Q: How to get an LMS?

A: Very, very carefully.

Picking a Learning Management System (LMS) is about more than just evaluating features and functionality, it is also about selecting a company to partner to learn from, to grow with who can help you achieve your learning and development goals.

Picking an LMS can be a hugely time consuming and painful process for the person who owns the process and the company they are vetting the new purchase for. There is no one standardized way to approach a huge purchase but the one common denominator is an LMS investment is not a small item – and so it’s very important to get it right.

Much like purchasing a home for the first time, the prospect is daunting simply because it’s not something you do often. Or ever. Even if you’ve been the point person or ultimate decision maker before on the purchase of an LMS, the industry moves fast enough you need to be thorough. With hundreds of LMS companies out there, the idea is to quickly narrow down your options to a small group as quickly as possible. We recommend focusing on these three high level areas:

Feature Set

What an LMS can do, what features and functionality make up it’s feature set is a crucial component when picking an LMS.  Feature sets among LMS companies (with 600 plus companies in the world) are vastly different so you must have an idea of what you want from a technology standpoint as you begin otherwise you’ll be lost.  Start big picture, what are the core pieces you need?  List them out in your own words.  Then move to the must have functionality outside the core, again be thorough.  Then list nice-to-have features.  This list does not necessarily need to become an exhaustive RFP document (but often times it does) but it gives you a shopping list to easily compare and contrast companies.