Learning & Development

5 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Shopping for an LMS

The right learning platform can make or break your learning and development strategy. Finding, securing, and implementing an online learning platform is a big undertaking. Without the right preparation and understanding, the process can be tedious and confusing. And while there isn’t a single right way to do it, there are definitely ways not to do it. Read on for the most common mistakes to avoid when shopping for an online learning platform. 

Choosing an LMS

Questions you need to ask before choosing an LMS for your company.

1. Coming to the Table Unprepared

When you’re looking for an online learning platform, it’s easy to get excited and suddenly find yourself in a rabbit hole of really clickable ads. Initial research may help you get an idea of what’s out there, but it’s important to plan out exactly what you need and expect from a learning platform before you get serious about acquiring one. One of the most common mistakes among learning platform buyers is blindly forging through the process without a real idea of what they want or need out of their solution. When it comes to selecting a learning system, research and preparation will pay off in spades down the line.

Here are some things to consider before you start the buying process for an online learning platform:

  • Approach: How do you want to approach learning? What do you need your solution to do? Do you need it for compliance training, bite-sized continual learning, onboarding, performance management, external users, or all of the above? If you’re not sure, performing a needs analysis could help clarify things.
  • Analytics: What kind of reporting and analytics will you be expecting? What are you trying to measure?
  • Users: How many people will you need to train? Make sure your LMS has experience working and succeeding in your market
  • Budget: What’s your budget for this project? To avoid coming to the table with an unreasonable or inaccurate budget, find out how much your organization is looking to invest in learning.
  • Integrations: do you want to connect your learning platform to tools like messaging, calendar, video chat, or performance management software? Consider the integrations you’re interested in ahead of time. That way you’ll be best informed to ask prospects questions. 

Getting clear on what you want and need from your learning platform ahead of time will simplify the buying process. It will help things begin to take shape on your end and make it easier to find the online learning platform that best suits your needs. You’ll also need all of this information when you submit a request for proposal (RFP) later on. 

2. Creating a Paradox of Choice

There are thousands of online learning platforms in the marketplace. While there may be a lot of solutions with similar features, a targeted approach will help you narrow down the options without getting overwhelmed. Since a lot of platforms have decent and even extensive functionality, try to find something that supports the specific learning goals of your organization.

Searching for a learning solution is one thing. Finding and implementing a platform that amplifying your team’s learning, autonomy, and morale is quite another. Keep your journey as simple as possible by narrowing your options down to 5 and booking demos for your top 

3. Glossing Over Support

A learning platform can help you implement and amplify a culture of learning in your organization. Finding the right one means you’re not just looking for another tool. In fact, most organizations are looking for partnerships. These partnerships form between members of your organization and your platform’s Success or Support teams. These relationships can be crucial to the success of your learning platform’s implementation.

Depending on your level of familiarity with the support process, you may not know how much support you’ll really need. This is where you can rely on the expertise of your potential partners. Different learning solutions provide different levels of support, so it’s important to find one that shares your vision and meets your needs.

4. Going Alone

Since finding and acquiring a learning platform can be a complex process, a common mistake L&D professionals make is trying to go it alone. Loop in a member of each department that will need to be involved in the process early on. For instance, you may need to talk to HR about using the platform for onboarding or accounting for a realistic budget.

To determine what kind of integrations you’ll need, you may want to get someone from IT involved. Since you’ll eventually need all of these people on board at some point, take the opportunity to make the project a team effort from the outset.

5. Underestimating the Scope of Work

A lot of people assume that once they’ve selected and purchased their learning platform, the work is over. But that’s when the fun really starts. Implementing your new learning solution as the backbone of your enterprise learning strategy lays a foundation your organization can build, lean on, and scale. 

Make sure to take the implementation process into account when you’re integrating a new platform, as it can take months to bring to fruition. Divided among a team and with all parts working together, rolling out your learning software can be a fulfilling first step towards amplifying your organization’s learning. 

Shopping for a learning platform can be fun, but it’s not necessarily easy. It takes time to really understand what you need and how that matches up to what providers can offer. From powerful authoring to advanced reporting and versatile functionality, there are a million ways to customize your solution so it adds value to the people you’re trying to support. See this process as the opportunity it is to revolutionize the way your organization learns and views learning as a whole. The right learning platform is out there, it’s just a matter of laying the groundwork to find it.

If you can be intentional and avoid making these common mistakes, you’re that much closer to finding what will work best for you.

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