Selecting the right Learning Management System for your organisation

Image of a computer fashioned as a shop window with the blog title, "Selecting the right Learning Management System for your organisation"

With organisations increasingly keen to monitor both formal and social learning, Learning Management Systems (LMSs) are set to be a big trend for 2015.

In a market saturated with over 600 learning management solutions, (yes, that many!) choosing the right LMS for your organisation can be a daunting task but will reap huge benefits in terms of money savings, time efficiency and the ability to deliver innovative and effective learning campaigns.

In this latest post, we’ll help point you in the right direction.

What is an LMS and why do you need one?

An LMS is a software application which will allow you to manage all aspects of your online learning; including administration, tracking learner progress and the delivery of learning content. A good LMS will make the organisational, technical and administrative tasks associated with delivering online learning into a simple, manageable process.

In his presentation: 7 Questions you must ask before purchasing an LMS, Business Development Manager at Aurion Learning, Gavin Woods outlined the seven key questions you should ask to avoid LMS disappointment:

  1. Is it easy to implement?
  2. Is it easy to customise and configure?
  3. Is it secure?
  4. Is in-depth reporting available?
  5. Does it have strong functionality?
  6. Is it scalable?
  7. Do I want to work with this vendor?

See the full presentation here.

In 2015, there are five industry wide trends that we predict will affect LMS choice and that you’ll want to take into consideration as you future proof your E-Learning:

  1. The widespread adoption of big data in E-Learning
  2. The emergence of Tin Can API
  3. An increase in self-directed, informal learning
  4. A further rise in mobile learning
  5. The integration of learning management and talent management

Ultimately, the aim is to find an LMS which is robust, functional and future proof, as well as being within your budget. Each organisation will have different requirements in terms of technical and functional requirements.

Before approaching any vendors, we recommend sitting down with representatives from across your organisation and discussing what you need to have and what you would like to have.

It’s likely that your LMS will be used by more than just your learning and development team, so remember to include colleagues working in management, human resources, marketing and anyone else who will use the LMS on a regular basis.

With so much LMS choice available, it can be hard to select the right one for your organisational needs. At team Aurion, we’ve selected three LMS solutions that we regularly recommend to a wide range of organisations and outlined which learner needs they meet most effectively:

NetDimensions Learning

Described by Brandon Hall as “bulletproof”, this LMS is notorious for its technical dependability and is ideal for high information or compliance based industries.

With inbuilt talent management integration, it benefits both the human resources and training department by tracking and recording learner progress as well as potentially reporting workplace performance. NetDimensions Learning is used all over the world and its translation and localisation capabilities make it ideal for organisations operating in several countries or using numerous languages. Customer service is reportedly helpful and quick.

LearnUpon

Recently named by independent reporter Learning Light as one of its top 8 learning management systems, LearnUpon is famed for being a simple, easy to set up LMS where administrators can quickly upload and share learning content.

With a transparent payment plan and ability to create new learning content at a fast pace, it is a favourite amongst training providers. As a cloud based LMS, it is highly competitive in terms of data security, accessibility and customisation.

Moodle

For many in the academic world, the word Moodle is synonymous with E-Learning. This open source, highly scalable LMS is seen by many as the unquestionable forerunner in the race for best LMS.

Also voted by Learning Light as one of the top 8 LMSs, it stands out from the crowd because of the cost benefits it offers, its consistent development and innovation and the community of developers who continually create new features and ways of delivering digital learning. It is great for creating mobile learning and is compatible with Tin Can API.

Although it is free, you will need to partner with someone who knows how to use it and will help you to keep abreast with the constant changes associated with a Moodle LMS deployment.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

 

What are authoring tools and which one is right for me?

Image containing title of the blog and a person using an authoring tool

Authoring tools are software applications used to create E-Learning programmes and content. There is a massive selection of authoring tools available on the E-Learning market and we aim to highlight some of our favourite products and outline considerations you should take into account when deciding which authoring tool is right for your E-Learning needs.

There are many types of authoring tools available:

Nine logos for various authoring tools. Including Articulate tools, Composica, gomo, Snap! and more.

 

These can be divided into three main groups of authoring tools:

1. Standalone tools

Watch our short video: The Pros and Cons of Storyline

Tools that do not require any other software to be installed.

 

2. PowerPoint based plug-ins

Watch our short video: The Pros and Cons of Snap!

Tools which extend the functionality of PowerPoint.

 

3. Online tools

Watch our short video: The Pros and Cons of Composica

Web-browser based tools, platform independent.

 

A good authoring tool allows E-Learning creators to use rich media; audio, flash animations, videos and games and to build interactions around the rich media.

Generally content created by authoring tools can be published for use on websites, CDs or Learning Management Systems for consumption by your learners at a time and place that suits them best.

At our recent masterclass series, we gave an overview of the benefits of building internal capability by developing your own E-Learning using authoring tools. You can view and download the presentation here. We’ll also have the recoding of this presentation online soon. During this session, Gavin Woods, our Business Development Manager gave an overview of:

An overview of Articulate Studio. Why? +Based on familiar tools (PowerPoint), + Easy to use, + Good for beginners. Why not? - Some limits on functionality, - Plug-in architecture creates some issues.

 

An Overview of Articulate Storyline: Why? + Most powerful authoring environment, + Unlimited authoring capability, + Work remotely (desktop based). Why not? -Steeper learning curve, - Needs some training, - Appropriate licensing can be an issue.

 

An Overview of Adobe Captivate: Why? + Broad range of features, + Part of a wider Adobe E-Learning Suite, + You may have a license already. Why not? - Not as user friendly, - Weaker set of interactions, - Some minor issues with uploading images.

 

Overview of Camtasia. Used for: Screencasting, Talk to cam, Slides plus video, Slides plus voice over.

In a non-rapid environment (think E-Learning companies developing in Flash) there are at least three people in the development team plus the subject matter expert (SME) and the client. In a rapid environment, there is normally just the DIY E-Learning developer along with the SME. It is very often the case though the DIY E-Learning developer is also the SME, Instructional Designer and client all rolled into one. It’s lovely up to a point…but is also feels pretty lonely. As time and resources are often limited, it’s imperative that you are selecting the right authoring tool.

What factors are important when choosing an authoring tool?

  • Multi-device publishing;
  • The ability to incorporate rich media;
  • The ease of creation of interactivity;
  • Cost;
  • Compatibility; and
  • Skill level in-house.

It’s important to select an authoring tool that allows you to create engaging, aesthetically pleasing and interactive E-Learning content without requiring the technical know-how of a computer genius.

At Aurion, depending on our client’s specific E-Learning project requirements, we select the right authoring tool that best fits the brief. Articulate Storyline has the most powerful authoring environment and now that Articulate have launched a new, improved version; Articulate Storyline 2, it’s worth taking a closer look at this formidable tool.

Our team of E-Learning designers love the features of Articulate Storyline 1 because it is effortless to use, has a strong tracking and reporting functionality, simple integration of interactivity and rich media and content means that it is immediately publishable across a wide range of devices.

So what’s different about Storyline 2?

Whilst maintaining a similar look and feel, Storyline 2 offers the same functionality as Storyline 1 and more. On a practical note, the introduction of auto recovery means that you needn’t worry that you’ll lose any of your hard work if you experience technical difficulties with your device. The new dockable panel functionality enables you to work effectively across multiple screens and the fact it is no longer necessary to compress videos ensures that you can maintain high quality graphics and animations.

Both appearance and interactivity in Storyline 2 are better than ever before with the new motion paths, animation painter and a range of new transitions and animations. Our favourite new feature is the slider interactions which allow learners to play around with data and discover causal relationships in a highly visual and interactive format.

Storyline 2 allows you to both import questions and attribute negative scores, thus allowing you to change how tests are created and assessed.

If we’ve managed to tempt you to give Storyline 2 a go, you can try it out for free here.

Although we’re big fans of Articulate Storyline and have used it as a solution for a wide range of E-Learning needs, we know that there is no one size fits all in digital learning. For more advice on choosing the right authoring tool for you, we recommend watching our webinar: Choosing the Right Tools to Create Your Own E-Learning.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.