We are an industrial business with about 400 staff. We know we need to move into e-learning for compliance training reasons, but this is all new to us. What are our options?
Many e-learning & Learning Management System (LMS) providers say you should purchase a LMS before developing e-learning courseware. But this is expensive and, when you are new to learning management systems, it can challenging to get to the detail of your requirements and the options available. You want to avoid choosing the wrong system for your needs.
Often the need to get content out to staff is more urgent than implementing a LMS. After all, implementing a LMS is a large undertaking and will take time. In these situations, you are looking to:
- Get some kind of system in place to track your first e-learning
- Monitor the effect of the system on existing business and training processes, so that you can be better informed when you go out to market to purchase a LMS.
What are your options?
There are probably 3 broad options you can take in this situation:
- Use an e-learning authoring tool that provides very basic completion tracking. Some tools provide an automatic email function, enabling learners to send an email when they have passed an assessment. Some authoring tools have a simple tracking system that provides a single report of completions. To work out which tools do what is not easy – tracking is often an authoring tool function that is not listed as a major feature. This option still requires significant manual administration.
Kineo provides a useful list of rapid authoring tools from which you can delve further to get specific on your requirements.
- Rent a LMS. Some LMS providers will sell you user licences for a fixed period of time so that you can run a 3 or 6 month ‘proof-of-concept’ with the e-learning course that is your priority. Some “rental” situations give you access to the administration of the LMS while others simply do the admin for you, providing you with a link to distribute the course, and a report of user completions and non-completions at the end of the trial. During your proof-of-concept, be sure to monitor your LMS administration experiences, as well as the experiences of your end users. Run an evaluation to help uncover your LMS requirements prior purchase.
- Purchase a LMS. In this situation, your agreement with the LMS provider is more permanent than renting for a short period. You need to implement and embed the LMS to ensure you get value for your purchase. Choose to internally host the LMS, or have the provider host it for you. Either way, you need to be very specific about your LMS requirements from both an operational and strategic perspective. This takes time and insight. A LMS consultant who does not have any affiliation with a specific LMS can be helpful in getting your priorities clear.
For more information, why not take a look at our LMS series on YouTube.