Make your Learning Management System a valued destination to improve workforce performance and knowledge by including these in your shopping list of must-have features.

1. Custom Design User experience is an often overlooked area of LMS. This is wrong, the new workplace is busy, disrupted and time poor, if you don’t include design from the outset then people will not visit missing out on valuable support and knowledge. Ensure you review the design, its flexibility and capability for custom design which can be adjusted easily? It should adopt HTML5 which can be edited, themed and manipulated. It must work on mobile, tablet and unfortunately not so modern corporate IT. And increasingly for the right environment learning can be achieved from outside the office.

2. Experts need a stage Does the LMS empower champions and embrace collaboration? Most companies are now looking to share expert knowledge more widely and frequently from their experts and industry gurus. Brandon-Hall recognises that the most valuable and appreciated form of learning is face to face and second to this is the growing possibilities of video and social learning. Typically you should be reviewing the variety of delivery formats, sharing, collaboration and its support for events.

3. Embrace users needs and experience. Becoming a master takes time, experience and practice. Your next LMS should provide personal learning journeys which should be effective, blended and create opportunities for new connections & support groups. Embrace the fluid nature of work and learning is critical in the future. The latest standards (ExperienceAPI also known as TinCanAPI) help to remove barriers and capture a complete picture of the overall training, application and reflection process.

4. Attract users. Don’t assume anyone wants to be here. Work for the users time in every aspect. Make the navigation effortless, intuitive and judiciously turn off unnecessary bloat. If you believe your system is usable but you’ve never done any observational user testing then you are probably missing a trick and frustrating your users. Look for campaign capabilities so that you can deliver targetted and relevant content to the right users at the right time.

5. Content Creation. Time is too short for expensive, rigid learning. Small content which can be easily digested is often more effective and frequently accessed. The LMS should work nicely with tools which capture and publish content, allow for editorial review and control in a seamless process.

6. Analytics Data isn’t just for management. It’s time to change the way in which data is used. It can be integrated into campaigns and content to build collaboration, insight and reflect the success of great trainers and materials. Some organisation are using their LMS to improve engagement and loyalty fueled by data showing patterns of common interest groups.

7. Vendor Lock-in is the inability or complexity for me to switch. This important consideration is often overlooked and yet the process of migrating from one platform to another can often be measured in months of complex data transformation, configuration. It is common for an LMS selection process to be aligned to a 3 to 5-year strategy. During that time and after the business priorities will of changed; is your new LMS going to be able to keep up with your organisational goals and objectives? If you are choosing a SAAS solution ensure your IT guru checks out how you can import and export data.

8. Systems Integration: the ability to talk with other systems. Systems need to share and exchange information and data. Dazzle me with your strength to talk and accept information from across the organisation. Involve your technical architect or IT guru to assess the capability of the LMS to exchange data. This should be accomplished through APIs and documented data formats. Done well this enables you to utilise the system as a core foundation of a larger enterprise solution which grows with your business and learning strategy.

9. The search capability is often terrible in almost all corporate systems. Often this is the result of poor meta-data around the content. However, the LMS should allow your metadata standards to be followed which enriches and powers the search capability. To the end user auto-suggestion, relevance, common queries, ratings and natural language search help to filter out the weeds and provide the gems.

10. Interactive video learning: Handheld devices, internet availability and speed all conspire to make video learning (and by that I mean interactive video) the new playground. Can you LMS support the delivery of HD video at scale across all of your locations? Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) provide the capability to greatly improve performance and delivery of video and should be a part of your next LMS.

This is a short highlight of emerging features which are now available or have been greatly improved in recent times. Many forward-thinking organisations are looking for these features in their next LMS to deliver a step change in performance and employee engagement. I hope you find this short checklist a useful conversation piece with your existing or new provider. If you have any feedback please get in touch [email protected]