There are an overwhelming number of options for corporate eLearning solutions - this list notes almost 600! With that many potential options, where do you start? There are a few questions you can start with to help narrow your list from an unruly legion down to a manageable group.
What size do you need/how many users? - Some learning management systems (LMS) have support for tens of thousands of learners, but most are aimed at small- or medium-sized businesses. Will you be running a program to train management or just line employees?
Cost? - There are varying levels of cost depending on which system you go with. This of course depends on the resources and capital you have available to dedicate to the project.
API support? An Application Programming Interface (API) provides access to the data in another program. This can be helpful for generating reports, importing data from/exporting to other programs, determining what data to sync where, etc. If your targeted LMS does not have API support, you may be limiting your training system right out of the gate.
Do you have IT support to help? While we don’t recommend using “Shadow IT” to implement a learning program (installing & using the software behind IT’s back), you need to know how much of their time and effort you will be able to access. If it will just be the training team administering the software, you may want to look at a cloud (off-premise) system.
Cloud system benefits:
Administration handled by 3rd party (personnel cost savings)
Don’t need to manage onsite storage of data files
Don’t need to store large application files locally
Typically run in browser or small app
Cloud system drawbacks:
Don’t have control over files (files stored on outside servers)
Don’t have control over availability (potential downtime issues)
Security risk (files stored on outside servers)
If some of these cloud system drawbacks are relevant and you have the available IT resources, you should look for an eLearning system that has an on-premise solution.
With the answers to the above questions in mind, be on the lookout for these non-negotiable features of a modern learning system:
Mobile support and offline access - Anytime/anywhere training for employees
Task Sequencing - Allows managers to orchestrate training or processes into steps that can be tracked right down to the user level
Security - Multi-factor authentication is key to keeping your information secure on the platform—as well as preventing data theft. It also ensures users can only access what they have permission to view.
Additionally, there are convenience features that you may not consider when answering the above questions. These features create administrative simplicity that should not be overlooked. They include:
Mobile device management
As a corporation, you likely don’t need e-commerce features that allow users to browse a course catalog, sign up, and pay for those courses. Some eLearning software has these features built-in but you may prefer a system that focuses on other features.
Answering these questions and checking feature lists can reduce your potential training systems from a few hundred down to a few dozen. From there, you can reach out to your network to get feedback, pro and con. Enlist your IT department for advice as well - after all, they’ll be helping you at some point with the project.