Your next LMS upgrade: Think long-term and short-term for best results

There’s no denying that a Learning Management System (LMS) is a big investment. It can be easy to think the short-term benefits of an LMS upgrade are the most important, because they’ll give you the quickest wins.

But when your next LMS is likely to last you for years into the future, it’s worth thinking seriously about how it will keep delivering Return on Investment (ROI) in the long-term too.

Check out our rundown of the key features you need to be on the lookout for when it comes to upgrading your LMS.

key signs it's time for an LMS upgrade

LMS upgrade: does it have the latest technical tools?

A top spec LMS will already be ahead of the game when it comes to the latest tech features. When you’re reviewing your LMS options, hunt for the following:

Reporting and analytics capabilities

Does your next LMS have a powerful reporting system which can create reports that help you understand learners’ performance and usage of your learning content? Can it integrate with analytics tools via xAPIs to provide even greater insights?

NetDimensions’ LMS can generate xAPI statements in response to specific local events, and write these to an integrated Learning Record Store (LRS).

Open integration functionality

A future-proof LMS will give you the flexibility to integrate tools and systems to create a powerful learning ecosystem. Connectors/adaptors and xAPI integration capability will give you agility as your organization’s needs develop.

Latest security improvements

Security requirements are always evolving. Your LMS should have a defined commitment to regularly upgrading security settings and features to keep data safe in the long-term. And if you’re in a highly regulated industry, compliance requirements should be at the top of your list.

key signs it's time for an LMS upgrade

LMS upgrade: does it provide a great user experience?

Don’t forget about the needs of your learners. If your LMS is clunky, ugly and hard to use now, it’s only going to become more out of date in the future.

To get benefits now, look for:

Mobile compatibility

This is a no-brainer. According to Towards Maturity research, today’s top learning providers ensure their content can be accessed on the go. It’s vital that your LMS has a responsive HTML5 interface that provides an optimal user experience across several kinds of devices.

Attractive and intuitive user interface

Learners these days are used to interacting with slick, modern apps and websites – a modern LMS should aspire to replicate this experience as far as possible.

Make sure you have a proper demo of the LMS and try to put yourself in your learner’s shoes. Ask yourself: “Is it intuitive to use? Does it look appealing? Can I find what I’m looking for easily?”

NetDimensions’ LMS, for example, has a universal search feature that allows learners to search across the entire platform for any type of learning content.

Learning Portal flexibility

Learning Portals are an easy win in making your LMS attractive to learners, and it’s also key to embedding the idea that learning is an important part of their role. A fully branded LMS and portal that is streamlined for specific groups will help learners recognize that Learning & Development is a key focus of your organization, rather than just a necessary requirement.

LMS upgrade: the long-term considerations

All of the above features will deliver quick ROI and delight your learners. But while your LMS may have all the ‘bells and whistles’ at the outset, it’s key to ask upfront what your prospective vendor’s commitments are to updates and product maintenance.

To get the best long-term benefits of all the features above, you should carefully review how often the product is updated and ask if there is a detailed product development plan – and if the LMS vendor has a formal process for receiving user feedback. For example, NetDimensions’ LMS is updated twice a year and it’s developed on a agile development road map that takes user feedback into consideration.

Ultimately your next LMS needs to be able to react to the changing requirements of your organization. As you grow and change, your LMS needs to be able to develop with you. So make sure it has the key features you need now, and a committed LMS upgrade plan that will help you react to future requirements.

Our new insight: seven signs it's time to upgrade your LMS

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