Finding the right technology tools and learning management platforms remains a challenge for many associations, according to Abila’s Member Professional Development Study. In fact, only a third or fewer of association professionals surveyed are “very satisfied” with their ability to target outreach, run reports, or provide interactive features for their members participating in courses.

On its face, this does not bode well for learning management system (LMS) providers, as there appears to be a gap between what organizations want in their solutions and what they’re purchasing. However, it’s possible associations struggle to find the technology that’s right for them, because they’re unsure about what they need in an LMS. For instance, a 2013 report from the eLearning Guild found satisfaction with an LMS is directly tied to the perceived effectiveness of the selection process.

This begs the question: When searching for the right technology, are you simply checking boxes or are you thinking about the features and functionality that will best serve your mission-critical initiatives and ultimately your members?

Choosing the right LMS is crucial to long-term success. The alternative, an LMS that does not meet your needs, poses a significant financial and administrative burden, while threatening your organization’s ability to recruit, retain, and engage members. Point is, take the selection process seriously. A good starting point would be a consideration of the following:

  • What pain points will an effective LMS alleviate?
  • How will the LMS impact your organization strategic goals?
  • Who will be involved in the decision? Who has decision-making rights?
  • What are the functional requirements? Technical requirements?
  • How will you build a list of potential vendors? Referrals? Online research? Combination of many sources?
  • How will you evaluate the product? What sources of information will you use?
  • How important is it that your solutions integrate?
  • How long will it take for you to realize the full value of your investment?

While these questions are certainly just a starting point, they underscore the value of a thorough and comprehensive vetting process. At Abila, we understand the importance of choosing the right solution, which is why we created the ultimate (unbiased) shopping guide, The Savvy Association’s Guide to LMS Success.” Learn the six must-haves for a successful LMS and member experience, along with much more.