For working professionals, juggling between job commitments and personal time can be extremely challenging. Online learning is an ideal balancing act. Especially during the time when most of the world is operating from the

confines of their homes fearing the pandemic, online courses are a necessity. To upskill while on the job, to stay up-to-date with the new techniques, e-learning offers the convenience of time and space. 

To hone the skills of its employees and utilize their maximum potential and enhance productivity, companies are investing in e-learning and Learning Management Systems (LMS platform). But as we start looking for online courses, there are over 600 providers and platforms in the market. Most times, you are spoilt for choice and often confused while choosing the best online learning platforms. Companies also have the task of choosing the most commercially viable option to fulfil their organisation's learning needs. 

Here, we have made a checklist of things that you might want to consider before zeroing in on an online education provider. 

1. Understanding the learning objectives

It is important to lay down your learning goals and objectives. Once we are clear and specific about what we would like to achieve at the end of the course, we can evaluate and check what the content provider has to offer. Also, if you are an organisation, it is better to have a provider who can offer both the course and the LMS together. LMS can provide learning tools to manage training and development, enhance learner engagement and build a sense of community. By having the same provider for both, you could save a lot of time and effort on course content adaptation and customization. 

2. Look for a technologically advanced provider

E-learning solutions are beyond lectures, animations, videos and study materials. It is a virtual learning experience. To start with, they need to have a friendly user interface, navigation and functionality; superior responsiveness on all devices including laptops, tablets, iPads, smartphones and PCs. They must have an around-the-clock customer support system to tend to all your queries. Also, knowledge-based support in terms of help guides, step-by-step demonstration videos for system installation etc., are always a great way to check how they value the customers. 

For organisations - The LMS admins and Training & Development (T & D) executives should have unhindered access to the extensive online library of the service provider. This way, they can choose the courses for every employee requirement. Further, they should have access to the statistical data such as course reports, performance analysis etc., through which they analyse and recommend additional online training. 

3. Choose a reputed service provider 

Go for a credible and reliable learning environment. Do your homework about the industry expertise and clientele of the content creator. Read up reviews about the provider from authentic sources. Look for their association with global educators and the period since when they have been operating. Speaker profiles are crucial as it indicates their proficiency and directly impacts the quality of the course material. Look for a high degree of gamification for enhanced interactivity and engagement in virtual classrooms. 

4. Check the pricing

The pricing model varies from vendor to vendor. Also, the parameters for such pricing could be different. A few LMSs apply feature-based pricing, while a few others require the course payment at the time of registration and others put limits on the way content is consumed. We suggest you do thorough research on the plans available - yearly subscriptions, monthly plans, per-user pricing, lifetime licensing, batch discounts/ referral discounts etc. It is essential to ensure there are no hidden charges or there are well-laid cancellation charges. Although the cost of the course is a critical factor to consider, the other things attached to it include the value it offers, quality of the course, ease of use and how it helps achieve the learning objectives. 

In essence, when you have made up your mind to take your career to the next level, do whatever it takes to realise your dream. But a little prudence can make the whole learning experience an enriching one.