When choosing a Learning Management System there are many things to consider. The answer to these will differ depending on if you are an independent trainer or part of a training agency.
The document above is also included in the appendix of your course handout. Download this if you’d prefer a separate version.
Is the system free or is there a fee? How often is the fee due? What is the fee for, do you get any services for the fee? Do you have to sign a contract? When will it deliver a return-of-investment (ROI)? What is included in the contract? Consider things like technical assistance and ongoing maintenance support. Some learning management systems have online user support groups on Facebook.
Does the system automatically issue certificates of completion or would you need to manually process a certificate of completion?
Are you able to accept payment via the LMS. Are there rules that govern how your organization accepts payment?
What type of security system is in place if personal and financial information is stored? Who has access to this information? Is there a security certificate to protect user information?
Are you able to maintain and showcase a catalog of courses you offer?
Are there options to create reports and gather information regarding training sessions?
What type of content are you able to include in your coursework? E.G. videos, pictures, slideshow, discussion boards, comment sections, etc.
Are participants able to register on their own for the courses? Is the registration customizable to meet your reporting needs? If not, are there opportunities to collect the information you need?
Are you able to host webinars via the LMS?
Will the training content be responsive to the size of the screen you are viewing the content on? For example, can a learner complete a course on their smartphone, tablet, and/or and computer?
If the LMS is hosted, who owns learner data and coursework? Hosting refers to using a business to store the LMS you are using on a server that is owned and controlled by that business. The business agrees to host the LMS/content. Some businesses charge to be the host and not all have the same agreements/guidelines. Always check before agreeing to use a host.
What is in place to ensure all persons can access the course material? Are there opportunities for multiple means of representation? This can also be referred to as Universal Design for Learning. Making sure an online course is accessible is to provide a variety of methods to teaching, and to offer flexibility in the content delivery. Using closed captioning is a way of using UDL to make the course accessible to individuals with hearing difficulties.
Caution: There is no perfect Learning Management System. Do research and testing to find which application provides optimal design and accessibility features.