How to get the most out of your Learning Management System Demo.

If you are looking at investing in a Learning Management System for your organisation you would have seen countless websites offering amazing features and functions.

A number of the systems will have similar features and functions, like reporting or policy or document management, but how do you differentiate between them all. Well, the answer is to organise a demo of the systems and compare.

A demo is an essential step in the selection process. But not all LMS demos are what you think. This article will cover how you can level the playing field and get the most out of your LMS demo.

Why Demo?

This is a very straight forward question, why do you need to invest your time in undertaking a demo of a system when you can just get a free trial.

The answer to this is you could get a free trial, its quick, easy access and you can spend your time investigating the solution. The problem arises when you may be slightly unclear on how a function or feature works or you are not sure about how you would connect the solution to other systems.

This is where a demo has the value, it provides you with the opportunity to ask questions, get a guided tour, understand how it works and ultimately see if it is the right solution for your organisation.

Different types of Demonstration

A Learning Management System Demo means many different things to many different people. At My Learning Cloud, we believe that a demo should be a personal experience, tailored to your needs and requirements.

However, you could book into receiving a demo but get something totally different.

In the market today there are a number of approaches to demonstrations when you see the word Demo on a provider’s website it could mean:

  • A face to face meeting

  • A pre-recorded overview video

  • A blanket tour of the system

  • A generic presentation with a sales deck

  • A personalised demonstration to highlight how the system can deliver your requirements  

What a demo does and does not include will determine how useful it will be to your selection process. It is important to ask the question from the outset of what “type” of demo will they be providing and you can then make the judgement call to if it is worth your time.

What a demo should and should not be.

A demo should be personal, fact-finding and consultative. It should not be a sales meeting by another means. There should be some qualification undertaken by the provider prior to providing a demo to ensure they can tailor the demo to your requirements. They should know your business prior to any demonstration.

A demo should never be just a blanket walkthrough of a system, ignoring your pain points and requirements. There is value in receiving a comprehensive walkthrough but only if that is what you have asked for. It should focus on what you need the system to deliver for you, key areas that will add real value and difference.

Do not be afraid to stop a demo and ask for the focus to be on what you need it to be.

Also, do not be afraid to ask questions throughout the demo, it helps both parties as it allows you to gain the information/answers you need and it allows the provider the opportunity to show the capabilities of the LMS in answering your questions.

Preparation is key to a successful demonstration.

Preparation by both the provider of the LMS and yourself is critical to a successful demonstration. The provider needs to undertake research on your business, how is it structured? What do you do? What features and functions do you want to focus on?

As the recipient of the demo, you also need to prepare, define your requirements, involve the right key stakeholders into the demo if needed and most important of all, have the time to be present in the demo, be clear on what you need the LMS to achieve for your organisation, what does success look like?

If both parties prepare then the demo will be far more successful, it will provide real value to you and the provider of the LMS. It should be clear by the end of the demo if the LMS is the right solution for you.

However, there are some steps you could follow post the demo to help you further if needed.

After the demo

So you have asked all the questions, seen the capability of the LMS and understand the pricing structure. However, as with most things in life, after the event, you may have more questions or would like the opportunity to now explore the LMS yourself.

This is absolutely fine, ask the provider as many questions you need, it is in their interest to answer them, to evidence how their LMS can provide the answers you seek.

Typically at My Learning Cloud, we provide access to our elearning course catalogue after a demo for an organisation to explore and share across their business to ensure that our courses also meet their requirements. We also provide demo accounts to the LMS itself.

Now, if you are going to ask for these tools, make sure you use them, allocate some time in your diary to explore every corner of the LMS and courseware.

The LMS provider will be super keen to hear your feedback on the demo and the LMS itself, they will email and call you until they get their answer, so to solve this, simply provide a date and time suitable for you for them to contact you.

By Steven Embleton, Chief Cloud, My Learning Cloud

Released 16 April 2019