You know that your learners are ready and in need of something to help ease your educational burdens. You know that… but does your boss? Deciding to invest in software is a big deal—and convincing the administration to take the plunge will be difficult. Buying learning management software can be an extensive process with way too many options, intimidating price points, and long installation times. Investing can be risky—especially if your boss isn’t totally on board.
Luckily, equipped with the right materials and Capterra’s extensive research, you’ll find yourself more than able to tackle the challenge.
Below is everything you need to explain to anyone why learning management software is necessary, beneficial, and totally doable: a quiz to assess your pain points, some key questions to ask about your business, tips on how to calculate ROI, and a powerpoint template to help you ace your presentation.
Ready to win over your boss? Let’s get started.
What does your business need?
The first step is figuring out which tool, if any, you actually need. Consider some questions to help determine what you could need:
- What are your company’s pain points?
- Are you a small business with a budget to match?
- Are you struggling to keep up learner engagement?
- Are you looking for a way to consolidate files in a manageable database?
Whatever it is, every business has its pain points. When you’ve found yours, you can start the search for a software solution. A company looking to improve learner engagement might look at a social learning platform. A business concerned about data management can find software just for that. To ease the burden on your staff, consider learning management software that creates a virtual classroom just for you.
For almost every corporate training issue, there’s a software solution that can fix it.
But then the question becomes about whether you really need to buy new software. Would free software work? Or does your problem not actually call for software at all?
To answer the former point, I won’t sit here and say that a pricey solution will always be better than a free or open source solution. There are many high-quality free software options on the market today, and they are often just as extensive, manageable, and powerful as their expensive counterparts. All that matters is your specific needs. Answering those questions above gives you a better insight into what you need to look for. Start by trying to answer your least broad question, and worry about the price tag later. Just because a software is free or open source doesn’t make it any less attractive. Keep your options open and consider the budget as a secondary factor. And remember, your learners come first.
For the latter point, what if technology really can’t solve all your problems? If this is true, resist the urge to look for software out of habit. All you’ll do is chop one head off the hydra. If your problem is really about improving teacher-learner interaction, high-level management decisions, or the current state of the American educational system, no amount of well-designed software is going to fix it for you. If you try to solve the problem and still think that you need software, then come back to it; your dream software will still be there, waiting for you.
If you’re not sure what your pain points are, or are looking for ways to articulate them, take this quiz:
What features should you look for?
Consider your pesky pain points again. If your issue is content quality, the solution could be better authoring, more in-depth analysis, and/or improving your proficiency testing system.
If your problem is a poor learner experience, the issue could be fixed with a cleaner interface, a more sophisticated course library, or social learning software. One problem can have several solutions, and only research can tell you which fix is right for you.
I’d suggest conducting your own research along with market research here. Send out a survey to whatever group your new software is meant to help. Have them discuss the pain points they experience and how (or whether) they think these problems could be fixed.
Try to be as specific as possible. A dozen or more software programs could all fix a dozen or more problems just fine. And while that’s helpful in solving your issues, it doesn’t help narrow your list. Focus on the most niche problem first. Maybe you need software that consolidates all your data in one comprehensive, easily navigable database. Maybe you have a unique program you use and your learning management software must integrate with it.
Once you have your most niche issue, you can widen the net from there. Your goal is to end up with one or two must-haves, and five or six nice-to-haves.
What does market research say?
Market research makes it clear: learning software improves success rates.
Learning management software has achieved amazing results. 96% of users reported that their LMS improved content organization and progress tracking. Social learning has a 75:1 ROI ratio over web-based learning. It can even increase productivity and revenue while decreasing expenditures and employee turnover.
Even if it means a slightly larger up-front investment, learning management, social learning, and progress tracking software helps in the long run. If you don’t believe me, believe the real people who found solutions in software.
Samsung UK and Ireland used a LMS software called Totara LMS to improve their learner experience. Software allowed Samsung to be proactive instead of reactive. Totara recorded that Samsung saw a 181% increase in the number of completed courses within the first month after implementation.
Brown University used CanvasLMS software, enabled them to cleanly integrate their teaching and learning platform with a pre-existing system. A Brown spokesperson said, “the overall look and feel,” of Canvas drove them to make the final decision, and the students and faculty couldn’t be happier.
Palo Alto Unified School District suffered a massive database failure and turned to a comprehensive LMS called Schoology. Its user-friendly interface and integration of data from the district’s existing system improved communication and collaboration between students, teachers, and parents.
How can you find your top three software options?
If you’ve identified your pain points and how to fix them, you’re on to the easy part. Now your biggest problem is having too many options.
Take the list you’ve created of pain points and potential fixes. Use an LMS software directory to find the software features you need. Feel free to get picky with those filters. It’s harder to start with an overwhelming pool of options; start small!
“But Halden, what about the cost?”
I hear you. Like I said above, there’s always the possibility of going for a free learning management software. But what if you find the perfect software and suffer from some sticker shock like a bride on Say Yes to the Dress? What will your boss think of the cost? Don’t forget that a lot of times, software saves or even generates money. Show this to your boss by calculating the ROI, or return on investment, of the product. Finding and presenting the ROI is a great way to prove that you’ve done your research and are sure that this software will benefit your company.
For further research on the topic, check out this pricing guide for LMS software, and this handy dandy features guide to help you figure out what you need. You can also check out our ultimate guide to finding the perfect LMS for all your LMS needs.
Say you’re convinced but your boss isn’t quite there yet. We’re here to help. Check out our list of frequently asked questions to answer what people most want to know. You’ll also want to see our most affordable LMS software for some cheaper alternatives.
Best of all, you can use our software case builder template to make your own case for the software you need.
Looking for Learning Management System software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Learning Management System software solutions.