When you decide to build an e-Learning business, one of the first choices that you need to make is the choice of an LMS platform. It’s a critical choice that can make or break your business – choose the right LMS and everything on your site works smoothly, choose the wrong LMS and you face the chaos every single day.
You can’t afford to get it wrong, or else your entire business can come in jeopardy as students and teachers both suffer during the learning and teaching experience.
That’s why it makes sense to follow a proper procedure while making this choice. There’s a 9 step process, which if followed, can help you make the right choice in terms of your LMS. And in this article, that’s precisely what we’re going to cover. Let’s begin!
#1. Decide your goals and objectives
One of the first things that you need to do before you can choose your LMS and start working on your e-learning site is to clearly define your goals and objectives.
Note down what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it.
For example, you should note down what you want to teach, the kind of market that you’re trying to target, and the benefits your learners will get by learning from your site. This will help you get clarity on your requirements, thus setting the foundation for the right choice of an LMS.
#2. Create a checklist of your LMS requirements
Once you’ve outlined your goals and objectives, the next step is to note down the features that should be available on your site to achieve those goals and objectives.
Create a checklist of features that you need in order to get even more clarity about your requirements.
For example, if a majority of your learners are going to use mobile devices for learning then the LMS should have strong mobile-friendly features, if your site is going to have multiple instructors then that functionality should also be present, and so on.
#3. Assess the technical skill level of your teaching staff
While technology acts as an enabler in most cases, in some cases if implemented improperly it also becomes a major hindrance for growth.
In the case of e-Learning sites, if your site’s features are too complicated to navigate for the teaching staff then it’s going to create a lot of unnecessary issues even before your e-Learning business takes off.
Not only will you have to spend considerable time and resources on the training of your staff, but your students will also have to go through a learning experience that won’t be optimum for them.
That’s why you should also take the feedback of your teaching staff while choosing an LMS. Only they can tell how comfortable they’re with the options that you’re exploring, and what tools/material will be beneficial for them to learn what they don’t know about the LMS.
#4. Assess the technical skill level of your potential students
After teachers, it’s also important to assess the technical skill level of your students to ensure the success of your e-Learning business.
Because whatever features you include in your site/app, the execution of those features will depend on the functionality of your LMS.
A well-designed LMS can make the execution of every feature an easy affair, while a sophisticated LMS can make even the most common tasks slightly difficult to be executed. So while choosing your LMS also keep the technical skills of your students in mind.
#5. Decide what level of control you want
LMS platforms provide a very broad range of control over what can be done and what can not be done by their user. Some platforms provide the greatest level of control over every aspect of the platform (i.e. design, UI and UX, feature set, etc.), while some allow only course creation and teaching without providing any sort of control over the functionality, design, or UX of the platform.
Then there are some others that sit between these two categories, providing partial control over the functionality of the platform.
Based on your goals, objectives, the needs of your teaching staff, and the needs of your students, you should figure out how much control you would need, to provide the best experience for everyone.
#6. Evaluate the options
By now you’ll have a solid idea of what you want and what you don’t want from your LMS. You’ve done all the groundwork, and you’re ready to start evaluating your options.
Shortlist some popular LMS options (i.e. LearnDash, LearnPress, Moodle, Canvas, TalentLMS, Edmodo, etc.) based on your requirements, and compare the potential candidates using your checklist created in step #2.
Take a look at this list of the 6 best LMS platforms, to identify the platform that offers the features you need.
#7. Do a full background check of the software
Once you’ve shortlisted some potential LMS candidates, run a full background check.
Review the background of their vendors, their ratings, reviews, how often they are releasing software updates, how is their support, etc.
This step may sound boring, but NEVER take it for granted because if you choose an LMS from some vendor who has the reputation of not doing their business seriously, you may end up with something that is not only broken but also not usable because the people who developed it are not willing to cooperate with you.
Needless to say that it can leave a very bad impression on your students, who may look up to some other platforms for learning what they were learning from you. If you don’t want it to happen, check the background of your shortlisted LMS options before making a choice.
#8. Take a trial/demo
During this period you can use the platform and see how comfortable you, your teaching staff, and your students are with it.
However, if an option shortlisted by you is not offering any such trial period, ask them manually to provide a demo.
Most of the time any reliable vendor will be willing to provide you a demo/trial of their platform. It’s only through this trial that you can fully evaluate the software and determine the best choice for your needs.
#9. Make the final call
Finally, you can make a call. After diligently following each of the steps outlined above you’ll be very well-informed to make a decision regarding the LMS platform that should power your e-Learning business.
It’s also highly probable that by the end of step #8 you’ll know which option is the best one for your needs. Make your choice, and kickstart the development process of your e-learning site.
Choosing the Best LMS Platform
That is how you can choose the best LMS platform for your e-Learning business in 2021.
While the decision will still require you to invest a lot of time, the process outlined above will set you in the right direction and help you ensure that the choice you make isn’t wrong. And when it comes to business, the process is everything – at the end of the day, your business processes determine whether you succeed or fail!
If you still have any doubts in your mind on this subject, feel free to share them in the comments. We’ll try to sort them out for you. And if not, then start your search for the right LMS today to build your e-Learning business!