Choosing your eLearning system can be tricky and time-consuming. To avoid being seduced by functionalities you will never use, you need to be clear on the set of requirements for the system. Think of it as making a shopping list before you go to the grocery store and sticking to it.
Learning Management Systems (LMS) are web-based frameworks that handle all aspects of the learning process, from registration and administration to resource management, content delivery, and reporting and certification management. The right platform for your programme will include all the functionalities you need and at the same time, will meet your budget limitations. If you read our latest blog post on what to consider when designing your eLearning programme, then you know that asking the right questions will get you the right solution.
Let’s run you through the key points to consider when choosing your platform.
Your eLearning platform starts with its content. First, ask yourself whether you are capable of taking care of the recording, post-production (editing) and publishing yourself. If you aren’t, opt for a vendor who can take care of this for you.
Secondly, think about where and how the content should be recorded:
- Recording conference sessions: A cost-efficient way to provide content for your eLearning programme is to record sessions at a conference or congress you are already organising. You and your colleagues already put a lot of work into finding the right topics and speakers, the presentation slides and talks are ready so why not take advantage of this? At Open Slide & Services we record the presentations at your conference – whether it is in one room or in 30 parallel rooms.
- Recording content in a studio: Content for the eLearning platform is captured in a studio.
- A ‘hybrid’ solution: A mix of recorded conference presentations and captured videos such as f.e. an introduction video, a panel discussion or interviews with experts.
Thirdly, contemplate whether you want to publish the presentation with or without a video capture of the speaker.
Course structure and key functionalities
Depending on how much content your course will provide, you probably need a well-structured platform which allows you to create different sessions, with each session containing a range of different presentations. Apart from that, you might want to opt for the following functionalities:
- Structuring the content into compulsory and optional modules;
- Fast-forwarding and whether this can be disabled;
- Resuming presentations when a participant left the presentation mid-course and the ability to start over;
- The ability to quiz participants.
Progress tracking and certification
In most cases, you will need to reward the participants with a certification at the end of the course. Many LMSs offer the possibility to track participant progress, with the possibility to automatically generate certificates upon course completion. Ask the vendor whether the platform will automatically send out a reminder to participants when the deadline for course completion is coming close.
For participants, tracking their own progress is important as well, we suggest providing participators access to a practical progress overview 1) of the complete course, 2) per session, 3) per presentation.
Apart from the initial set-up of the platform, you may want to take into account the level of access you want as an administrator. Do you want to be able to take care of creating new modules and uploading new course content yourself or do you prefer to look for a vendor who will provide these services for you? Decide on whether lessons are added only once, on a regular basis or ad hoc.
It’s important to keep in mind who the target group is: design the eLearning platform so your beneficiaries are confident using it. Even without conducting complex usability studies, you can work to improve user experience and thus increase the programme’s efficiency:
- Ensure the platform is accessible in browsers and on types of devices your target group is most likely to use;
- Avoid complicated platforms, keep it easy to navigate;
- Provide easy and intuitive access to the information available;
- Avoid unnecessary features.
Pre-launch tip: Get a colleague – who is not involved in the eLearning programme – to test the platform. Was following a course easy? Did any of the features confuse them? Were they able to find all the information they wanted?
Administrative and helpdesk support
Opt for a vendor who will take care of the registration of participants – including the sending of an introduction email – and helpdesk support for your participants. This allows you to decrease your administrative tasks and will make your life easier when it comes to enrolling participants in your eLearning programme.