Shopping for an LMS can lead to indecisiveness, wrong choices, and relying on incomplete information. To avoid any of this, you have LMS RFPs. A document designed to answer all your questions based on your immediate needs.
What is a Request for Proposal (RFP)?
When choosing an LMS or an online learning platform, part of the process is to have providers fill out a request for a proposal.
This Request For Proposal (RFP) outlines your requirements, expectations, and goals around what you need and want your online learning platform to do. Providers then use the RFP to determine and propose unique solutions and explain their associated timelines, implications, and prices.
As a result, it helps you decide which online learning platform will be the best fit for your organization.
Why Should I Submit an RFP?
RFPs are a chance for you and your potential learning platform providers to get a sense of each other. It helps vendors understand what you’re looking for, and you understand how well they can potentially meet your needs. You’ll send this to multiple potential providers, so a standardized approach will help you compare the information you receive from each one.
Benefits of an RFP
Creating and submitting an RFP helps you:
- Clearly define your needs, so you understand what you’re looking for
- Clarify those needs to the learning platform, so they know if their services are a good fit
- Compare multiple learning platforms simultaneously
- Find the right provider much faster than you would by blindly exploring options
Choosing, acquiring, and implementing an online learning platform is a significant undertaking. For the sake of organization, now is the time to get everyone involved who will need to be part of this process. That may be the L&D department for day-to-day needs, IT for integration and security requirements, HR if you’re using the platform for onboarding, Finance to approve the budget, etc. Use those resources to help you create an RFP so any proposal you get can address your actual needs.
The success of your learning process directly depends on how thorough you are during this process. You get out of your online learning platform what you put into finding the right fit.
What to Expect When it Comes to an RFP
Essentially, an RFP helps you establish what you need and want from a learning platform and translates that into a language both you and the provider understand. This helps them determine if they are equipped to help you and enables you to compare providers to find the best fit.
In the RFP, you’ll document your needs when it comes to:
- Learning function: It’s essential to understand and explain why you’re acquiring a learning platform. Is it for continual learning, performance management, compliance training, or the above?
- Users: How many people will need to use the platform? Who are they (employees, customers, contractors, etc.)? What will they do?
- Integrations: Will you need to connect your learning solution to tools you already use?
- Digital parameters: How will this software fit your company’s current stack? What problems do you need custom features to solve?
The potential provider then considers these requirements and will create a proposal if they think they can meet them. To make this the best use of everyone’s time, think about how you’ll use this platform, from general goals to specific instances.
Think about and share scenarios where you will utilize your platform to achieve your desired goals. This is one of the best ways to find the right fit for you. It’s also a great way to weed out vendors who cannot meet your needs or work within your timeframe.
What should an RFP look like?
RFPs aren’t always designed the same way. They vary drastically based on your needs versus the vendor. However, there is a widely accepted general structure.
- A written brief describing the goals, requirements, and expectations of the project
- A spreadsheet of some kind that lists technical requirements
To help you build a winning LMS RFP, we created a free template for you to use. This RFP includes essential features, integrations, and use cases that Continu provides.
1. Company Information
The company information tab includes all the information you need about the platform, its stakeholders, and contact details. This is particularly helpful when you have multiple RFPs from learning platforms and are looking to evaluate each simultaneously.
2. Technical Specifications
Here, you can deep dive into the learning platform technical abilities. This is where the vendor answers your questions around:
- and much more.
3. Learner Experience
Essentially, your next learning platform must be easy to use, and one that your learners enjoy. Here, the learner experience is broken in two sections, Features, and Feature Deep Dive. This section answers question regarding usability, features assisting learners for example assigning material, progress bars, and signing up.
Feel free to add ask about any and all features you would like your learners to have access to whether it is from an engagement perspective, or learning perspective.
4. Admin Experience
In this tab, you will specific learn what your potential learning platform is like from an admin's side. If you are the admin, you want know whether you can segment users by departments, or whether you can automatically assign training to users at a particular stage. For many admins, automation is a useful, and if that is what you are expecting from your next learning platform, you would want to add that.