10 Questions To Ask Before Choosing An LMS

10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Choosing An LMS

Find The Solution That Your Teams Need

In today’s fast-paced world, technology has transformed the way we work and learn. To keep up with the ever-evolving landscape, organizations are increasingly turning to Learning Management Systems (LMSs) as a way to train, engage, and manage teams. In fact, nine out of ten businesses already made the switch to online learning in 2018 in some shape or form. But does that mean you should?

The data suggests that all companies can benefit from online learning, with 72% of companies reporting more flexibility and adaptability to change as a result of implementing learning technologies [1]. The implementation of LMS technologies can also lead to up to 18% more employee engagement, suggesting that their addition to teams of all sizes can be pivotal to a company’s overall success [1].

The question then becomes, if LMSs have the power to make my team better, what should I look out for in an LMS to support my team and business goals? In this article, we will explore the key questions you should ask yourself before choosing an LMS. We aim to help you navigate the many LMS platforms out there so that you can choose the one that is right for your team, goals, and needs.

What Is An LMS?

Learning Management Systems are software applications or platforms that help deliver, manage, and track educational courses or training programs. LMSs are commonly used in educational institutions, corporations, and other organizations to provide online learning and training opportunities.

Key Questions To Ask Before Choosing An LMS

Do I Need An LMS Right Now?

The first question you must ask yourself is, “do I need an LMS right now?” As much as online learning has transitioned to the workplace in the past years, not all online learning is created equal. For example, over half of the people who sign up for MOOCs (52%) don’t participate in the online course at all. On the other hand, even before the transition to remote work, only 12% of employees applied skills from training programs to their jobs [2]. An LMS can help you tackle the following training problems:

  • You don’t currently measure your team’s skill development progress
  • Your onboarding system is not structured or streamlined
  • Your training is a one-way stream of information (such as slide decks and videos) that you send to employees without follow-ups or discussions
  • You aren’t able to track whether employees are actually participating in training, or, if they are, whether they retain and apply the knowledge
  • You are looking to set up training programs that drive ROI, engage and support your teams, and you want to learn how to do that in the simplest way possible
  • Your employees are remote (or hybrid) and need learning flexibility (through online, in-person, or a mix of training approaches)

What Would I Like To Achieve By Implementing An LMS?

Whether you have to onboard employees at double the rate, train a sales team on a specific sales tactic, or simply create your first structured training, paint a picture of the first goal. Once you understand the goal, you can consider the features and technical requirements you need from the technology. For example, do you need to deliver certification? Make sure the LMS enables certification delivery. Maybe you want to encourage innovation and soft skills like critical thinking and communication, or solely focus on building a technical training program. These types of questions will determine whether your LMS should offer different features.

  • Power question
    What processes do I want to improve and what do I want my team to get better at?

What Is My Training And Learning Philosophy?

In the same way that we don’t all learn in the same ways, we don’t all have the same team cultures. Some teams are remote, and others rely on in-person events. Some teams require group training while others require a one-to-one approach. It depends on your team’s culture, size, preferences, and structure. There are two simple ways to categorize training philosophies:

  1. Top-down training
    Top-down training involves a small group of top leaders making decisions about training. It suits companies with routine tasks, like retail and manufacturing. An LMS that supports mandatory training, such as compliance, is ideal for this approach.
  2. Bottom-up training
    On the other hand, bottom-up training is favored by companies focusing on innovation and individual growth. It is beneficial for start-ups, online and hybrid teams, and knowledge-intensive industries. This type of training relies on peer-led and self-directed learning. In peer-led training, employees collaborate through activities like brainstorming, coaching, and peer reviews. Self-directed learning encourages employees to pinpoint their learning needs, set goals, design their learning path, and assess outcomes with the guidance of a facilitator. An LMS emphasizing collaboration would be highly valued by employees who embrace a bottom-up learning philosophy.
  • Power question
    What type of learning aligns with my team’s culture?

Who Are The Learners And What Are Their Preferences?

Put yourself in the shoes of the end user of the LMS. Are they digitally savvy? Do they prefer to learn by reading, listening, or watching videos? Will they require to collaborate with others to learn the skills they need? Does their schedule allow them to learn at their own pace, or can they commit to specific times? Understanding your team’s requirements and preferences will help you to ask the right questions before choosing an LMS that primes them to engage in training. For example, 82% of enterprise workers revealed that interactive videos more effectively retain their attention than non-interactive videos.

  • Power question
    How does your team prefer to learn and what can they commit to?

Is The LMS Scalable As I Grow?

Regardless of your size, an important question to ask before choosing an LMS is whether it will be able to grow with you. Choosing a scalable LMS sets you up for success from the get-go. It is likely that if you are investing in your team, you are looking to grow in some shape or form. Think about what you need to solve right now, but also what you may need in the medium and long term. This is a good way to make sure your LMS of choice offers guidance and transparency when it comes to scalability. How can they help you today? How will their features shape your growing needs?

  • Power question
    How will my learning requirements change over time?

What Are My Must-Have And Nice-To-Have Features?

LMSs with interactive features, such as gamification, learning scenarios, and simulations can increase employee engagement by 92%. But whether those features are right for you or not will depend on your goals. Make a list of must-have, nice-to-have, and irrelevant features. Then, assess which features you absolutely need, which you could let go of if the tool exceeds your budget, and which ones don’t really matter at all. Here are the three main components of an LMS to consider features for:

  • Course authoring
    All LMSs have an authoring tool, but there are differences. Stand-alone tools may require compatibility checks when importing or exporting files to the LMS. This can hinder continuous training. For seamless course creation, choose an LMS with a built-in authoring tool, allowing learners to create, upload, and modify learning materials without compatibility concerns.
  • Management and interaction
    Do you need a continuous back and forth with users, or do you only need to track their platform activity?
  • Reporting and analytics
    Is this an absolute must, or a nice-to-have? It will greatly depend on your training requirements and the purpose of the training. For example, if you train staff to certify them, completion rates will be paramount. If you are developing a customer training program, you may be more interested in measuring engagement rates to understand what customers are interested in.

How Do I Plan To Deliver And Manage My Learning Content?

Although the delivery of the learning content is straightforward, one question you need to ask before choosing your LMS is whether it provides a flexible content delivery process or if it is fixed. Is it as simple as drag-and-drop, or a layered process that may confuse non-tech users? When talking with vendors, make sure you thoroughly understand the following functions:

  1. How to upload content
  2. How users can access the content
  3. How easy it is to manage user behavior
  • Power question
    What is the content upload, delivery, and accessibility process of the LMS like?

How Important Are Collaboration And Social Learning For My Training Initiatives?

Most LMSs offer some degree of collaboration. Research shows that social learning has 75x higher ROI than other L&D methods for organizations. This is because it facilitates collaborative learning environments that encourage knowledge sharing, potentially accelerating the spread of knowledge and improving decision-making and productivity. To understand whether you would benefit from these features, revisit your goals, learning philosophy, and user preferences to better understand if it’s something of interest. Then, consider the level of interactivity and engagement you want to incorporate into your learning experiences. Determine if you require features such as discussion forums, live chats, gamification elements, or social learning opportunities.

Is The LMS Easy To Integrate With My Existing Software?

In tandem with the importance of choosing an LMS that grows with you, considering an LMS’s integration capabilities is a smart way to plan ahead. Even if you can currently manage without integrations, it is likely that as your team grows and processes are streamlined, integrations will become increasingly important.

Does The LMS Offer A Comprehensive Free Trial?

Before investing in an LMS, make sure you get a free setting up period to make sure it’s right for your goals and needs. If you’re a small or medium team, look for vendors that provide a fully functional pilot with support, giving you a real-time experience of the training process. Larger teams may benefit from a no-strings-attached trial, and then involving representatives from different departments to gather feedback on User Experience before making a decision.


TLDR: an LMS should make your life easier, not harder. Technology is a tool to make training simpler, not more complex. The questions outlined here are the key decision-makers in choosing an LMS because every team has unique learning and training needs, and therefore you need a tool that helps them achieve their goals in a simpler and more effective way.


[1] 3 Reasons to Implement E-Learning in Your Organization

[2] Where Companies Go Wrong with Learning and Development

Further Reading:

Editor’s Note: Check out our directory to find, choose, and compare the eLearning Industry’s Top LMS Software.