A Learning Management System (LMS) can take a bite out of your online training budget, but when using an LMS to its maximum capability, the benefits always justify the investment. By incorporating an LMS strategically you can realize measurable training ROI and immediate cost savings.
In today’s economy it is essential for organizations to implement an LMS holistically so that it is aligned with existing IT infrastructure (ex. Student Information Systems, ERP, HRIS, etc.) but also for different users and their behaviors, resulting in a positive effect on your bottom line.
With both Moodle, Totara, and other commercial LMS platforms, you’ll still need to pay for hosting, support, training, and content one way or another. However, as Moodle is open source, you “own” your own Moodle code base whereas commercial systems never provide 100% ownership; you can only buy a license to run the proprietary LMS software. That said, cost savings immediately come into effect when using Moodle since there is no cost to run the software and you only pay for the support to run the Moodle LMS at your institution.
It’s also important to note that it is difficult to find an LMS that is a perfect out-of-the-box solution for all college types/sizes or companies. But Moodle allows organizations to adapt, extend, or modify the LMS with over 1,400 plugins to customize the platform to meet specific needs, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a robust system at a lower price point.
Regardless of the LMS being used, there are certain ways to ensure that you are using your LMS to its fullest potential, allowing you to maximize the effectiveness of your eLearning and your overall LMS ROI.
Here are 5 tips/areas of focus to help you get the most out of your LMS investment:
1. Mobile & Accessibility – Learn Anywhere, Delivering an Accessible End-User Experience
Students need to access the LMS at their convenience, so it is essential that institutions have a mobile learning strategy for all their students. A learning platform also needs to be able to deliver online courses with accessibility in mind so that the content that is being delivered on mobile devices is flexible in meeting different users’ needs, preferences, and learning styles. Accessible course design also ensures 508 compliance, which means avoiding a potentially heavy fine for content that doesn’t meet today’s accessibility requirements.
Accessibility and a strong mobile strategy are two methods that can increase usability for all learners. It’s a simple fact: if a system is convenient and easy to use, then more people will use it – and a healthy adoption rate is integral to the success of your eLearning programs and outcomes.
2. Administrators & Infrastructure – Save Time & Money by Utilizing Integrations
This is a big potential benefit that a lot of colleges and businesses tend to overlook. Learning Management Systems should always integrate with your important secondary systems whenever possible, including the Student Information System (SIS), HRIS, or any other existing IT systems that are already being used at your organization.
Integrations, often deployed in real time, can cut down on costs and save your team time by automating processes that were once done manually, allowing you to say goodbye to manual data duplication and hello to more time for your faculty/employees. When all IT systems are synchronized, workflows become more efficient and thus cost-effective.
3. Faculty & Adoption – Increased Utilization = Better Experience, Buy-In to Ensure High LMS Usage
Faculty or employee adoption says a lot about the quality of education that is being delivered through an LMS. Getting buy-in from these users is essential to creating an effective eLearning program, which is a common area where institutions and companies can struggle.
Oftentimes, the underlying issue for low adoption of an LMS is a lack of familiarity with the system, which can be solved by hosting training sessions for faculty or training managers. Identifying instructors who have low usage across the LMS and inviting them to an LMS training session to show them the ropes can lead to increased confidence in the system and thus increased utilization.
Unified high-level adoption across your institution or company encourages a pervading culture of learning that results in improved educational outcomes.
4. Users & Reporting – Gauge How the LMS is Being Used & Where Improvements Can Be Made
Reporting is the most basic way of measuring the learning success of users, with data that can be pulled directly from the LMS. Any capable LMS should offer numerous reports and analytics to assess learners’ activity and progress, faculty adoption, as well as what materials are being used (and which aren’t), allowing you to identify areas where you might be able to improve your educational program.
For example, some higher education institutions struggle with retention. By utilizing the learning analytics found within the LMS, these institutions can identify students who might be at risk of failing a course or completely dropping out of college. With the ability to closely monitor student progress, instructors can take preventive action to make sure students are getting the hands-on help they might need before it is too late. providing institutions with a tool to increase retention rates. The valuable learning data recorded in the LMS provides institutions with a tool to increase retention rates, which is a leading way to maximize your LMS ROI.
5. Partner vs. Self-Hosting – Software & Services: Expert Moodle Partner or Just Code-Base
LMSs are typically hosted in the cloud with a service provider. Using Moodle allows you to self-host or receive support through an authorized Moodle Partner. If you have chosen a proprietary closed-source LMS partner, then only that company can host your LMS.
When hosting with an LMS partner it means you will not be sinking money into IT support for your infrastructure and LMS personnel. Those expenses can add up. Housing and maintaining your own servers and hardware can become costly when you combine that with the digital support that the IT team will need to provide if you keep the training in-house.
At the end of the day you want to make sure that you have chosen the very best service provider. To understand what type of service you’ll be receiving, ask these questions:
- What’s your average response time and resolution time for support ticket?
- Do you have client references similar to our company/institution that we can talk to?
- What type of support do you provide (ex. Tier 1, Tier 2, etc.)?
- What training options are available for faculty, admins, etc.?
- Are Student Information System (SIS) or authentication integrations available? Are they real-time?
All in all, these 5 tips or focus areas are just a few of many variables that will affect the cost, effectiveness, and the measurable ROI of your LMS instance.
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