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Mistakes When Choosing An LMS: Avoid These 5 Major Ones



Advice For Picking The Best eLearning System

Choosing a Learning Management System, or LMS, is one of the biggest barriers to many organizations and individuals who are seeking to deliver online courses and training materials. There are more than 800 Learning Management Systems available for use out there, and each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right platform for your course content, learning needs, and specific industry can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack, so to speak.

In the rapidly changing sales industry, training courses are essential to help employees continue to grow. Because we are a sales training organization, we knew it was important for us to avoid making mistakes when choosing the right LMS to operate our training courses. In this article, we will explore the major mistakes we have learned to avoid when choosing an LMS for sales and other training course purposes. Hopefully, by avoiding these mistakes, you’ll be able to head into the LMS decision-making process both confidently and efficiently.

5 Major Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing An LMS

Mistake 1: Failing To Define Clear Training Objectives

One of the most common mistakes we see companies make is choosing an LMS because it looks flashy, is the right price, or is easy to manage: all of these are great in principle, but in practice if your LMS doesn’t offer the training and course delivery capabilities your audience needs, you will never grow as a training organization. Defining your objectives on paper prior to ever getting and paying for an LMS will help you know what features to prioritize when purchasing a system.

Your training objectives will be different based on your industry, audience, and breadth of knowledge. As a sales training organization, our priorities when choosing an LMS had to do with things like:

  1. Offering comprehensive sales training globally, with multiple training courses to hit every level of the sales funnel.
  2. Allowing participants to complete training at any self-paced time and wherever they are.
  3. Offering group exercises and participation options for learners, so they have the opportunity to get the comprehensive classroom experience virtually.

After noting these clear training objectives, we were able to go into the process of choosing an LMS whose capabilities aligned. We needed to prioritize a content repository, to disseminate course materials, offer a chat space for classroom participants, offer asynchronous options, and have multi-course functionality. After writing down your objectives, you will feel much better prepared to enter the LMS shopping experience.

Mistake 2: Forgetting To Focus On User Experience

Every business owner and web designer knows that people will click away from your website if it isn’t user-friendly. The same principle applies to your LMS. One of the biggest complaints online learners have about Learning Management Systems is design, whether that be the layout of your system, design of your courses, or even just the overall look of the site. Online learning needs to be engaging, reaching each individual user at the level they need, and this should factor in to your LMS decision.

If your users are not enjoying their learning experience, not only will they be less likely to sign up for more of your courses in the future, but they will actually retain less information [1]. As a training professional, your top priority should be to teach your students as effectively as possible, and help them genuinely learn and grow as students or professionals.

So, as you design and choose your organization’s LMS, focus on the User Experience (UX). Try to view the site as if you’re seeing it for the first time as a new user, and determine the design elements that could enhance or detract from your experience. You can even contract a User Experience professional to consult on the project, and ensure all the design elements line up with your target audience.

Mistake 3: Treating Your LMS As A File Repository

If you’re working toward the launch of a training program, you’re likely storing up training materials and planning your programs. If you’ve planned parts of your training courses ahead of choosing an LMS, there can be a temptation to choose a system that operates as more of a file repository than anything else. However, this is a huge mistake for first-time course launchers. People who buy your training course don’t want a file repository, they want a learning experience where they can engage with the learning materials offered to them.

While it is important to offer exclusive materials to those who sign up for your courses, what is more important is giving users a genuine learning experience. Interaction and engagement are two valuable features that are made possible by Learning Management Systems. If you view an LMS as a place to dump files and not maintain them or create engagement with users, you miss the full-use opportunity of your LMS. Progress tracking, regular updates, and engagement tools are all things that should be prioritized over strict file storage capabilities.

Mistake 4: Neglecting Mobile Users

Over half of all website traffic in 2023 came from mobile devices. Though the majority of online learners primarily use laptop and desktop computers to access learning platforms, many of them also use their mobile devices, in tandem with computer learning [2]. A lot of course creators are tempted to design their systems specifically around desktop usage, which can alienate a lot of their potential learning audience.

In the sales industry, our trainees are busy, on-the-go professionals who don’t always have time to sit down at their computers to engage in their learning platforms. Sometimes, they just want to be able to grab their work phones and jump on for a quick lesson. Focus on your user-base: how important is mobile access to them? If it is important, think about how your LMS can prioritize these learners. Offering videos that are optimized for smaller screens, or audio recordings/podcasts of lessons, along with simpler progress tracking, can really supplement your desktop-first training program. Think about these features you could potentially want as you receive quotes from different LMS platforms.

Mistake 5: Not Thinking About Potential Integrations

As you seek to choose the perfect Learning Management System for your training course or program, you need to think about the technical side of things, along with the User Experience and engagement design. Technical aspects of a system can make or break your course, and integration factors in here.

Some systems have the capability of integrating seamlessly with other systems, such as video conferencing and messaging tools, HR systems, or other content uploading and management materials. Some systems do not integrate well with other platforms, and require you to purchase additional capabilities beyond your initial course offering agreement. Thinking about the potential integrations your specific training program will need should factor in to your decision-making process, and can make the entire content management process so much simpler in the long run.

Conclusion

Sales is an area that is rapidly changing and developing, meaning there is a strong demand for training programs and materials that meet professionals at the level they are looking for. No matter your industry, people want their Learning Management Systems to be current, engaging, easy to use, and offering them a genuine chance to grow. Meet them where they are by choosing an LMS with every capability you need. Define your learning objectives early, focus on User Experience and engagement, and add the technical integrations you need to ensure managing your LMS is seamless. The more effort you put into planning ahead and avoiding these mistakes now, the better chance you have of building a successful training program in the future.

References:

[1] Learning Retention – How To Make Information Stick

[2] The Evolving Landscape of Students’ Mobile Learning Practices in Higher Education



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