7 Universally Crucial Features for Your New LMS
Every LMS offers something unique, which means that some are better suited for specific associations than others. Therefore, when searching for the best LMS for your association, you need to do a bit of soul-searching to determine your primary needs and wants from the system. Only then can you find the option that best meets your priorities. This doesn’t mean, however, that there are no universally crucial features to look for! Today, we’re going to highlight the seven most important factors for any LMS.
It may seem overly simplistic to say that an LMS should be easy to use, but it’s a serious consideration that requires more than just a written claim to back it up. Nearly every LMS alleges that it is intuitive, but this isn’t always necessarily the case; because of this, associations must investigate the matter thoroughly before committing.
Look for a live demonstration or a trial version to actually test the interface and see for yourself how easy it is to use. Ideally, you’ll want a system that is accessible for first-time learners and administrators, but also one with enough depth to support growth and advanced operations.
For learners, the easier an LMS is to operate, the more people will use it, and the more comfortable they will be with their training. On the back end, the intuitive operation allows for more than one administrator to manage the system. If the main administrator is off sick or away from the office, the association can still offer support and fix any issues that may pop up. Ease-of-use is vital for everyone when choosing an LMS!
The Right Features for You
The right LMS should meet your specific demands and needs; it should feel tailored to your association. These needs, of course, will be different for every association. For example, associations with more web-savvy staff and members may need things like robust social media integration and social learning features. In contrast, sales teams may look for features like leaderboards. Consider how mobile-ready the LMS is, what educational technologies it supports, and whether it can host a member forum. Each association should write out and rank the features that matter most, then find the LMS that satisfies the highest number of requirements for the best price.
Varied Learning Paths
To give your members the best when it comes to educational opportunities, you need a system that can support a variety of learning options and formats. While you may only offer one type of learning format now, you may want to incorporate other formats in the future. Because all learners have their own learning styles and interests, variety can spice up an otherwise rote, vanilla education system.
Many associations may lean towards systems that allow learners to progress through a set path of recommended courses. While this is useful, it is important to ensure that these paths are customizable. If each learning path is mandatory and unchangeable, an individual learner’s experiences and prior training might be overlooked. Instead, find an LMS that allows for a web of optional paths–like a “choose your own adventure”! The bottom line here is that learners want options, and your LMS should be able to give them precisely that!
Solid Integration Capability
The ability to integrate technology is essential for associations if they want to provide their users with a seamless online experience. Your LMS should be able to integrate with your website, your eCommerce setup, job boards, and social media–the list is endless! Proper integration not only allows users to move freely around your association’s system and its web of connected sites, but it also allows administrators to collect and analyze information about the various sections of the system. The analytics an integrated LMS can provide will be helpful in gauging the effectiveness of your sites, promotions, and member engagement.
Accessibility and Customizability
While related to integration, accessibility and customizability deserve their own entry. Accessibility can refer to many things, but one of the most important for an LMS is mobile accessibility. The critical feature to look for here is mobile responsiveness, which refers to the ability of the LMS to adapt to different mobile devices and screen sizes. As mobile devices become more and more popular for easy, casual use, training is often completed on phones and tablets. Make sure your LMS can keep up!
In terms of customizability, the best LMS leaves room for growth and change in the future. A system could include all of the features in the world today–without customization capabilities, it will become outdated tomorrow! An LMS vendor that makes room for customization also demonstrates the desire to grow with both evolving technology and the associations that use it.
Data tracking is an absolutely essential feature of an LMS, especially for associations that want to gauge learner progress. Not only can data tracking give members insight into their development, digitally “bookmark” progress for later return, and display learning achievements–it can also help administrators to identify any problem areas in the training that need addressing. LMS reporting can also draw attention to fluctuations in test scores and completion rates, measure compliance rates, and highlight changing exam results. LMS data tracking allows associations to turn their learning data into resources for advertising, personalization, and improvement.
Support and Training
It doesn’t matter how intuitive or straightforward an LMS is– questions and issues will almost always arise somewhere down the line. These are problems that will inevitably require some kind of support and/or training to solve. Be sure to check what the LMS vendor’s support lines are like, what type of training programs and resources are available, and if the LMS provider plays a role in the onboarding process. A solid support system can take the stress out of the integration process–there’s always someone ready to back you up!
While choosing an LMS can be a deeply personal endeavour to an association, there will always be features that can benefit everyone and anyone. So, when you look for yours, make sure to choose an LMS that not only hits your industry-specific targets, but the universal LMS needs as well. Happy hunting!