Using a Learning Management System (LMS) shouldn’t require a degree in rocket science or the patience of a saint. In this blog, I’ll share eight tips to find an intuitive LMS with a lower learning curve.
Your Learning Management System may have all the upgrades and modern advancements. But is your team actually able to use the LMS platform to develop and deploy meaningful online training content? An intuitive user interface ensures that your team is able to use the tool to their advantage, instead of missing out on the key features. Here are 8 tips to select a user-friendly LMS for your online training.
1. Get Input From Your eLearning Team To Focus Your Efforts
Your L&D team probably has a general idea of what they’re looking for in a Learning Management System. They can also clarify what constitutes "user friendly" from their perspective. For example, more experienced eLearning professionals may be able to use more advanced tools with robust features, while those with less experience require a basic LMS platform that favors usability over creative freedom. Meeting with your team can help focus your efforts and omit LMS candidates from your list, or even add new ones based on their recommendations.
2. Research Support Services
It might be smooth sailing in the beginning. However, it’s always wise to have a back-up plan. Namely, support services that can help you overcome glitches and make the most of your user-friendly LMS. Even the most intuitive LMS platforms can be challenging from time to time. Ask the LMS vendor about the support options they provide and whether they’re included in the package. Some may provide 24/7 phone and email support, while others stick with online FAQs and forums. One last thing to look for is the online user community. An active user forum is a valuable source of insider tips and tricks. These people are already using the LMS platform and know how to maximize the features. They usually have some quick fixes for common glitches, as well.
3. Ask Other eLearning Pros for Recommendations
Other eLearning professionals are a valuable source of knowledge and insight. Ask for their recommendations and opinions regarding your top choices. They may already be familiar with the tool and can share their experiences. Attend networking events, join social media groups, and look for online reviews. You can also venture onto forums to ask for advice. Try to be as specific as possible when contacting past users. For example, ask them why they think the tool was difficult to navigate. Or what they thought about the dashboard and customized options.
4. Sign Up for A Free Trial or Demo
The opinions of other eLearning professionals can help you point in the right direction. But you should still test out the tool for yourself. In fact, invite your entire team to try the LMS before making your final decision. Many LMS vendors offer free trials and demos that allow you to explore the system and its unique features. This is your chance to see just how intuitive the LMS is and whether it aligns with your skill sets. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the LMS vendor to alleviate your concerns.
5. Create Testing Criteria
It’s a good idea to have a list of questions or key criteria when testing the LMS. That way, you can concentrate on the most important aspects of the platform in the limited time you have. For example, you may focus on how easy it is to create an online training module, an assessment or generate performance reports. Encourage every member of your team to create their own list of must-haves. After all, they’ll be using the tool to develop and deploy online training materials. As such, the system needs to meet their specifications.
6. Check for Navigability
This is a two-parter. Firstly, you need to check for navigability on the development end. Is your team able to use the dashboard and design interface with ease? Or does it involve a steep learning curve? Then, there’s the corporate learners to consider. They must be able to navigate the Learning Management System and get the information they require. Not have to endure a complicated system that causes undue stress.
7. Explore the Dashboard and User Interface
Different Learning Management Systems have different dashboards and interfaces. Some allow for full customization, while others opt for pre-built user panels. Take the time to explore every facet of the system and evaluate the features one-by-one. Don’t forget to try out the learning analytics and reporting to ensure that it’s also user-friendly. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to generate LMS reports and track learner progress after the online training course launch. This leads to an entirely new set of problems, such as not being able to gauge corporate learner's interest or the effectiveness of your online training course design.
8. Conduct User Testing Followed by Focus Groups
Invite a select group of users to test out the LMS platform, then follow it up with surveys and focus groups. Ideally, this group should include a mix of developers and online learners, so that you can gauge both perspectives. In fact, you may want to ask past course participants who are already familiar with your course layout and previous LMS platform. These individuals can tell you if there’s room for improvement and if your new system remedies some of the issues. If you’re working with remote teams, host a webinar or video conference after the initial testing to gather their feedback.
The term "user friendly" is relative. One eLearning team may find a tool too difficult to navigate, while another prefers its unique interface and advanced functions. Thus, it’s essential to get input from your collaborators and try before you buy. Keep this article on-hand to ensure that your top contenders check all the boxes.
If you've already narrowed down your choices to the two most prevalent LMS - Moodle or Totara, watch this on demand webinar: To Totara or to Moodle? That is the Question to figure out which better matches your company's requirements.