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Ten things to consider when choosing your LMS partner

schedule 16th January 2018 by Hannah Gorton in Virtual College Last updated on 24th April 2018

Colleagues in meeting with tablets

As the learning management system (LMS) market continues to grow from $5.19 billion in 2016 to a predicted $19.05 billion in 2022, picking the right LMS partner is getting considerably more difficult. As the market grows, the range of LMSs available continues to grow, making it even more difficult to choose the right system for your needs. On average, organisations have been using their LMS for two to four years with 49% using their system for two years or more and 5% for over ten years. This shows that it’s important to make the right decision, as organisations are likely to stay with their current provider for several years. So, where do you start? We’ve provided ten things to consider when choosing your LMS partner:

1. Think about what you want to achieve

What do you want to get out of your LMS? Do you want to use if for training purposes, compliance tracking, staff job roles and achievements? The potential uses are limitless, so it’s always best to have a fixed idea of what you need right at the beginning – anything else can be seen as an extra.

2. Assess your technical needs

This needs to be considered from two perspectives – firstly, how do you want the LMS to integrate into your current business? Do you want an on-site option with complete installation into your current set-up or would you prefer a cloud-based option hosted outside the business and accessible via the internet? The second perspective is how you think your staff/learners/etc. will access the information you put on the LMS – will they want to use their mobile devices or will they access the information on desktop only?

3. Decide what features are need to have vs nice to have

Building on what you want to achieve, start familiarising yourself with the standard features and functions that LMSs have – such as minimal set-up, fully responsive systems, course builders, events, translation, etc. – then decide which are essential for your needs.

4. Prepare for the future

A key aspect is to ensure you’re always considering future business needs or possible changes and whether the chosen LMS solution will be able to meet these needs on an ongoing basis. For example, do you anticipate a growth in your business? If so, is the LMS solution scalable and reliable enough to match this growth?

5. Review the experience your chosen LMS vendors have

Find out all you can about the vendor – ask about their experience, background or any previous businesses they have worked with. Check their website for customer reviews or case studies detailing how they’ve helped customers in the past. More than that, look into who the vendor are and how they operate on a day-to-day business – do their values align with yours? Remember, purchasing an LMS is a long-term investment meaning you’ll be working with your chosen vendor for at least the next two years.

6. Find out what support services the LMS vendors offer

LMSs can be complex, so having support as and when you need it is essential. Does the company offer 24/7 support? Do the vendors have a support team who are able to catalogue and troubleshoot any issues you might find in the future? Find out about what support services the LMS vendor offers to ensure you have access to help when you need it.

7. Review your content needs and whether they can be supported

If you want to use your LMS for training purposes, then you may need to consider what type of content the LMS can run. Are the vendors knowledgeable about the content aspect – such as content standards and authoring tools – or are they solely focused on the LMS? Ask for more information about the types of content their LMSs will store and run, so you can be sure any training you have will run smoothly.

8. Ask about the product roadmap

As you may know, the e-learning industry is constantly evolving at a rapid pace so it’s essential to ensure your chosen vendor is keeping their LMS up-to-date. Find out how often they release new features, whether there are any costs involved in upgrading and if there will be downtime during upgrades. Looking into their past releases and plans for the future can also help to show what resources they’re investing to improve their offering.

9. Assess security and storage of data

Security is an increasingly important issue, especially with the impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force in May of this year, so one of the key things to consider is what level of security the LMS vendor can provide. Poor security or storage might lead to severe consequences for your organisation, so it’s always best to research the vendor’s past reputation and ask pertinent questions – only then can you decide whether to trust them with your business.

10. Ask for a demonstration or free trial period

Finally, to ensure you get a feel for the LMS and whether it has the right features for your organisation, ask the LMS vendor for a free trial or a demonstration so you can see it in action.

At Virtual College, our modern, user-friendly LMS – Enable – can support up to two million learners. Cloud based and fully responsive, Enable can be accessed on any device from anywhere with an internet connection. For more information on the features and future development, and how Enable can fit with your business needs, get in touch.

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Hannah Gorton Author

Author: Hannah Gorton

Hannah is a content writer for the marketing team at Virtual College. She has a degree in English literature and writes articles and blog posts for a range of topics within the learning industry. In her spare time she enjoys reading, knitting and gaming.

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