As more nursing programs and health professional organizations incorporate online and blended learning to offer learners/staff a modern learning experience, selecting the right learning management system (LMS) becomes key. Implementing an LMS is an important investment, and there are a growing number of choices available on the market, so making the right decision up front about the system and vendor can make the difference between the success and failure of a project.
When evaluating an LMS for the delivery of nursing/healthcare learning content, consider taking this approach, with some key considerations:
Prior to embarking on an LMS project, conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of your learning approach to develop a baseline.
Consider a Modern Learning Approach
Nursing educators need to be innovative, stimulating and engaging as they teach tomorrow’s professionals. Online learning should go beyond simple dissemination of slideware content. It should incorporate the best of modern learning technologies, from interactive discussion forums, quizzes and polls to video and other multimedia assets to real-time notifications and alerts that keep learners on task.
Outline Your Strategy
Are you offering online programming or blended learning options? Who governs decision-making with respect to the LMS and its implementation? Do you have specific tools or integrations that are required for people to be successful with the LMS? What is your deployment strategy and onboarding plan for faculty, learners and staff? Do you have in-house expertise familiar with modern e-learning course design? Will the LMS support multiple programs and healthcare disciplines? Do you envision using the LMS for the professional development of staff in addition to the teaching of undergrads?
All are key considerations when selecting the right LMS platform and vendor for your health professional school.
Determine Size and Fit
Your LMS choice should fit with the size and scale of your institution. Consider the size and distribution of your student population, your hosting requirements, industry familiarity, requirements for flexibility, analytics demands, and, of course, pricing fit when making your choice.
Other Core LMS Capabilities to Consider That Are Specific to Healthcare
- An LMS with a proven track record and excellent references
- A financially stable, established vendor (preferably with experience in the healthcare sector)
- A hosted environment
- The ability to track learner/staff participation in both online and face-to-face educational initiatives
- The ability for learners/staff to self-register for face-to-face activities
- The ability for learners/staff to easily launch web-based content
- Vendor support to create online learning content and the ability to support multiple authoring formats
- LMS support for competency-based education models allowing faculty to assign activities, track and measure progress, and report on learner progress and mastery
- Integration with healthcare e-content providers
Getting Ready to Evaluate An LMS? Here’s a Handy Prep Checklist
As your institution prepares to evaluate various LMS options, here is a handy preparatory checklist to guide you in your decision making. This checklist can be useful for internal communication to bring stakeholders (faculty, staff, students) onboard and to frame out vendor communications or your RFI.
- What are the primary goals for this project?
- Goal 1
- Goal 2
- Goal 3
- What is the timeline for selection?
- What is the timeline for implementation
- Who are the stakeholders involved in this decision?
- Stakeholder 1
- Stakeholder 2
- Stakeholder 3
- What are the qualities and characteristics that define a good vendor relationship?
- Quality 1
- Characteristic 2
- Quality 3
- Characteristic 4
- Have you spoken to other users of the LMS under consideration?
- Reference 1
- Reference 2
- Reference 3
- Is there an opportunity to partner with health professional institutions on a broader, collaborative LMS implementation?
- We are freestanding.
- We operate within a healthcare alliance.
- What is your current learning model?
- In the classroom only
- If in the classroom only, do you intend to move to an online or blended learning model in the next 6-13 months?
- How would you describe your institution’s learning focus?
- Practical training
- Theoretical foundations
- A mix of both
- Do you have specific hosting requirements for your LMS solution?
- How many users will you be supporting with the LMS?
- Staff (admin)
- Staff (clinical)
- Does the system have the ability to support simulation?
- Does the system provide features for ongoing assessment of learner progress?
- Does the system provide analytics at the staff and faculty level to track learner progress, identify learning gaps and predict performance?
- If using the LMS for staff professional development, can the LMS support staff access to the system from other healthcare campuses?
- What key metrics do you track today or would you like to track with the help of the LMS?
- [Metric 1]
- [Metric 1]
- [Metric 1]
- [Metric 1]
Selecting the right LMS is a big decision and a big investment that needs to be navigated with care. D2L’s team can help guide you.