Planning your own Learning Management System (LMS) can seem intimidating – especially if it’s your first time doing it. However, the good news is that there’s no need to feel overwhelmed.
By creating a brief, you’ll be able to decipher some of the key characteristics from the very beginning, forming the basis for key decision-making going forward.
And, if writing a brief has you scratching your head, don’t worry – we’ve created the ultimate guide to writing your LMS brief to help you through this vital part of the planning process, so you can hit the ground running.
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Enter your details to download our free eLearning Platform Brief Template to help you plan what you need out of your own learning management system.
What to Include
When planning your brief, you’ll need to think about three areas that will help form the foundation of your planning; the overview, the learning environment and the infrastructure.
This will allow you to ask yourself different questions within each area, without getting lost within the whole brief.
Here, we’ve summed up what to include in each section:
Firstly, you’ll need to establish a few basics. Think about who your target audience is and how you’re going to reach those learners.
Things to think about:
What is the purpose of the platform? For example, will it be to train staff or educate university students? Are you offering training to other companies, or are you planning to sell directly to learners?
Once you have worked out the purpose, you can then move quite easily into identifying your audience. This is where you’ll outline who the person is that’s going to buy into your platform – whether it’s professionals within the industry field, or perhaps members of the public who want to learn a new skill.
It’s also a good idea to consider at this point how many people you believe will be using the platform, as well as the number of administrators that may be needed. This will help later down the line when you are looking at the infrastructure for the platform as a whole.
Finally, you’ll need to identify, if you already have any kind of learning system in place, how this will fit into your new system and if it will still be required.
The Learning Environment
The learning environment is essentially how the system will actually look to the average user and this section will help you to shape how they interact with it – one of the larger areas of planning in order to move forward.
Things to think about:
Start by asking yourself What will the eLearning content consist of? For example, you may want to use SCORM courses, but also have the option to add videos, and images directly into the LMS, or perhaps include live feeds and webinars.
By using a variety of content types, you’ll be more likely to keep your learner engaged through the duration of the course.
Other areas to consider here would be quizzes, bespoke interactions, downloadable resources, as well as gamification, which is a great way to motivate students and boost memory gain.
Next, you’ll want to consider what content will be included and where it’s coming from, as well as how it will help to structure certain features. It may be that it is coming from your own team, in which case, do you need an authoring tool integration? Or you could be intending to utilise learning resource systems (LRS) or have your learners curate and share their own content. All these factors will shape how your eLearning platform needs to work.
Other areas to clarify here are whether you need to certify your learners (e.g. by producing a PDF certificate or adding them to a certified database of professionals), as well as what social learning features you’ll need for the platform (such as allowing for interaction between students via forums or group activities), and whether you want to personalise the user interface for each student.
Lastly, if you’re planning to sell eLearning to other companies, you may need your platform to have a different look and feel for each client, so don’t forget to note this within your initial planning.
The infrastructure is essentially the back end of your LMS, looking at how it will actually work from an administrative point of view.
Things to think about:
Here, you’ll need to work out if your LMS needs to integrate with other systems, such as your CRM, CMS, calendar or website. It may be that, especially if it’s an open platform to the public, you’ll need to set up a payment system on your LMS as well.
If your eLearning platform is going to become a part of a wider system (e.g. HR system) which requires people to log in, you might decide to implement Single Sign-on, so that learners only need to login once and get access to whole system.
By now, you should have quite a clear view of what your eLearning platform needs to do, and enough information in the brief to now engage a software company and begin looking at LMSs. Sending enough details to potential software vendors will also mean you can rule out any companies which aren’t going to be able to deliver what you need, early on. Don’t be afraid of asking for more than what is offered out of the box, your business is unique, and your eLearning platform needs to work for you.
If you need any help or support when building your brief, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the BuildEmpire team right here.