Skillsoft Blog

Selecting the Right Cloud-Based Learning Partner

By Sue Rodeman

There’s no shortage of online learning solutions out there – so how do you go about choosing the right one for your organization?

For starters, there are many Requests for Proposal (RFP) templates available online. Keep in mind that there may be features that your organization may not need. In other words, it’s not the number of features you should be concerned with; rather, it’s whether or not your employees will realize behavioral change as a direct result of selecting the right learning provider for your organization.

Some departments are trying to fit their learning strategy within the confines of an LMS, versus having the LMS enable their learning strategy. Research from Brandon Hall15 indicates that 58% of organizations that have an LMS are looking to replace it after 1 to 2 years. In addition, according to their analysis, the cost of a new LMS solution is approximately two to three times the cost of maintaining a current solution.

Here are some criteria to consider when selecting a cloud-based learning solutions partner.

Content
Content is available in a wide variety of modalities sure to appeal to every type of learner. Regardless of the modalities you select, first and foremost, consider the effectiveness, quality and consistency of content.

Variety of modalities offered:

  • Online, self-paced courses
  • Books
  • Audio/podcasts
  • Book summaries
  • Videos
  • Simulations
  • Test prep
  • Mentoring
  • Webcasts
  • Virtual classrooms
  • Gaming
  • Social
  • Topic-specific content curated into easy to use portals
  • Instructional and informational content
  • Depth and breadth of topic coverage
  • Ownership/control of learning products
  • Localized content
  • Support for continuing professional education & college credit
  • Support for professional certifications/accreditations
  • Blended learning resources/tools
  • Accessibility/Section 508 compliance


Technology

Some common LMS features to consider:

  • Engaging user interface
  • Search & discovery
  • Targeted learning
  • Learning programs
  • Social learning
  • Instructor-led training support
  • Customer content creation, packaging and publishing
  • Catalog content integration
  • Mobile access
  • Reporting capabilities, reporting automation and flexibility in report templates
  • Integration capabilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Localized user interface

Service

Important factors to consider:

  • Scope of customer service and support
  • Integration support
  • Training
  • Implementation services
  • Consulting services
  • Custom content services
  • Conferences, events, user groups
  • Benchmarking models

Experience

Be sure to consider a learning partner with deep, proven industry experience:

  • Expertise and tenure of staff
  • Size, industry sector and geographic profile of the customer base
  • Track record for profitability and growth/sustainability
  • Client satisfaction and renewal rates
  • Learner satisfaction scores
  • R&D investment level
  • Industry recognition & awards
  • Benchmarking model

The right supplier will have deep knowledge about the path organizations take as they evolve their learning strategy. It is beneficial to define what stage of maturity your organization is operating in now and what stage to set your sights on. Then, work closely with your cloud-based learning partner to chart a strategy bridge that helps your organization achieve your target stage.

Download our new ebook, Cloud-Based Learning Solutions, to learn more.

Sue Rodeman is Vice President, Product Marketing at Skillsoft. Follow Sue on Twitter: @srodeman

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15The Race to Replace: Results from the 2012 LMS Trends Survey by David Wentworth. Brandon Hall Group, December 2012.

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