10 Questions to Ask Your LMS Vendor

Implementing your initial learning management system — or transitioning to a new LMS — is a  significant project.

It will set the course for your training program for years to come.

Before choosing a new LMS, be sure to find out the answers to these 10 questions.

1. Does your LMS have the features I need?

The list of must-have features varies by organization. Think about your workflows, the environment in which your admins and learners will use the LMS and which features you really need: Customization for different groups of learners? Personalized learning plans? Third-party content libraries? Built-in content creation studio? Integration with webinar platforms? Ask LMS vendors about these features.

Don’t get distracted by their laundry list of features you won’t ever use; keep your LMS search grounded in your workflows, your environment, and what your learners and admins need to use every day to succeed.

2. What will make my learners love your LMS?

Group of 6 diverse people cropped in white boxes, making a heart shape with their hands.

Finding content and completing training in an LMS should be easy — even fun — for learners. Your learners have unique needs. Maybe they need quick access to specific content or a quick way to check upcoming deadlines. Maybe they need at-a-glance status updates on what courses they are enrolled in, how far they’ve come, and how much training they have left to do.

Whatever it is your learners need, your LMS should provide it with customized home pages designed to suit your learners in your environment following your workflows.

Ask LMS vendors how they tailor the LMS for your learners — beyond your logo in the corner and your corporate colors. Ask them why your learners will love their platform.

3. How easily can I create & deploy content using your LMS?

Ask vendors whether their LMS includes an easy-to-use content creation feature. Can you quickly create multimedia content, including video with narration, animations, and games, add in PDFs and eBooks, and offer quizzes — all without purchasing or using additional tools? Also, ask how easily you can add your existing content or third-party content to the LMS.

Find out how quickly you can update content and deliver new material to learners and whether they’re automatically enrolled in new versions of courses they need for certifications and to meet licensing requirements.

4. Will your LMS keep my content and learner data secure?

You collect learner data for essential purposes — but learners rightly want to know that their personal information is secure. At the same time, managers need to be able to track their direct reports’ progress, and teams need to collaborate and share information. 

Your LMS should allow you to create reports for each manager, showing their employees’ engagement and progress. You should be able to restrict access to sensitive records and control who can see what. Your LMS should also allow learners to collaborate with peers and teammates, sharing learning materials, comparing progress, and helping one another out.

Ask LMS vendors whether you can control permission to reports, test scores, and other learner records — and how you can ensure that course content and learner data are used only for their intended purposes.

Security goes beyond access to data: You also want to be sure that data backups occur seamlessly and securely. Ask your vendor how it secures and backs up your data and whether hosting and storage facilities comply with industry security standards.

5. How much of my training administration can I automate?

Series of androids sitting at laptops, typing and wearing headsets.

Training administration takes up an enormous amount of your L&D team’s time and energy. Your LMS should help out here by automating enrollments, sending notices to learners when they need to do training or have a certification that’s about to expire, and generating regular reports for managers.

Ask LMS vendors how much user data and course content you can import automatically, error-free and without onerous customization and tweaking. 

6. How does your pricing scale as my organization and needs grow?

You want to know what you’re paying for your new LMS — and how that will change in the future as you add learners, add content, or both. Ask LMS vendors whether they charge by the learner and how that changes as your company grows. 

Be sure to ask what’s included and what you’ll need to pay extra for. Consider whether you’ll be paying a hefty price tag for features you are unlikely to use — or paying extra for essentials. It’s especially important to know how much implementation assistance and ongoing support is included in the cost so you don’t get any unpleasant surprises. 

7. What types of reports and data visualizations can I create?

Showing that learners are making progress is essential; it’s why your LMS exists! You’ve also got to be able to show auditors that learners have completed the required training and passed their certification exams. 

Ask vendors what types of learner progress and performance data their LMS collects and how your admins can customize reports and generate them automatically. 

Ask about features that allow admins to easily create clear data visualizations to show executives the value of the training and the LMS. Does the LMS integrate with BI tools, such as PowerBI? These make correlating training data with critical business KPIs easy and enable training admins to show executives exactly how effective their learning initiatives are.

Finally, if you are delivering compliance training, ensure that you are able to satisfy the compliance auditors with effective reporting and analytics.

8. How will you support us, both before and after the launch?

Ask potential LMS suppliers how they will support you, from implementation planning through deployment, and — crucially — after the launch. How long will you wait for a resolution if you need assistance or experience an incident? 

You don’t need to know how quickly they answer the phone or reply to your email, but how soon you can expect results. And find out about emergency resolution and availability of the support team. Anything less than 24x7x365 emergency response, by an actual human who knows your system inside and out, is simply unacceptable.  

Your LMS vendor should support you in other ways, too, such as providing comprehensive implementation services, administrator training on deploying and using the LMS — and the vendor should offer tutorials and help for your admins for the lifetime of your relationship. Also, ask to see their online help system to see how comprehensive it is. If the vendor doesn’t deliver training using their own platform, ask why. That could be a huge red flag!

9. Will your LMS integrate with the rest of my ecosystem?

Close-up of a group of hands bringing six puzzle pieces together, glowing where the sides of each touch.

Features like single-sign-on (SSO) and integration with eCommerce, HRIS, data warehouses, and webinar or virtual classroom platforms are more than just buzzwords. For your LMS to pull its weight as a member of your eLearning ecosystem, it has to integrate with other essential components.

You’ll want to automate as much administration as possible, so you will want to have a user sync from your HRIS or talent management system, plus custom integrations to other applications to prevent having to manually update multiple systems.

Ask vendors about integrations with all the elements of your training and talent management ecosystem.

10. How will your LMS feature set grow to support my future needs?

You’re not buying an LMS for short-term use; you need to know that it will meet your needs well into the future. The only hitch is, you can’t really predict the future.

Your LMS vendor can anticipate future trends and technologies, though, and build their product to easily grow and evolve. Find out how often the LMS vendor releases updates and whether it adds features in response to client requests. Ask about planned upgrades and what new features are already in the pipeline.

In addition to keeping up with the latest eLearning technologies and developments, your LMS needs to be able to keep up with you as you grow.

Choosing an LMS means entering a long-term relationship with the LMS vendor. Choose a company that will support you from the moment you meet and throughout your planning, launch, and use of their platform. Choose a platform that meets your needs now and will grow with you. And of course, choose the platform that will provide the most enjoyable and friction-free learning experience for your employees. Talk to a SmarterU expert today.

  • SU100 – Introduction to SmarterU
  • SU105 – Structuring Your SmarterU Account
  • SU110 – Course Development Options
  • SU115 – Introduction to Online Courses
  • SU120 – Online Courses: Instructional Tasks
  • SU125 – Online Courses: Quizzing and Exams
  • SU130 – Introduction to SCORM Courses
  • SU135 – Introduction to Instructor-led Courses
  • SU140 – User Management
  • SU145 – Progress Reporting
  • SU150 – Maximizing Recall & Retention

Finally, select the Columns you want to see displayed in the final report.

The Filters do the heavy lifting of parsing the data; Columns show you the results.

For example, franchisors could create a team of all “franchisees” across their network to easily report on their progress.Manufacturers could group all employees in a supervisory role, creating a “Leadership” team.A corporate office could create a team of all branch managers in different cities.

To create teams, Admins start by going to their account profile to specify team names.To add a learner to a team, go to the User Dashboard, edit that user, and add them to one or more teams. Learners can be added to to as many teams as is needed.

Control Fraction Quiz Marks
Three options – Precise, Rounded and Truncated

Set Quiz Availability Windows!
Specify the start and end dates and times when a Quiz can be taken.

Updated! Learner Dashboard

  • event & due date calendar
  • course catalogue for self enrollment

New! Instructor led Training Features

  • self-enroll and get placed on the “waiting list” if the session is full
  • ILT sessions visible on the calendar

New! Enrollment Dashboard

  • historical enrollments
  • recommended enrollments
  • mass enrollments
  • and more!

Course Prerequisites
One of our most frequently requested features is now available! Courses can now have one, or more prerequisites.

Home Groups
Just like high school, every learner now has a home room – a “home group.” This allows you to structure and set admin permissions to manage learners based on their home group assignment.

The Waiting List
Got popular instructor-led sessions? New in the Mercury release is the ability to use and manage waiting lists when your sessions are full.

Knowledge Base Templates
Got structured information such as spec sheets? Create templates with exactly the fields you want, including images, tags, etc.

Knowledge Base Permissions
Set and manage permissions – you can control who can view and edit your Knowledge Base – by group, team or individual user.

Knowledge Base Organization
Create folders to organize and group your files, and “drag & drop” files from one folder to another, using our tree view.

Roles & Certifications
Your learners all have a variety of roles in your workplace, and some of those roles may have specific recurring training requirements. Role Management makes scheduled or recurring training easy to manage.

You have the ability to define unlimited roles, each with their own requirements for certifications and ongoing training.

Role Management Dashboard
Use the Role Management Dashboard to easily manage roles and corresponding certifications.

Role Management Calculation
Track training requirements for your certifications, including recertification periods, expiries and automated notifications.

Role Management Automation
Each user can be given one or more role, and their training requirements are automatically determined!

Branded Emails
All SmarterU’s automatically generated email notices will now be branded with your logo and theme.

Google Apps Integration
SmarterU is now integrated with the Google Apps Marketplace for easy Single Sign On.

Team Management
Identify learners with a common theme and associate them as a “team” across groups! Easiest way to label users into teams such as Leadership, Production Worker, etc.

ATTN: IT FOLK

(non-IT Folk, ignore the following)

If you have firewall rules for any of these domains, contact us to get notified of the new IP addresses:

  • aps.smarteru.com
  • marketplace.smarteru.com
  • scorm.smarteru.com
  • api.smarteru.com

Do you have a login portal that uses an A Record instead of a CNAME? Best change it to a CNAME – instructions here.

ATTN: IT FOLK

(non-IT Folk, ignore the following)

If you have firewall rules for any of these domains, contact us to get notified of the new IP addresses:

  • aps.smarteru.com
  • marketplace.smarteru.com
  • scorm.smarteru.com
  • api.smarteru.com

Do you have a login portal that uses an A Record instead of a CNAME? Best change it to a CNAME – instructions here.

ATTN: IT FOLK

(non-IT Folk, ignore the following)

If you have firewall rules for any of these domains, contact us to get notified of the new IP addresses:

  • aps.smarteru.com
  • marketplace.smarteru.com
  • scorm.smarteru.com
  • api.smarteru.com

Do you have a login portal that uses an A Record instead of a CNAME? Best change it to a CNAME – instructions here.

Enrolled Courses

My Timeline

My Waiting Lists
Will appear if users on waiting lists for ILT courses.

My Learning Plans
Enterprise Accounts Only.

Course Catalog
All courses that are set for self-enroll within at least one of the users groups.

All Courses
All courses that the user is allowed to see and enroll in.

The Knowledge Base
If the user has been given permission to access that account’s Knowledge Base.

You have the ability to define unlimited roles, each with their own requirements for certifications and ongoing training.

Track training requirements for your certifications, including recertification periods, expiries and automated notifications.

Each user can be enrolled in one or more role, and their training requirements are automatically derived!

Create your report profile to give each report a unique name and description, and to set its status.

Create your report profile to give each report a unique name and description, and to set its status.

Export your results to a CSV file for easy data analysis!

Our new Knowledge Base

Knowledge Base Video

Learning Plans

Learning Plans – Detail

UPGRADED! Group & Account Level Reports
Several new features added to our already robust Reporting Suite including the ability to specify visibility levels, and adding email addresses as a custom filter.

UPGRADED! ILT Workscreens
Several new features added to our already robust Reporting Suite including the ability to specify visibility levels, and adding email addresses as a custom filter.

NEW! Quick “User-Add” Feature
Admins or users with the proper permissions can quickly add new users by specifying a minimum amount of information for that new user.

NEW! Automated Group Enrollments
You may now include group courses in SmarterU’s recommended enrollments calculation by enabling the course’s Auto-Enroll setting.

New! Time Zone Support
Specify a default account time zone, and a time zone for each of your users. All dates/times will then be automatically converted to the “viewer’s” time zone.

Store Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, PPTs, images, videos, audio files, zipped files, and more.

Got structured information such as spec sheets? Create templates with exactly the fields you want, including images, tags, etc.

Create folders to organize and group your files, and “drag & drop” files from one folder to another, using our tree view.

ILT Course Workscreen

ILT Session Workscreen

NEW! Quick “User-Add” Feature!
We’re introducing a new way to create users.

Quick User-Add will be available from the Users menu. Watch for it!

Automated Recommended Enrollments
Ever wish you could automatically enroll learners in one or more courses when they are added to a group?

Now you can, with our Automated Recommended Enrollments!

Anti-Harassment
Banking & Credit Union Operations
Business Essentials
Coaching & Counselling Employees
Communication
Competency Toolkits
Customer Service
Desktop Computer Skills
Diversity
Ethics
Finance
Health & Wellness
Healthcare
Human Resources
Information Technology

Leadership
Management & Supervision
Managing Change
Marketing
Motivation & Personal Development
Presentation & Facilitation Skills
Project Management
Safety & Regulatory Compliance
Sales
Social Media
Team Building
Telephone Skills
Time Management
Video Production
Workplace Violence

Anti-Harassment
Banking & Credit Union Operations
Business Essentials
Coaching & Counselling Employees
Communication
Competency Toolkits
Customer Service
Desktop Computer Skills
Diversity
Ethics
Finance
Health & Wellness
Healthcare
Human Resources
Information Technology

Leadership
Management & Supervision
Managing Change
Marketing
Motivation & Personal Development
Presentation & Facilitation Skills
Project Management
Safety & Regulatory Compliance
Sales
Social Media
Team Building
Telephone Skills
Time Management
Video Production
Workplace Violence

Domain

Old IP

New IP

*.smarteru.com  

206.45.45.3

216.55.210.3

elearning-academy.net

206.45.45.4

216.55.210.4

scorm.smarteru.com

206.45.45.5

216.55.210.5

integrations.smarteru.com

206.45.45.6

216.55.210.6

legacy.smarteru.com

206.45.45.15

216.55.210.15

google-apps.smarteru.com

206.45.45.6

216.55.210.6

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