LMS technology has advanced significantly over the past few years, making the average LMS requirements checklist considerably larger than it once was. In the past, most organizations’ needs entailed having the ability to create courses from documents, enroll learners by email and administer basic quizzes. As more organizations from different industries saw value in investing in online learning and training, training goals diversified and the demand for a wider range of functionalities increased. The LMS market has responded by serving up a number of sophisticated and intuitive features to meet the needs of modern organizations.
With regard to course building, the standard features (the ability to upload documents, presentations, videos and audio) continue to be useful. However, nowadays, organizations are seeking SCORM-compliant LMSs to create interactive content that is authored and exported to SCORM. Additionally, features such as discussion boards, surveys, assessments and virtual online sessions have made online learning profoundly more engaging. Moreover, LMS administrators are looking to keep all work within a single platform, which means in-product content authoring has become critically important.
Usability is another area of focus for modern organizations. They want the learner experience to be completely seamless, from the moment they see the link to the materials to when they complete their online course. To achieve that end, the software must include multiple authentication options. Whether the organization wants to pre-authorize learners’ course access and enrollment, give access with shareable links, or use single sign-on (SSO), the LMS should allow them to accomplish their preferred authentication flow.
Other common features you should look for in an LMS are options for styling and learner experience customizations, tracking capabilities and integrations with other systems used by your company or organization. The LMS’s styling features should give you the power to brand and fully customize your learning experience. Its analytics should deliver data to help you glean meaningful insight into learner engagement and map those numbers to business outcomes. Finally, integrations with popular SaaS tools such as Salesforce, Citrix and MailChimp are essential for achieving streamlined operations.
As you create your LMS requirements list, you may want to standardize the comparison process by using an LMS Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP will document your criteria, and when LMS vendors submit their proposal, they will address if and how their solution meets each specific need. Still, be sure to keep in mind that while checking off items on a list can help vet LMSs, the determining factor should be whether the LMS can assist in solving the larger operational or training problems you’re facing rather than if it checks every box.