It mightn’t look like it from the outside, but not all learning management systems (LMS) are created equally. To truly understand how a solution could work for your business, you need to look under the hood. You need to get a demo.
An LMS demo should give your team the opportunity to:
Preview the features: While you’ll find a list of LMS features on most vendor websites, the demo should enable you to see how they work at both basic and advanced levels.
Get a feel for the platform: How those features are structured and laid out will have a crucial impact on the user experience. A good demo should give your team a sense of how easy-to-use the platform is.
Ask questions: The best demos allow you to speak with an expert in-depth. You should use this opportunity to dig past the standard information on a provider’s website. Ask questions to help you decide if the LMS meets your specific requirements.
Define your evaluation criteria
Before scheduling a demo, you should know what you need an LMS to do. By prioritizing your specific requirements, you can score and evaluate the LMS’s performance after the demo.
Think about timing
The timing of an LMS demo is important. To benefit, you’ll need to do some research first. Schedule a demo too early, and you risk wasting time considering a platform that you should have ruled out.
Make a shortlist
After your research of 5 to 10 LMS platforms, request a demo with the top 3 to 4 systems that best match your requirements. That will include enough to thoroughly explore the market while still keeping the process manageable.
Know what each demo entails
Demos vary hugely in length, from a three-minute overview video to an hour-long session with an expert. Make sure you’re comfortable with the length of the vendor’s demo, and what will be covered in the session, before you commit.
Track your demos
Maintain a spreadsheet that tracks important details, like the names of shortlisted vendors, if they offer a demo, the date the demo was requested, the date the demo is scheduled for, and a column for notes that you can use to assess your findings.
Consult the right team members
Most vendors allow you to invite as many team members to the demo as necessary. If you’re migrating from a complex system, or the platform you’re evaluating requires a long implementation phase, invite a team member with technical knowledge of your existing systems to join.
It’s also important that the main LMS administrators buy into the new platform’s functionality and workflows to ensure adoption and successful rollout of your new LMS, so get them on the call too.
After the demo
Most LMS vendors will provide you with a free trial; you should use the trial to put the LMS through its paces. Test out your workflows, add some users, create and run a pilot course. Testing the LMS is the only way to really know if it will work for you. In fact, making the most of trial access is key to confidently selecting your new LMS.
Download The LMS Buyer’s Guide
Are you on the hunt for the best LMS for your business? Download our eBook, The LMS Buyer’s Guide, and discover how to confidently invest in a learning management system to reach your business’s learning goals.