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How to Choose a Learning Management System. Presenter: Mehdi Roudaki Agenda. What is a Learning Management System Benefits of LMS Types of LMS Features of LMS Major Criteria for Selecting a LMS Steps in LMS Selection Key Questions to Answer Evaluation of Some LMSs

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How to Choose a Learning Management System

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how to choose a learning management system

How to Choose a Learning Management System


Mehdi Roudaki

  • What is a Learning Management System
  • Benefits of LMS
  • Types of LMS
  • Features of LMS
  • Major Criteria for Selecting a LMS
  • Steps in LMS Selection
  • Key Questions to Answer
  • Evaluation of Some LMSs
  • Request for proposal

E-Learning Components:

  • Content
  • Services
  • Infrastructure/Tools
infrastructure tools
  • Infrastructure and learning management tools include the learning environment and administrative tools used by the training manager.
  • The learning environment and training management tools are commonly referred t as the “Learning Management System,” or LMS.
what is a learning management system
What is a Learning Management System?

Software that:

  • Registers learners
  • Online catalogue and schedule
  • Delivers online courses
  • Tracks courses
  • Online assessment
  • Tracks scores
  • Records data from learners
  • Management reports
  • Bookmarks activities
why do we need to manage the learning culture
Why do we need to manage the Learning culture?
  • To meet the Objectives
  • To ensure that the Right People get the Right Development
  • To provide improved Management Information
benefits of lms
Benefits of LMS
  • Availability - 24/7
  • Accessibility - home and office
  • Just in Time Training (JITT)
  • Guaranteed Quality of Training
  • Enhanced Student Motivation
benefits of lms cont
Benefits of LMS - Cont.
  • Testing and Assessment - linked to business objectives
  • Constant monitoring
  • Management Information readily available
  • Cost effective Training - can measure the ROI
  • Opportunity to resell Training
types of lms
Types of LMS
  • Classroom Based Training
  • Distance Learning
  • On-line Training
who provides lms
Who provides LMS?
  • Course developers:
    • Sometimes designed to support the vendor’s own content
    • Can provide better integration between content and LMS
  • LMS vendors:
    • Almost all designed with open standards
  • Custom Solutions:
    • Have one built for you by a systems integration form
  • Build Your Own
some major vendors
Some Major Vendors
  • DigitalThink
  • SABA
  • Docent
  • Pathlore
  • Isopia
  • Thinq
  • Learnframe
  • Lotus Learning Space
  • TrainerSoft
lms facts
LMS Facts
  • As LMS functionality has grown, so has the marketplace
  • 140+ LMS Solutions on the Market
  • 16,500 LMS Implementations (Worldwide) – 118 customers per vendor
  • Extremely Fragmented Industry
lms facts cont
LMS Facts (Cont.)
  • No System has more than a 4% Market Share
  • Some of them occupy defined niches in the market
  • While others try to be all things to all people.


  • Selecting a learning management infrastructure is one of the most strategic e-Learning decisions that companies will make.
  • By first determining what needs to be managed, it’s much easier to find a system that responds to those needs.

Features of LMS

Provides individuals and groups with:

  • registration
  • personal development
  • planning
  • assignment of courses
  • launch of courses
  • tracking of performance
  • testing and assessment
  • monitoring
  • routing of students to the right materials
  • course completion
  • management reports - tailor to what you want
  • certification
  • dialogue with tutors
  • feedback
a typical learning management system lms feature set
A Typical Learning Management System (LMS) Feature Set

Faculty Tool Set

Course Website Development and Management

  • Online grade book
  • Grade reporting tool (i.e. to allow students to view grades)
  • Quiz/Survey development tool
  • Course website backup, download, & upload facilities
  • Student account administration tools
  • Student group administration tools
  • Grader account administration tools
  • Student access tracking (i.e. how many news articles have they posted/read, which pages have they accessed)
faculty tool set course website development and management cont

A Typical Learning Management System (LMS) Feature Set

Faculty Tool Set Course Website Development and Management (Cont.)
  • Webpage access tracking (i.e. how many students have accessed a page, when did each student access the page)
  • Web-based file management
  • Page counters
  • Course website glossary building tool
  • Course website indexing system
  • Course announcements and calendar administration tool
students tool set

A Typical Learning Management System (LMS) Feature Set

Students Tool Set
  • Student self-evaluations
  • Student accounts for webpage publishing
  • Group work areas for collaborative webpage publishing
  • Course content annotation facility and bookmarks
  • Web-based email and discussion groups
  • Real-time chat rooms
  • Real-time white boards
  • Individual grade and progress status reports
  • Grade distribution status report (i.e. how many students got 90 and above, etc.)
administrator tool set

A Typical Learning Management System (LMS) Feature Set

Administrator Tool Set
  • Course website creation, duplication, and deletion
  • Course website backups
  • Course website downloading and uploading
  • Course website statistics
    • number of students enrolled in a course
    • file space used by a course website
    • number of hits on a course website
    • first and last access date
  • Course website student account administration
    • Batch student account initialization and deletion
    • Batch course restoring
major criteria for selecting a lms
Major Criteria for Selecting a LMS
  • Known Requirements
  • Unknown Future Requirements
  • Implement ability
  • Supportability
  • Cost
implement ability components
Implement ability Components

Implement ability is made up of the following components: 

  • Vendor background
  • Software maturity
  • Technology maturity
  • Modifications
  • Third party implementer considerations
  • Implementation assistance from LMS vendor
  • Quality
  • Documentation
  • Training
the best lms system
The best LMS system?
  • # of learners?
  • How geographically disperse?
  • Using 3rd party e-learning libraries?
  • Tests/Exams?
  • Multi-Lingual Interface?
  • Competency Management?
  • Compliancy Issues?
  • Hosted or Locally Installed?
  • Cost?
steps in lms selection
Steps in LMS Selection
  • Determining Goals and requirements (*)
  • Researching LMS Vendors
    • Generate List of Critical Needs (10-20 only) (*)
    • Generate Full List of Needs and Prioritize (*)
  • Narrowing Down Potential Vendors
  • Create and Send RFP’s to qualified candidates
  • Preparing your Company for Change
steps in lms selection cont
Steps in LMS Selection (Cont.)
  • Grade Responses
  • Conducting Final Vendor Presentations and Selecting a Vendor
  • Negotiating the LMS Contract and Getting Ready for Implementation
define your objectives
Define Your Objectives
  • Business Objectives
    • Increase course completions by X%
    • Increase sales by X%
    • Increase employee retention by X%
    • Decrease training costs by X%
  • Training Objectives
    • Provide recommended learning plans
    • Improve access to training resources
common requirements
Common Requirements
  • Various content sources
    • AICC/SCORM compliant content
    • Synchronous content (with scheduling)
    • Off-line materials
  • Scalability
    • Growth of the user population over time
common requirements cont
Common Requirements (cont.)
  • Availability/Reliability
    • How often does the system go down
  • Custom Reporting
    • You may have reporting needs that are not addressed by an off-the-shelf package
  • Skills & Competencies
implementation options site installed
Implementation Options:Site Installed
  • Traditional software model
  • You supply the hardware, networking, IT support, database, user support
  • Advantages
    • Some IT departments prefer “behind-the-firewall” solutions
    • You might get a more customized solution
implementation options site installed cont
Implementation Options:Site Installed (Cont.)
  • Disadvantages
    • More coordination among departments
    • Maintenance and support staffing is ongoing
    • Deployment times can be longer that with outsourced solutions (months longer!)
implementation options outsourced
Implementation Options:Outsourced
  • The developer of the application uses a partner to host the system for you
  • Advantages
    • No need to procure any hardware or software
    • Expenditures can be extended over time (you may need to “buy” the software up front)
implementation options outsourced cont
Implementation Options:Outsourced (Cont.)
  • Disadvantages
    • Reliability and performance will be the same as though you had installed the software on your own systems
    • You may need to coordinate the hand-off from the LMS developer
implementation options asp
Implementation Options : ASP
  • The application and hosting are provided by a single vendor
  • The application is designed to support many customers
implementation options asp cont
Implementation Options : ASP (Cont.)
  • Advantages
    • Single-vendor solution means no confusion about where to turn for service
    • You can get up and running faster than with other solutions
    • Application is built for availability and reliability
    • May also be provided with other services (e.g. courseware development)
  • Disadvantages
    • You may need to live with fewer features
costs for the total project
Costs for the total project

Cost Breakdown for 10,000 user project with a total cost of $3.8M

1% Development tools

1% Content and data conversion

3% Misc software, consulting, travel, training, etc.

4% Network bandwidth

8% Deployment, test, and integration staff

16% Servers and networking hardware

16% Learning Management System

52% Content Development



Produce a Business Plan

  • Reduce high-level business and training goals to a feature list
  • Business Plan should include
    • Feature List (RFP for vendors)
    • Project Objectives
    • ROI (Return on Investment)
    • Timelines for Implementation and Milestones
    • Itemization of Costs (one-time and ongoing)
    • Required Resources (e.g staff, systems)
project management
Project Management
  • Installing an LMS is an IT project
  • Recommend someone with project mgmt skills
vendor considerations
Vendor Considerations
  • Remember that LMS is only part of the solution so look for a complete solution
    • Off-the-shelf courseware integration
    • Content development
    • Course delivery system
    • Project management
  • Completion Rates are critical
vendor considerations develop your project in phases
Vendor Considerations: Develop your project in phases
  • LMS do lots of things
    • Classroom instruction
    • Skills Management
    • Integrate courseware from various vendors
    • Integrate delivery technologies
    • Management Reporting
  • Neither you or your vendor can do all this at once so implement in phases
vendor considerations develop your project in phases1
Vendor Considerations: Develop your project in phases

Implementation Example







Integrate Legacy


Async training for

A specific project with

User tracking





Product Phases


Key Questions to Answer(1):

  • What is the need for the LMS?
  • How will you measure success?
  • What is your potential ROI?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What initial pilot groups can provide an early win?

Key Questions to Answer(2):

  • Who are your project stakeholders and what are their expectations? Who will be the key sponsor of this project??
  • What are your functional and non-functional requirements for the LMS?

Key Questions to Answer(3):

  • What are the key user roles and their functional requirements?
  • What are your technical requirements?
  • Who manage the LMS within your organization?
  • What are the phases for LMS implementation?
  • Who will be on your LMS Selection Project Team?

I. Background

II. Scope of Work

Target Audience



III. Working Relationship

IV. Vendor Response

V. Evaluation Criteria

Performance Capability


Completeness and Quality of Bid Response

learning management systems
Learning Management Systems
  • Active LearnerResource Development
  • Certification ImpactChannelwave
  • Conductor - Training Administration SoftwareSage,
  • CorporateHorizon/ HorizonCentralBoniva
learning management systems1
Learning Management Systems
  • DigitalThinkDigitalThink
  • Docent
  • Edge InteractiveEdge
  • Education DirectorResults
  • Elementk.ComElement
learning management systems2
Learning Management Systems
  • Enterprise Learning Management
  • ETrax Learning Management SystemIntegrated Performance
  • FlexTrainingOnLine
  • Geo Learning Management
  • gForce CentralgForce
learning management systems3
Learning Management Systems
  • Headlight
  • How To Master Learning Management SystemInfoSource
  • ILMSISOPIA Interactive
learning management systems4
Learning Management Systems
  • IntraLearnIntraLearn Software
  • KnowBaseKnowBase
learning management systems5
Learning Management Systems
  • FlexTraining SoftwareOnLine
  • Intellinex Learning Development SystemIntellinex
  • Learning
  • Learning
learning management systems6
Learning Management Systems
  • Librix Performance Management SystemLIBRIX
  • Manager’s
  • OnTrack For
  • Pathlore Learning Management
learning management systems7
Learning Management Systems
  • PC ComplianceRMS Systems,
  • Pinnacle Learning
  • Plateau Enterprise Learning Management SystemPlateau Systems,
  • PROFISInterlynx
  • Quest System Custom SolutionsKnowledge
learning management systems8
Learning Management Systems
  • Saba Learning
  • SIGALTechnomedia
  • Strategic InteractiveStrategic
  • TBK TrackerPlatte Canyon Multimedia Software
learning management systems9
Learning Management Systems
  • Teamscape Learning
  • The Learning ManagerWorldwide Interactive,
  • TopClassWBT
learning management systems10
Learning Management Systems
  • Total Knowledge Management
  • TrainingOfficeNovasys
  • Training PartnerGeometrix Data Systems
  • THINQ TrainingServer LMSTHINQ Learning
learning management systems11
Learning Management Systems
  • Training WizardGyrus
  • Virtual Training
  • WBT ManagerIntegrity
learning management systems12
Learning Management Systems
  • WebMentor Enterprise ServerAvilar
  • WebTrainWebTrain Services Pty
free learning management systems
Free Learning Management Systems
  • .LRN
  • Fle3
  • Edventure
  • Direct-ed
  • Kwel
evaluation of some lmss
Evaluation of Some LMSs
  • BlackBoard
    • System
    • License (Commercial)
    • Technology
    • Content Management
    • Search
    • Personalization
    • Event Notification
    • Future Development
evaluation of some lmss1
Evaluation of Some LMSs
  • Learning Engine
    • System
    • License (Commercial, Free for Non-Profit Organizations)
    • Technology
    • Content Management
    • Search
    • Personalization
    • Event Notification
    • Future Development

Evaluation of Some LMSs

  • WebCT
    • System
    • License (Commercial)
    • Technology
    • Content Management
    • Search
    • Personalization
    • Event Notification
    • Future Development

Evaluation of Some LMSs

  • Fle3
    • System
    • License (Free and Open Source)
    • Technology
    • Content Management
    • Search
    • Personalization
    • Event Notification
    • Future Development
evaluation of some lmss2
Evaluation of Some LMSs
  • Moodle
    • System
    • License (Free and Open Source)
    • Technology
    • Content Management
    • Search
    • Personalization
    • Event Notification
    • Future Development
  • ASP deployment is rapidly becoming the desired form of deployment
  • Let your business and training objectives drive your decision
  • LMS is not the total solution
  • Tracking of user progress should be one of your goals
how to choose a learning management system1

How to Choose a Learning Management System


Mehdi Roudaki



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