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I’m increasingly helping Not for Profits choose a Learning Management Systems (LMS), particularly since the pandemic began. One study believes the global LMS market is worth over US$15 billion in 2021 with at least a thousand vendors offering more features than I can possibly document in a single article. So, with this many vendors to choose from, what is the #1 criteria for choosing a LMS as a RTO? In my opinion, it’s ensuring there’s local support.

Let me explain why.

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Why local support should be your #1 criteria for choosing a LMS as a RTO

For the more sophisticated systems, vendors will implement their solutions themselves or through partners. As an example, any version of Moodle (i.e. Moodle, Moodle Workplace, Totara) is done via a partner. While others like Canvas, Brightspace and Litmos will do their implementations themselves.

Simpler systems like LearnDash or Talent LMS can be installed by yourself (or via your website administrator). However, you’ll unlikely to be able to capture RTO reporting data as integrations with Student Management Systems are limited.

While you could look for the LMS vendors that have such integrations available, I believe your #1 criteria for choosing a LMS should be to look for local, Australian support instead. Why? Because integrations can be built, but you can’t do the same for local support.

Most of the LMS vendors are from the US where their formal tertiary education is extremely different than in Australia. Those that have local Australian support recognise this difference and have added features and integrations to meet our unique needs here.

Furthermore, with business-critical systems like a LMS, being in similar timezones do matter. There’s nothing worse than seeking support when your system isn’t working and getting a message or voicemail that you’re outside of their normal operating hours.

These are reasons why I will never recommend a LMS vendor to a RTO that doesn’t have local Australian support.

Tammy Ven Dange is a former charity CEO, Not for Profit Board Member and IT Executive. Today she helps NFPs with IT decisions.

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