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Shopping for an LMS? Ask these key questions to help narrow down LMS providers and find one that’s worth your time and money.

10 key questions to ask when evaluating LMS providers

Shopping for a learning management system (LMS)? With so many LMS providers on the market, the process of selecting one can get overwhelming. Add to that, a countless array of features, variations in pricing, and different capabilities, and things can start to blend together quickly. And it can be difficult to tell what is and isn’t worth your time and money.

Asking the right questions can help you narrow down LMS vendors

To help you pick the right LMS vendor, there are a few key questions you can ask that will narrow down your choices. Without asking the right questions of SaaS LMS providers, you actually risk purchasing a learning management system that is ill-suited for your needs and a waste of resources.

When evaluating LMS content providers, make sure you ask these 10 key questions before making a purchase.

How do you ensure system security and availability?

Over time, organizations may store large amounts of proprietary knowledge and sensitive information about employees, clients, and other learners in an LMS. A security breach can tarnish a business's reputation, eroding trust among these stakeholders and others. All of which directly impact a business’s image, operations, and bottom line.

Similarly, availability can have a direct impact on a business’s ability to operate and its overall success. Availability is a measure of how reliably users can access and utilize a system without interruptions, failures, or downtime.

When it comes to LMS vendors, the best way to ensure a system is secure and reliable is by looking for one that has a Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2) certification. SOC 2 is the gold standard in proving the data security and system availability of an LMS. For the highest levels of security and reliability, look for one with a SOC 2 Type 2 certification.

How configurable is your platform?

Configuration pertains to how customizable and adaptable an LMS is to your organization's specific needs. Configurability in an LMS allows organizations to tailor the system to their unique structure, processes, and requirements for an efficient workflow and effective learning outcomes.

To start, an LMS should allow you to mold its structure to match your organization's hierarchy and terminology. That is, your various levels of authority and responsibility within your organization and the specific terms, phrases, and language that are unique to your field or industry.

Can you easily create courses, modules, and categories that align with the structure of your organization? How about user roles? Can you create and manage them with varying levels of access and permissions?

Next, every organization has its own branding guidelines and design aesthetics. Does the LMS vendor provide customization options for colors, logos, and overall themes to ensure a seamless integration with your organization's identity?

Lastly, communication is key in a learning environment. Can you configure automated notifications for various actions, such as course enrollments, upcoming deadlines, and forum posts?

These are all important areas to assess in an LMS content provider beforehand because a highly-customizable system will make all the difference in the world after you begin using it.

What is the administrative experience like?

Like most things in life, the simpler something is to use, the better. And that’s all the more true when it comes to learning management systems. As an instructor, you’ll spend the majority of your time working in an LMS. So you’ll want to make sure the system is as simple and easy to use as possible before moving forward with an LMS provider.

Since course creation is the bedrock of e-learning and training, you’ll want to evaluate how easy it is to create and deliver courses. Furthermore, think about adding multimedia elements to these courses. Is it simple and straightforward? Additionally, you may want to see how the system handles PDFs and other materials that you may need to quickly turn into courses.

Also, consider the system’s ease of delivering courses to the correct audience. Are there many steps that you have to complete to add certain learners to courses? Or can you batch enroll them and automatically add certain user groups to courses?

Finally, consider the interface. Is it user-friendly? Do you think you can navigate the system well after some training? If not, you may want to go with another provider. Clunky backend processes slow down administrative tasks and decrease efficiency while uncomplicated systems can lead to a considerable amount of savings in time and thus, money.

What features do you have that will engage my learners?

Ultimately, a learning management system is only as valuable as it is engaging. You may have the most beautiful courses and easy-to-use admin experience, but if your learners are not engaged, then your program will fall on deaf ears.

When evaluating LMS providers, ask what their top engaging features are and the average impact they have. It’s been proven that things like gamification, awards, badges, and leaderboards increase employee engagement, course completion rates, and long-term memory retention.

And content like quizzes, interactive videos, and image pairing are also great ways to get employees excited about learning and boost engagement. When it comes to training, the last thing you want is to make it a chore. By finding an LMS with robust engaging features, you’ll make it effortless for your learners – and you.

How much of my training program can I automate?

Manual one-off and recurring tasks can add up. Imagine having to add a new employee to onboarding every time they’re hired. Or remembering re-enrollments for hundreds or even thousands of learners per year when their certificates are about to expire. As an L&D instructor, these things can add up to significant hours and even leave you vulnerable to errors.

Check whether an LMS provider can automate things like course enrollments based on predefined criteria, permission and access levels, notifications and reminders, and certificate delivery. By leveraging automation for these tasks, you increase efficiency and accuracy and can save thousands of hours annually.

How can I cater to individual learner needs?

No two learners are alike, so training shouldn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Learners vary based on job title, region, prior knowledge, and even learning styles. Things like customizable learning paths allow you to take a targeted approach to learning, helping you cater to and address individual needs on a granular level.

For instance, with customizable learning paths, you can put more resources behind weak skill areas and place less emphasis on already strong ones. This targeted approach ensures competency where you need it and prevents redundancy that wastes valuable work time.

Customizable paths can also support various content formats. You can include a mix of elements such as self-paced learning, videos, instructor-led classroom sessions, check-ins with managers, and more that accommodate diverse learning preferences. And you can even use learning paths for professional development for better employee satisfaction and retention.

What additional services do you offer?

The value of an LMS provider often extends beyond its software. When evaluating solutions, you’ll also want to consider the other services an LMS provider offers. By leveraging the right services, you can actually save money and resources in the long run, even if the provider charges for these add-ons.

While services vary greatly by LMS provider, each should offer some form of technical support. A reputable LMS provider will offer some form of onboarding or training on how to use the platform to start and provide ongoing support for any challenges you may encounter afterwards.

Additionally, evaluate the LMS provider’s other service offerings. Do they offer professional design or course creation services? How about pre-built courses? Though a vendor will likely charge for these items, it can ultimately save you a lot of effort and money when you account for the cost of hiring a third-party vendor or designer.

It can also be a great option if you’re looking to ramp up your training program quickly. Not to mention that you’ll receive professional quality you can trust and the costs quickly become worth it.

Do you support mobile learning?

A recent study revealed that 57% of employees prefer accessing learning modules on the go. And nearly three-quarters of millennials say they prefer mobile learning over any other method of training. Not only that but, due to its flexibility, mobile learning doubles the likelihood that users will complete training.

When evaluating LMS providers, see if they offer a form of mobile learning. Mobile responsiveness is a good option. However, a native mobile application will give learners the best mobile experience. Even though it may be an additional cost, you’d be surprised to see how much mobile learning can do to increase completion rates and enhance your program.

What tools do you provide for monitoring progress and generating reports?

No LMS is complete without analytics and data tools. These tools are invaluable for creating a feedback loop within your organization and helping you optimize your learning strategies.

When evaluating LMS providers, look for robust data capabilities that are simple to use. At a minimum, an LMS should allow you to track learner progress, identify areas for program improvement, and show the strengths of your program for better resource management.

And, equally important, generating reports based on these findings should be effortless. Easy reporting will go a long way when you need to show auditors that your employees have completed their required training and explain to executives the performance of your program.

How will your system adapt to my changing needs in the future?

After you purchase an LMS, you’ll end up using it for at least a year. And that’s on the conservative side. It’s more likely that you’ll use it for the next two to three years. A lot can change in a business during this time. So it’s important to know if an LMS is equipped to evolve with you – and its industry.

Most businesses will expand over time. Accordingly, you’ll need to know what to expect in terms of pricing and process when adding new learners. Ask if the LMS vendor charges per learner or by a flat rate. Will adding new learners take time or cause disruptions?

You’ll also want to evaluate whether the LMS is prepared to adapt to changes within its own industry. Ask LMS providers if they do regular system upgrades to keep up with future and evolving industry trends.

Do they respond to client suggestions for new features? What about their current roadmap for system upgrades and adding features? Do these things align with the current market climate?

You’ll want an LMS vendor that’s prepared for today – and tomorrow. So it’s important to assess the totality of a learning management system before moving forward.

Tovuti is one of the best LMS providers for making learning streamlined and data-driven

Tovuti is a best-rated LMS provider that reduces the need for third-party platforms – and your tech stack – by consolidating features into one easy-to-use platform. By leveraging Tovuti LMS, you alleviate administrative burden and make learning fun and easy for users.

With Tovuti, administrators can easily create engaging courses, automate their training program, track their efforts to make effective business decisions, provide tailored learning experiences, and more.

And with the most robust gamified and interactive features on the market, including over 40 plug-and-play gamified features, leaderboards, and virtual classrooms, learners are sure to retain more information and have fun doing it!

Make training fun, easy, and data-driven


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