With more than 700 learning management system (LMS) solutions in the marketplace, choosing the right one can be downright intimidating. How does one even begin to understand which LMS best meets the needs of your organization? What bells and whistles are critical to developing, maintaining and growing a successful learning program?

While this undoubtedly varies from organization to organization (depending on size, revenue, membership base and program goals, among many other considerations), the professional education experts at Tagoras have taken on the task of simplifying the process into seven critical steps. Community Brands was lucky enough to participate and contribute our own insights into the selection process, along with Tagoras’ Celisa Steele, during their recent webinar, “LMS Selection: Mastering the Process, Avoiding the Pitfalls.”

Steele suggests starting by identifying and clarifying objectives, and by asking what opportunities you’d like to take advantage of, and what problems you’re trying to solve. This helps you avoid focusing your energy on what an LMS could do and instead on what it must do.

Steele says objective setting is also important in the vendor selection process: “If you articulate your objectives and share them with potential technology partners, then vendors can understand how to position their solution and what to focus on during discussions and demonstrations. And that, in turn, makes those vendor discussions and demonstrations that much more valuable to you,” she says.

There are also major pitfalls to be aware of when embarking on the selection process. In each case, these pitfalls pose an enormous risk to your investment and set the stage for dissatisfaction. Common pitfalls include poor integrations with other systems, poor support for effective marketing, as well as poor support for administrative processes.

In fact, according to our 2017 Member Professional Development Study, only a third or fewer of association professionals are “very satisfied” with their current technology, with much of the angst revolving around administrative processes, such as the ability to run reports. In addition, more than 40 percent of respondents cited difficulty tracking education completions, credits and certifications, as well as challenges around maintaining multiple certification programs. Examining these processes from the get go as part of the selection process is essential to finding the right system or systems and avoiding frustration.

To learn more about mastering the selection process, check out the Tagoras Resources page. And don’t forget to take a look at our LMS guide, “The Professional Development Guide to Microlearning.”