According to Community Brands 2018 Member Education and Career Development Report, 85 percent of members want organizations to provide continuing education opportunities. However, implementing a learning program with a corresponding learning management system (LMS) is easier said than done. With more than 700 learning management solutions in the marketplace, choosing the right one poses a unique challenge. Associations may struggle to find the technology that’s right for them, in part because they’re unsure about what they need in an LMS. As such, it’s essential to determine what the needs and goals are for the learning program and which features and functions are critical to developing, maintaining, and growing that program. 

While this undoubtedly varies from organization to organization (depending on size, revenue, membership base, and program goals, among a number of other considerations), the professional education experts at Tagoras, along with Community Brands own Sales VP Scott Hundley, simplified the process into seven critical steps, including potential setbacks to avoid, in the recent webinar, “LMS Selection: Mastering the Process, Avoiding the Pitfalls.” They suggest starting by identifying and clarifying objectives and asking what opportunities you’d like to take advantage of and what problems you’re trying to solve. This will help you avoid focusing your energy on what an LMS could do, instead of what it has to do.  

In short, the process outlined by Tagoras is as follows: 

  1. Identify and clarify objectives
  2. Identify needs and requirements
  3. Pre-vet and shortlist vendors
  4. Develop and issue a request for proposal (RFP)
  5. Review and score responses to the RFP
  6. Engage in product demonstrations
  7. Select and negotiate 

They also covered major pitfalls to be aware of when embarking on the selection process. Unforeseen setbacks can pose a huge risk to your investment, while setting the stage for dissatisfaction. These include poor integrations with other systems, poor support for effective marketing, as well as poor support for admin processes. Examining these processes from the beginning, as part of the selection process, is imperative to finding the right system or systems to avoid frustration and the loss of valuable time.  

Want to learn more about mastering the selection process? Check out the Tagoras Resources page!  And don’t forget to take a look at our 2018 Member Education and Career Development report for key findings on the intersection of professional development and career advancement from the perspective of who it matters to most: members.