I’m preparing for my part of an upcoming session at DevLearn on LMS selection as part of The Learning Management Systems Symposium. I'm going to prepare for this in a slightly different way. I'm going to create notes in my blog as a series of posts as I think about what I'll present and then I'll turn them into slides. Hopefully, this will:
- Allow me to get input from readers and that means you - yes YOU - I see you reading this and thinking - he doesn't mean me - no I really mean YOU. Help me make this presentation better. Please. Especially what am I missing, what will be useful for an audience of corporate learning folks who are contemplating LMS selection, what won't be useful (and I should delete). I truly need to get input or this could be a boring session - and I don't like boring sessions - see my reservations about the presentation below.
- Create an interesting resource for participants and readers - yes that's you as well.
How to Conduct a Successful
Learning Management Systems (LMS) Selection Process
LMS Selection Background:
I'm coming from a background of personally working and coaching on a bunch of LMS selection, installation and configuration projects and being heavily involved in the design and development of several custom LMS implementations. My goal in the presentation and in these posts is to provide a basic process and try to capture specific areas that have been learned the hard way through these varied experiences to help define what makes a selection process successful. In some ways, I'm trying to help people achieve better LMS Satisfaction.
My selection experience primarily is in corporate environments, but I’ve also been involved in non-profits, foundations and to a lesser extent education and government. My custom implementation experience is generally with specialized content providers. Most of the time, I’m working with larger organizations who have 2,000+ learners and several different constiuents involved. However, most of this applies fairly well across other kinds of organizations.Reservations:
I'm somewhat concerned that there's no good way to capture this stuff in a presentation that will be meaningful and useful. Most people only go through a few selection processes in their career. And not every issue is going to come up on every selection process. Thus, can I really identify stuff that will be useful?
Also, I don't want this to be a presentation form of eLearningGuild LMS Selection Tips. This has a lot of lessons learned, but it's daunting and it more or less prompts you about things you need to look out for, but not necessarily what to do. So, if they have 500 tips or something like that and I'm giving 20 tips, how is my presentation going to be useful?
Hence my reservations.
The LMS Selection Process
I'm not sure how interesting it will be to walk through the LMS Selection Process. In my experience, most of the definitions of the process are fairly similar. If you go out and search you will quickly find resources like:
- Form a core selection team and define stakeholders
- Define business and learning strategy
- Agree to process with key stakeholders
- Capture requirements and differentiating use cases
- Interviews / expectation setting
- Drill down on non-standard items
- sometimes done via RFI
- eLearningGuild, Brandon Hall or Bersin might help
The LMS Selection Process Issues
So, instead, I plan to focus on key differences in the process based on specific situations and places where I've seen things go wrong before. This will be somewhat similar to my LMS Selection Gotcha list. But I also plan to include specific items such as:
- Some political issues especially playing favorites.
- Common communication problems.
- How much LMS do you really need? And the starter LMS.
- Getting agreement on strategy and process.
- Content authoring selection vs. LMS selection.
- Defining differentiating use cases.
- How to work with different constituents to capture differentiating use cases and how to use that as an opportunity to set expectations.
- Difference between an RFI and an RFP. When do an RFI? Ways to down select without an RFI?
- Making sure you understand a critical requirement as compared to a requirement that's somewhere on the important - nice-to-have scale.
- What requirements to put in an RFP.
- How to balance making an RFP response useful to you and not too hard for a vendor.
- How much should you lead a vendor in the RFP requirments.
- Examples of good and bad requirements.
- A few critical questions that sometimes get missed.
- Contract negotiations.
- LMS fit is 50% models.
This list seems like it will take me more than an hour to go through as it stands, so I'll probably shorten, but thought I should list out what I'm thinking right now.
I'll also make a list of resources as I find them. I've got quite a few on the process and various issues. I have a few example templates. I don't have good stuff on the fuzzy front-end, defining strategy, etc. Anything you think would be a good resource, feel free to send me or tag in del.icio.us with lmsselection.