The thought of switching to a new LMS may sound daunting, but it doesn't need to be. Plus, the advantages of upgrading to a more suitable system cannot be underestimated.
As I settled in to write about this topic I came across a recent blog post by Craig Weiss covering this subject in quite a lot of detail. His first post covers these questions: How do I exit, when do I notify, what is the method to find a new LMS and what happens if I notify to leave and my current LMS comes back with new offerings?
Then there is also a part two of the post that covers: methods of finding a new BFF LMS, what if they offer me lots of new features or promises to stay on, Go Live with your new LMS and how do I get my money back with my current LMS if I signed a multi-year deal and paid up front?
I recommend reading both posts as they give you a lot to think about. It's worth it, especially when the whole point of moving to a new LMS is to find a more suitable system for your needs, which will therefore make your life easier.
The New LMS
Some of the criteria for the new LMS will depend on the reasons for your move. Maybe you were sick of bad customer service or a frustrating user interface (UI), perhaps you had outgrown your current LMS or maybe it outgrew you and became too hard to navigate through all the bells and whistles? Make sure to write all these things down so that you don't forget and end up in the same situation again. For example - 'I want a clean UI, easy navigation, just core functionality and great customer service'.
Next up spend some time writing down all the features that are deal breakers, the functionality that you can't live without. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you need a system that supports asynchronous learning, synchronous learning or both?
- Have you got your own content authoring tools or do you need integrated tools? If so, what kind?
- Do you need some kind of collaborative, social tools or does that not matter?
- Is Reporting a big part of what you do? (If not, consider whether you even need an LMS at all)
- Do you have an IT team to support the system or would you prefer a hosted, supported LMS?
- What is your budget? (Look out for set up & upgrade fees, some vendors have them and others don't).
Now write out all your requirements and fire off some emails to those hungry LMS vendors. A blog post like this one will start you off with a decent list of vendors to contact: Rapid LMS: eLearning Technology. Let them do some work for your business! Once you have narrowed it down a little ask for some demos and begin testing the systems out, most should offer a free trial - be suspicious if they don't!
If you're still not sure how to go about choosing an LMS, do some more reading in to what others have found useful. There are loads of blogs out there to help you out - here's one particular post that's helpful, especially for the user comments at the end: What Makes an LMS Easy to Use