You don’t need a lot to develop an LMS system. Yet, it doesn’t mean you’ll end up creating a good LMS system. To make sure you’re better than your competitors in eLearning market, you need to pay close attention to some details before you even start writing the first line of your code.
What Is LMS?
Learning Management System (LMS) represents software (mostly web-based or cloud-based) with its main purpose being to administer (i.e. to manage) educational programs or training courses. LMS does everything that a regular educator would do: it manages the delivery of the essential data to learners, as well as the assessment of their progress and home assignments. It can be implemented in various ways, depending on objectives and resources of the company that has decided to deploy a course for their employees. Thus, implementing LMS may involve courses led by trainers in real time, peer-to-peer assignments, various files for reading (relevant articles, books, documents etc.), recorded lectures that are available online 24/7 etc.
LMS does miracles for companies who take it on for placement, compliance or other training that are crucial for developing employee’s competencies. The magic trick can be explained simply: LMS makes those trainings more cost-effective than ever before. As courses take place online, there is no need to bring together trainers and trainees; besides, an online course can be taken on any day and at any time. It is faster and as convenient as never before.
That’s what LMS embodies and what it should be. And that’s the reason why the corporate demand for LMS is skyrocketing.
4 Factors To Consider Before Starting Development
Before you even start looking for developers or engaging investors, you need to consider the following four things to make your development as cost-effective and productive as it can be.
If you choose to develop your LMS in the USA, prepare to pay your developers from $65 to $150 per hour. Yet, you can get the same quality at a lower cost by hiring developers from Latin America ($30-$50 per hour on average) or Eastern Europe ($20-$40 per hour). Asian countries, especially India, look quite attractive too with hourly rates $18-$40 on average.
Although, don’t opt for a cheaper option if it’s of lower quality: that would only harm your final product.
Besides, when it comes to LMS, you need your software to be understandable to the end users. That kept in mind, you need to choose the language of the interface depending on the target group. And make sure you hire a native speaker to proofread it, as there is nothing more frustrating than a bad translation.
Type Of Development
You have two options: taking open code and building upon that or designing an LMS solution from a scratch. There are many ready-to-use and open-software LMS solutions, and they may look attractive. Yet, a custom solution designed from a scratch is better on oh-so-many levels, from being tailored to the company’s needs and not having excessive features to integrating it seamlessly with the company’s software environment and fitting it perfectly into the workflow.
If you need to create an app for Android and iOS, that would bring additional costs to the table. Same goes for choosing between a web-based or cloud-based solution, as well as for the scope of required features. Once you have this figured out, you can define your technology stack. All of this influences what competencies the members of your team must possess and the time frame of the project. And that can drive up or decrease development costs.
As we’ve emphasized above, opt for quality, not a cheap price tag. If you fail to do so, the cost of cleaning up the unprofessional developer’s mess will be higher than the costs you had cut.
Be precise about who you need and what competencies should be up their sleeve. Everything depends on how well you understand who you need, from the application’s architecture to its design and user experience.
Apart from hiring developers with suitable competencies, there is one more choice to make. Are you going to engage only in-house team or you’re going to outsource/outstaff? If you’re outsourcing/outstaffing, what is the expected ratio of your in-house team to the online one?
How To Start Smart
Identify Your Objectives
If you want a “new Moodle”, you’ve already lost to your competitors in the market. As in any market, the competition is cutthroat.
Understanding what you are creating LMS system for is the key to formulating the unique selling point of your product. That means that you need to understand your target group’s needs. Then, you need to figure out how to satisfy those needs. Only having done that, you can move on to the next step.
Analyze Your Assets
Evaluate what resources you have now and what assets you are going to need in order to develop your LMS. Assets that are available now already set budget and time restrictions, as well as help you prioritize what features you have to include in your final product, and what features are optional and can be added after deployment. This step is the key to making your project realistic.
Create A Detailed Project Scope
Projects may start as ambitious ideas. Yet, if you don’t structure what you want to accomplish and how you are going to do that, you are bound to fail. All your thoughts, ideas, and needs must be put into documentation. Think of all the features that you’d like to have in your LMS system. Then, go back to the assets you have or can obtain. Now, scratch those features that are too costly and are not vital to the concept of the system. Create detailed architecture, identify what frameworks should be used to develop the system.
Beware The Hidden Costs
The biggest hidden cost that you should aware of is the cost of low-quality labor. As we’ve mentioned before, if you opt for a cheaper rate instead of high quality, you will end up spending more editing the code and fixing bugs.
Don’t forget to consider the costs of hosting your ready-to-use system on servers, as well as investing in developing the software that wouldn’t crash under a huge workload.
Calculate other risks and evaluate what is cheaper: preventing those risks from becoming reality or reacting to the unfortunate events as they take place.
The Bottom Line
Beginnings are always tough and exciting at the same time. The way you plan your project defines the quality of the final product. Make sure you consider wisely the location, type of development, technology stack and developers on your future team. Besides, be precise about your objectives and assets, and write down your project scope in perfect details. Don’t forget to make sure you consider hidden costs and calculate risks. Good luck in your endeavors!