ShareKnowledge Blog

Selecting a Learning Management System (LMS): Ease of Use

Amber Rasmussen January, 2018
Selecting an LMS: Ease of Use

It’s as simple as this: if a Learning Management System (LMS) is easy to use, people will use it. If it’s not easy to use, they won’t.

When selecting an LMS, it is important to keep “ease of use” as key criteria. We can get caught up in the fancy bells and whistles shown in demos of various LMS systems. They may emphasize ‘gamification,’ ‘xAPI,’ ‘social learning’ and all the other buzz words of the day.

Who wouldn’t be impressed, right?

But, if using an LMS is too complicated, no one will use it. Learners will get frustrated and the goals of your business objectives will fall short – or fail.

While the Learning Department (if there is one) usually “owns” the LMS, there are also stakeholders involved. Your IT department usually has a lot of involvement, as do your front-line managers who are assigning and approving training for their teams. Most importantly, your employees, all whom you want to be true “Learners,” need to feel at ease with the system so that they will use it.

The average employee is expected to learn many software systems at work (e.g. CRM, Microsoft Office). This can be overwhelming.  

Technology changes fast, and employees must master the tools of their workday in a short period while remaining a productive member of the company. If the LMS, where they are supposed to learn those tools, is unfamiliar or involves a huge learning curve to use, employees simply won’t use it. What will they do? Go to Google.

So what improves the Ease of Use of an LMS?

Ease of Use for software solutions usually come down to these things:

1.    Intuitive User Interface. When a learner or administrator uses the system, it must be easy and they must naturally know exactly what to do without explanation.

2.    Customer Support. Open and friendly lines of communication with your vendor's support team is a must because there will always be questions.

3.    Customization. Tailoring the system to your business’s specific needs will reduce unwanted clutter and/or features that won’t be used.

4.    Automation. The system should make it easier for you, not more complicated, by handling some activities automatically.

5.    Search Functionality. It’s important to be able to find what you’re looking for with a system that provides speedy and seamless navigability.

During the LMS selection process, keep these features top of mind while exploring additional requirements.

The Selection Process

Most companies stay with their LMS from 3-7 years. People say that the main reason they switch is that “the technology won’t work or meet their needs.” The real reason, though, is usually that at the time of implementation, the LMS wasn’t set up to be easy to use with how that particular company does business. What are their processes? What are the workflows? Also, as the business changes, does anyone bother revisiting the LMS to make sure its processes and workflows match the new business direction?

The frustration people experience with the technology actually circles back to this idea of Ease of Use and how it fairs over the lifetime of using the system. Can the system continue to grow with the company? Can the LMS be flexible and be customized? Is the cost of owning the system and access to updates with increased functionality appropriate for the business value?

Not all systems are created alike and not every system is right for every company. For example, if your company is not running SharePoint, then our solution, ShareKnowledge, is not a good choice. If your business is running SharePoint, then your employees are already familiar with how it works, so it might be the solution you were looking for.

Selecting the right LMS for your company is not an easy or a quick decision. There are many variables to consider. Ease of Use impacts the effectiveness of not only the system, but your Learning and Talent Development programs as a whole. Be sure it’s one of your primary considerations in your selection process.

ShareKnowledge is a good choice for those who want to leverage their SharePoint investment. Maybe they’re using SharePoint already and just want to expand training functionality. Or, they need a system that is compliance-driven. If you would like more information about how ShareKnowledge can solve your training needs, please call us at 425-996-4201.

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