An association Learning Management System (LMS) will benefit most associations. The main problem is how to choose one. After all, there are many types of LMS out there, so how can you choose the right one for your member education programme?
Keep reading and learn more about what kind of factors you need to consider when choosing an association LMS for professional development.
An LMS with a good user interface may seem obvious, but it is actually one of the most important features that an LMS can have. Members want to be able to access content when and where they want including on different types of devices. an LMS needs to be able to cater for these different types of devices be it mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop. Content should look and behave the same regardless of device to provide an optimum learning experience.
Technical capability is another consideration. Many associations have a varied member base of different ages, gender, and technical experience. Having an easy to use interface mean being able to cater to as wide a demographic as possible. Being simple enough not to confuse those with little technical expertise while not being so simple as to frustrate more technically savvy users. This is about language use, button placement and navigation while providing more in-depth support for those who need it.
A good user interface shouldn't be crowded or confusing. Instead, the user interface should be very clear and consist of items and aspects that are immediately relevant to the task at hand. This should apply both for members and association administrators.
Accessibility in software is important because it ensures that everyone, including people with disabilities, can access and use the technology. Some reasons why accessibility is important include:
The LMS should allow your internal staff and subject matter experts to easily customise their course content such as media used in the content, supporting interactions, quizzes and other content elements. It's also important that the management of the content and members can be easily managed. Can you group them easily by special interest or local branches? Can you separate content for members and non-due paying learners? Can you structure content to create learning paths for members?
Depending on the education content that you're delivering the LMS should support collaboration among internal staff, trainers and members.
The LMS should be scalable to manage a large number of members and course offerings. After all you want your education programme and your membership to grow.
The LMS should be able to integrate with other software platforms such as Association Membership Systems (AMS), community tools and website content management systems. E-commerce shopping cart integration will be crucial if you want to sell your education offering from your website.
Single Sign On, or SSO, will be important if you want to offer your members a seamless access experience from your website to the online courses.
The LMS should provide a secure environment for member data and protect against unauthorised access. Protecting both your content intellectual property and member data including their record of learning is critical. Ensure that your LMS supplier has robust hosting of their platform with a regular back up procedure in place in case of disaster or a hacking incident.
One of the primary benefits of an LMS is the ability to track engagement of your members with your education content. These insights are incredible valuable. They let you see trends across your membership, bring attention to members who may be disengaged and let you get better understanding about which modules or courses are effective and popular and which may need to be revised.
Look for a comprehensive but easy to access and understanding selection of base reports, as well as the ability to easily export data into other tools for analysis such as Excel or other spreadsheet software.
The LMS provider should provide support and training resources for bother administrators and members. Look for an in-depth knowledge base and at least email support. Ask about response times and operating hours to ensure you fully understand the level of support you're going to get and that it will match your needs.
Moving your Association member education online can be seem daunting and is after all a vital part of your offering to members. It's important that when you consider vendors that you look at them as a partner in your delivery not just a supplier. A good supplier will want to work closely with you to identify your needs, give you ample examples and testimonials from similar associations, provide you access to a free trial and be with your once you've agreed to move forward by offering you all the support you need to succeed. They should back themselves but also back the undertaking you're embarking on together and be in it for the long haul.
To learn more about how Intuto could partner with you, get in touch.
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