7 Critical Questions to Ask When Selecting an LMS

Purchasing a learning management system (LMS) is an investment in both your employees’ development and their ability to drive your company’s success. When selecting an LMS, it’s not enough to just know the ins-and-outs of the solution. You must evaluate the vendor, too.

Getting to Know the Vendor

Knowing all about your LMS vendor reduces the risk of purchasing a solution that doesn’t meet your organization’s needs. This practice also keeps you from investing in an LMS that can’t grow with your company.

As you narrow down your list to the top three or four potential LMSs, be sure to ask each vendor these seven questions to help make your final decision.

1. How long have you been in business?

The vendor’s longevity is a good indication of whether its business is established and financially sound. It also speaks to the quality of products and services it provides, and even how scalable the LMS can be.

2. Can you provide a list of customers in ___ industry?

You want to make sure the vendor has experience with customers in your industry. This will ensure the vendor understands your market’s needs, and will provide a solution and upgrades that will meet them.

The list of customers can also be used as references for more candid information on the vendor. When contacting a reference, be sure to ask about positive experiences and issues they ran into with the vendor. This information can be especially important for young companies that have been in business for less than five years.

Sometimes, legal or privacy reasons prevent a vendor from releasing customer information. Some alternative questions you can ask are:

  • What industry is the LMS intended for?
  • Can you provide some successful use cases?

3. How often do you update your product?

A vendor that frequently updates its solution is often open to input from customers, and is aggressive to adapt to market changes.

Asking about the LMS’s evolution gives a good idea of how often the vendor releases new products and features, and it shows how well the LMS will take your business into the future.

4. What is your pricing structure?

There are four main price structures LMS vendors tend to use: pay per learner, pay per user, pay per course and pay per licensing.

Understanding which pricing structure the LMS vendor uses is critical in planning your learning management budget. It may also be beneficial to ask about their refund policy.

For a better idea of what to plan for, here are some pricing topics to ask about:

  • Setup costs
  • Training costs
  • Support and services costs
  • Additional software (e.g., third-party tools for course creation or ecommerce)
  • Long-term fees
  • If discounts are available

5. What is your implementation process?

A detailed implementation plan is key to the success of your LMS. The vendor should have a clear implementation plan for you to review. This will give you a better idea of how long system setup will take and what’s required to move it along.

When discussing implementation, be sure to ask about the vendor’s ability to integrate with existing applications and how that may change the potential deployment timeline.

6. Do you provide training?

Many times, training will be included in the LMS’s setup costs. If this is the case, be sure to ask about details, such as:

  • What learning materials will be provided
  • How long you have access to the materials
  • How many users can be included in training sessions

If training isn’t provided, it’s important to ask how training will be conducted, how much it costs and what resources are available during this process.

7. What support services do you offer?

It’s important to know how the LMS vendor resolves issues with the solution before signing on the dotted line. Be sure to ask if there are any associated costs for customer or technology support services.

During this discussion, ask if the data collected and stored in the LMS can be extracted in a format compatible with other systems. Although you might feel confident about a specific LMS now, you may decide to change LMSs down the road. This information is beneficial for making that switch.

Takeaways

While reviewing your LMS options, it’s important to realize you’ll be trusting an LMS vendor to provide you with tools to effectively train your employees. Taking a deep look at the LMS vendor can help you invest in the LMS that best meets your organization’s needs.

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Still narrowing down your potential LMS list? Head over to our LMS Reviews page, where we provide detailed profiles of some of the most popular learning management software vendors.

7 Critical Questions To Ask A Potential LMS Vendor

Choosing a LMS vendor is all about finding the right fit. Download our free whitepaper to make sure you're asking the right questions.Download Now

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