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Online resources to help you select, implement, and use an LMS

LMS System Selection & Evaluation Toolkit, Part 3


This is the third in a five-part series.

Last post we talked about defining the LMS selection process, and gather background information so you are well prepared to evaluate potential LMS applications. In this post we focus on creating a requirements list, with specific tasks and scenarios to aid in the evaluation of each LMS.


Selecting an LMS is based on needs: the better you understand your needs and requirements, the easier it will be to identify an LMS that meets your needs. Defining the features you need can be a time consuming task, but at a bare minimum, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many users does the LMS need to support?
  • Do I need a hosted or installed solution
  • Is SCORM/AICC support required?
  • How easy is the user interface?
  • Is customer support readily available and responsive to my needs?

It is also useful to create some task scenarios that you need to accomplish using the LMS. Write up a few – something like, ‘I need to assign several courses to trainees in the accounting department. The courses have to be completed in a specific order and re-training has to be done every 5 years.’ Or, ‘I’m the supervisor in the window installation department. How will I know if all of my team has completed the necessary training for installation? How can I find out who is ready to do a particular product installation?’ Use these scenarios to help identify key features that you need in an LMS. You will use them again in STEP 4.

.Before you can write the scenarios, you need to come up with a list of general goals LMS users will have. Ask yourself: What does every user need to be able to do using this application? For example, everyone needs to take courses - assigned and from the course catalog; every user needs to know which courses are required and when training is due; every user needs to be able to see their training history. There are also general tasks that specific types of users need to accomplish: create a new course, modify an exisiting course, report on training completions/status.

Once you've come up with the list of general goals, you can write task scenarios. These scenarios provide context so LMS evaluators engage with the interface and perform tasks as they would in the real-world.

Poorly written scenarios tell users which features to use when interacting with the LMS, rather than allowing the user to choose how to complete the task. By recording the way individuals choose to complete the task, you can compare LMS's to see how easy the system will be before you commit.

Here are 3 tips for writing scenarios:

(1) Make the Task Realistic

User goal: Take and resume an assigned course.
Poor task: Take the New Hire Training course.
Better task: Take and complete a course that is due within 30 days.

(2) Make the Task Actionable

User goal: Report on training compliance in a department.
Poor task: You want to see training compliance. Go to Reports and run the training compliance report.
Better task: Use the LMS reporting tools to report on training compliance in your department. Get a specific list of compliant/non-compliant employees..

(3) Avoid Clues and Describing the Steps

User goal: Look up quiz results to improve quiz questions..
Poor task: You want to see quiz results for New Hire Training. Go to the LMS, sign in, and run the Quiz Results Report.
Better task: In an effort to improve quiz questions, look up the results of the New Hire Quiz. Determine if the questions are effective or need to be improved.

Additional Resources Information about website/application usability.

LMS Scenario Form
Download this form to record your task scenarios. Includes examples and brief process description.

Not sure if you need a SCORM compliant LMS? We’ve got the guide for you! Download our SCORM 101 eBook to see if that is a feature you need.