The learning curve blog

Helpful advice for online course creators, businesses, and entrepreneurs

How to Pick the Right LMS

by | May 6, 2013 | Tips & Tricks

Every online educator wants to find the right learning management system (LMS) for their specific wants and needs, but the whole process can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help walk you through the process to pick the right LMS for you.

The lingo alone can cause a whirl of confusion if you don’t know what it means. Here are some of the terms you are most likely to hear when researching learning management systems:

  • E-Learning – Another term for online learning, but it does not refer to the actual operating software.
  • Learning Management System (LMS) – The software used to make it possible for you to put your courses online.
  • SCORM – Go here for more information on SCORM.
  • Application Program Interface (API) – Allows one program to talk to another one.
  • Users/Seats – A student on the system.
  • Active Users – The number of students actively taking the course during the month/semester. So, if you have 200 users signed up, but only 100 are taking the course – then you have 100 active users.

DigitalChalk: How To Pick The Right LMS

The first question to ask yourself is do you want to sell your courses online and collect a fee for your course (e-commerce) or are you going to provide courses to your staff for internal training purposes?

  • If you want an e-commerce option, make sure that you have a shopping cart that is PCI compliant and can support coupons/discounts – so you are in the market with the best possible prices for your courses.
  • If you want internal training, make sure the product has the appropriate tracking and reporting capabilities to make sure your students are taking the courses properly.
  • For both e-commerce and internal training courses, make sure that continuing education courses adhere to applicable state regulations.

When picking the right LMS you want to make sure that it is a full-featured LMS with testing capabilities, and the ability to offer certificates for completion. It also needs the ability to support different media types, such as:

  • Web archives
  • HD Video
  • PowerPoint
  • HTML 5

Some other features to look for when picking the right LMS are:

  • Mobile/tablet compatibility – Allows the student to learn from anywhere.
  • Web 2.0 interface – Current and up to date web standards.

And last, but not least, how well tested is this LMS? Has it been in the marketplace and does it support thousands of customers? It is important to be sure that the LMS you chose can support you and accommodate your upcoming growth.

Buying a learning management system (LMS) does require some research to find the best fit for you. But hopefully, we’ve made the process a little bit easier now that you know what to expect.

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