Four Wishes for LMS BuyersEvery week, like clockwork, I get a call from someone who wants me to recommend an LMS for their association or small business.  The conversation goes something like this…Typical Phone Call Example

If an eLearning Genie would come out of a bottle and grant me four wishes for my LMS buyers, here is what I’d request.

Wish #1: LMS Buyers understand what they are buying

I wish the genie would prompt all LMS Buyers to Google and read the definition of Learning Management System before calling me.  If they would do this, the first item that comes up is this link to a Wikipedia article.

Further down in the article LMS Buyers will see a list of standard LMS functionality compared to LCMS functionality. Notice that course development is generally not one of the functions of an LMS. Sometimes LMSs offer some basic course development tools, but it’s not a core LMS function.

Or the best source to define training and eLearning related terms is ATD’s Learning Circuit’s glossary. Check out the definition of LMS at this link.

Wish #2: LMS Buyers consider the stages of developing and deploying eLearning

Then the eLearning Genie would help LMS buyers to take the next logical step in the buying process before they call me. Now that the buyer knows that an LMS is not a course development tool, s/he will realize that buying an LMS before building courses means paying for something that isn’t going to be used for a while.  This is a waste of precious resources. It’s hard enough to fund eLearning effort, but to use those funds on something that sits dormant is not the smartest use of scarce funding.

Wish #3: LMS Buyers develop courses that comply with the eLearning industry standards

So, if the first step is to develop courses, the eLearning Genie would reveal to LMS Buyers that they need to obtain a course authoring tool or LCMS, or hire an eLearning firm to develop courses. If they buy a course authoring tool, they will also need training on how to design eLearning courses and use the tool. But then the LMS buyer would look at the Genie and ask, “How do you determine which course development tool to buy?” The LMS Genie would explain that using a course development tool that publishes SCORM-conformant courses, will ultimately allow nearly any LMS to run and track your courses. Here’s a few course development tools to consider: (free)

Wish #4: LMS Buyers don’t assume that all LMSs are the same

The genie would show the LMS Buyer a vision of the eLearning world, and that there are a wide variety of vendors in the marketplace. Choosing the right one requires a savvy buyer and a rigorous process. Although there are a core set of features that every LMS has, the extra features and functions that LMS vendors offers varies significantly.  To choose the best LMS, LMS Buyers need to define their eLearning business processes and find an LMS that can most easily support these processes. Every LMS was built for a specific client to meet their requirements, then it was expanded to meet the needs of additional clients. The LMS that will most cost-efficiently support the buyer’s business process is the one that has clients with similar business processes.

Thanks to the eLearning Genie for enlightening the LMS buyers who read this blog.

Best wishes in your eLearning endeavors.

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