Selecting the Right Learning Technology Vendor

The learning technology landscape continues to evolve at a breakneck pace as organizations struggle to keep up. Responsive/adaptive design, collaborative tools and other technologies have matured and are now staples in the learning ecosystem. Just a few years ago, the learning technology budget had only one item — the LMS. Now companies must consider if they need an LMS, an LXP, an LCMS, authoring tools and/or a host of other niche technologies.

The need to deliver more relevant, contextual learning experiences means that organizations must totally rethink what learning technology means to them. The traditional approach of classes and courses is not doing enough to keep up with the demands of the business or the needs of the modern learner. As a result, companies are looking to invest in new tools and technologies that can make their strategy a reality.

Only 41% of companies say they are either satisfied or very satisfied with their current primary learning technology. The same percentage says they are either satisfied or very satisfied with the provider that offers the technology. These results show virtually no improvement over the past few years.

These poor satisfaction rates drive many companies to seek new technology solutions and providers that can better meet their needs. In fact, 42% are actively looking to replace their learning technology, which is no small feat given all the things that go into the technology selection and migration processes. Organizations should invest more time and energy into the selection process, so they don’t find themselves looking for new technology year after year.

  • What is the business case for the learning technology?
  • What are our requirements?
  • What use cases are we trying to address?
  • What are our integration needs?
  • How do we evaluate providers?
  • What is our change-management plan?

Selecting learning technology can be a daunting task, especially since the market has expanded into vast array of genres, subgenres and add-ons. However, whether looking for entry-level technology or a replacement for an existing solution, there are steps an organization can take to make the process easier and more likely to produce better results. In any scenario, it is critical to evaluate not just the technology, but the provider-organization.

• Build the Business Case. Identify how technology can make learning faster and easier to develop, deliver and measure, and define how that impacts the business. If switching from an existing platform, identify any areas where the current solution is lacking.

• Identify Requirements. It is important to be specific about what your learning technology must include to move the business forward. Start by creating a list of realistic must-have functionalities.

• Create Use Cases. Develop roles and scenarios detailing how users will interact with the system to accomplish tasks. If applicable, examine how your current solution falls short and investigate how prospective vendors handle similar situations.

• Focus on Integration. During requirements-gathering, an overview of the systems that must integrate with the technology should have been identified. Prioritize those integrations and test them separately rather than plugging everything in at once.

• Manage Change. A solid change-management strategy provides a path to the future, whether it is moving from a paper-based process or switching from a legacy system. In most cases, change-management begins at the leadership level and requires strong communication with the employees expected to use the system. Communicate early and often.

• Evaluate Providers. Use scripted demonstrations to see how a provider approaches your unique use cases. Generic demos blur providers’ differences and make your decision more difficult. Reach out for references for more information about working with the provider. Also, be sure to identify the support levels offered.

Complimentary Download: Bridging the Diversity and Inclusion Gap Between Intent and Reality (KnowledgeGraphic)

The events of 2020 increased the importance of D&I as a business driver but many organizations lack the leadership and accountability that come with other business priorities. Organizations whose D&I efforts are led by senior leaders are far more likely to have sophisticated, strategic approaches.

Bridging the Diversity and Inclusion Gap Between Intent and Reality


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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.

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