your LMS vendor offers software feature customization as an option (and/or new feature development) this is a headache you will never have. Which bring us to our next point below:
2 If at all possible, look for your permanent LMS to call your forever home. Migrating from one LMS to another (i.e. moving your student data and course content) is an experience you do not want to have if you can avoid it. Moving the contents of your platform to another LMS is akin to moving from one house to another. And who likes to move? Data migration, in general, is not a pleasant experience, and if you go with a platform that has what you need the first time this is a headache you can likely avoid.
3 Consider platform pricing structures and how this will affect your company’s bottom line. Whether you’re selling courses online or using an LMS for internal employee training, your platform’s cost will still impact your organization.
- If you’re selling courses with profit in mind stay away from revenue-share platforms and instead consider looking into a flat-fee LMS. While it is more of an upfront investment, flat-fee pricing will save you money over the long term whereas revenue-share platforms will eat into your profits over time. The more money you make, the more money they’ll take.
- Using a platform for internal employee training? Be aware of platforms charging on a per-user-basis. In the beginning this may seem inconsequential, but as your business and the number of people you employ (and need to train!) grows this will have a direct impact on the cost of your eLearning platform.
4 Do research into your specific industry’s use of platforms. While it should not be the sole criteria used to determine which LMS is best suited for your company’s needs, it makes good sense to survey your industry’s training landscape and do research into what your competitors are using. Is one particular platform working for them? Why or why not?
5 Consider that the relationship you have with your platform’s vendor (and the people who work there) is almost as important as the quality of the LMS application itself. The company that licenses, maintains and owns your platform is truly your partner in success. While the quality of the software itself is foundational to the learning experience your students will have, the customer service and client support provided by your platform vendor is also critical for you as a business. Do more than just research platform features: make sure you also research the support provided by each vendor and what their overall industry reputation is for account management and customer satisfaction.
6 Customer reviews are your friends. Naturally, the marketing of any LMS will position itself with its best foot forward. Whereas independently verified customer reviews of platforms will give you a candid look into what actual users of the software have experienced both with the platform itself and the level of customer service provided by the LMS vendor. We recommend taking a look at Capterra LMS reviews.
Have more questions?
If you would like to know more about the eLearning solutions Academy Of Mine offers and how we can help you succeed, please send us a message via our Contact Page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.