Blog Post

How to Determine Your LMS Requirements

Dave Sliwinski
April 18, 2024
LMS requirements blog graphic

If you’ve ever created an online course or led a training program, you know that great education takes time and effort. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day—and education teams are stretched thin as it is.

That’s where a learning management system (LMS) can help. An LMS gives you the tools to design and deliver high-quality education at scale. With the right LMS solution, you can build detailed learning experiences faster, tailoring content to the exact needs of your audience.

Sadly, finding the “right” solution isn’t always guaranteed—especially with hundreds of viable LMS platforms on the market. To identify the best choice for your business, you need a strong understanding of your essential LMS requirements.

How exactly do you determine those LMS requirements? Read on, as we explore different criteria worth considering before you choose an LMS.

Functional LMS Requirements

When gauging what to look for in a learning management system, you’ll want, first and foremost, a set of tools that elevates your existing education efforts. From content creation to visual branding, the best LMS platforms help you do your job better and faster.

Here are the most important functional LMS requirements to consider:

Content Authoring Tools

A quality education program starts with quality content. Any learning management system worth its asking price will ensure users can create content with confidence and ease. 

Look for an LMS that integrates with a robust and flexible set of authoring tools. The ideal scenario is a platform with an inline editor—one that allows you to write and edit content, upload images and videos, and rearrange elements in real time.

Here at Intellum, we’ve designed a proprietary content authoring platform called Evolve. Our platform puts 50+ eLearning elements—including tables, flip cards, carousels, and sliders—in the hands of educators, so they can design cutting-edge courses without the coding hassle.

Each element is modular. This means educators can design bits of education piecemeal, and then mix and match those elements based on the needs of a specific course or lesson.


Branding is an essential part of any successful education program. When your educational materials share the same visual identity as your sales, marketing, and product materials, it builds trust with your target audience. Nurture that trust, and it’ll lead to increased loyalty and engagement.

But that’s only possible if your LMS allows you to customize and brand your content. Verify that the solutions on your shortlist let you add your company’s logos, colors, and fonts. Also see if your LMS supports custom code (CSS, JavaScript, etc.), as this will allow your web dev team to fine-tune your branding even further.

Course Organization

Just as important as customization is flexibility—namely, the ability to create courses and organize them however your team sees fit. 

No two people share the same learning experience. Your LMS of choice should allow you to cater to those diverse needs. Seek out platforms that support detailed tagging and taxonomies, so learners can easily search for what they need. Even better if your LMS has logic (either pre-built or customizable) that will serve up relevant content so learners never hit a dead end.

As an education leader or instructional designer, you can only produce so much content in a day. The right LMS lets you repurpose content for various use cases. Deliver that awesome new course as a standalone asset, or incorporate it into an existing learning path. There’s no “one” way to educate, and a great LMS will support that mantra.


Sometimes, education requires a little bit of incentive. This is especially true for mandatory online training—such as security courses or other compliance-heavy learning materials.

Gamification is a wonderful way to turn extrinsic motivation into intrinsic motivation. Look for LMS solutions that encourage social learning and reward engagement, whether that’s through competitive leaderboards, earnable badges, or points to redeem gift cards and other prizes.

Gamification for education has broader implications, too. If your goal is to create a sticky certification with a high completion rate, gamified rewards can help boost adoption and retention rates. The more you offer your learners to participate, the more likely they are to discover the value of your content—and share it with others.


A critical but often under-appreciated LMS requirement is accessibility. If you’re not creating accessible eLearning content that abides by modern web and app standards, you’re not just risking a bad user experience—you’re likely losing out on swaths of potential learners. 

The best learning management systems prioritize accessibility, ensuring your education program is future-proof. Verify that your intended LMS complies with accessibility standards such as ADA and WCAG. Consider asking an LMS vendor the following questions:

Are all elements of the user interface perceivable to learners?

  • Can learners operate all aspects of the UI? Can they do so easily?
  • Is the UI presented in a way that’s widely understandable?
  • Is the content robust? Can it be accessed in a variety of ways (alt text, narration, etc.)?

The above questions probe for what WCAG calls the “Four Principles of Accessibility”: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. Yet accessibility is so much more than just a standard. LMS solutions should go above and beyond—whether by supporting mobile learning, enabling responsive content for a variety of screen sizes, or offering an array of elements (videos, sliders, quizzes, etc.) to engage and entertain audiences.

Technical LMS Requirements

Behind every great front-end experience, there’s the technical wizardry that supplies the magic. Although your education priorities come first, it’s important to factor in the needs of your IT, legal, and engineering teams as well.

From API support to data privacy, here are some technical LMS requirements to consider:


Perhaps an LMS’s greatest selling point is its ability to save time. Many LMS solutions offer a range of Integrations, each designed to connect your education funnel with other parts of the business for faster, more intuitive workflows.

Many organizations connect their LMS to their CRM, such as Salesforce or HubSpot. This allows learning activity to attach to contact records—meaning team members can see how both customers and prospects are engaging with education content. Connecting your LMS to your CRM can also play a role in proving the ROI of customer training, as you’ll have access to retention, opportunity, and education data all in the same place.

That’s just one example. From web conferencing platforms (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) to single sign-on services (Google, Apple, LinkedIn, etc.), seek out an LMS with integrations that naturally align with your organization’s existing software.

Client Support

Many LMS vendors offer client support, but not all service teams are made equal. Does your vendor offer 24/7 support or more limited time windows? Can you call up service via phone, or are your support needs relegated to chat (or, worse, a chatbot)?

You may be willing to make concessions if the actual LMS features are robust. Just remember that roadblocks are inevitable. You’ll likely have questions, no matter how intuitive the product is. Plus, you can learn a lot about a company based on the quality of their service alone. 

API Support

“Out of the box” integrations are great, but sometimes your team requires something a little more customized to your business. Thankfully, many LMS vendors offer intricate APIs (application program interfaces) that allow the platform to communicate with other software APIs.

With the right API knowledge, your developers can create custom integrations that make your work even easier. Of course, this is contingent upon LMS vendors providing detailed API documentation you can learn from. Ensure whatever solution you pick has robust training materials—otherwise, those APIs offer little utility.

Data Security

Building trust is essential to long-term audience engagement. And yet, nothing erodes trust faster than bad data security.

When partnering with an LMS vendor, there’s a degree of risk involved. Sure, you could purchase an LMS that lives locally on a secure server—but that requires IT infrastructure you might not have. Instead, many organizations leverage cloud-based LMS platforms that host data on their own private servers.

To ensure the security of your learners’ data, familiarize yourself with your vendor’s practices and policies. Do they have a history of past data breaches? Does their privacy policy act in service of your audience? Read the fine print before signing off on a shiny solution.

Server Availability

Likewise, you’ll want to leverage vendors whose servers you can rely on. If you have thousands of learners and expect to attract thousands more, it’s critical to have an LMS environment that doesn’t buckle under stress.

Read up on how LMS vendors allocate server bandwidth. If you’re sharing a server with other businesses, ensure you’re getting enough CPU resources to support your education ecosystem. If you’re on a dedicated server, learn the exact parameters of that server. The last thing you want is routine scheduled maintenance to interfere with learners in a certain city or time zone.

(Note: Intellum customers enjoy 99.95% uptime, allowing you endless ability to scale.)

Business LMS Requirements

Beyond your education and technical needs, there’s the rest of the business to consider. Will your LMS help your revenue team generate leads and convert deals? Does it offer analytics that support your business intelligence function? And, of course, is the price right for finance?

Here’s a breakdown of the most critical business LMS requirements:

Gated Resources

If you’ve ever worked on marketing collateral, you’re likely familiar with the tried-and-true gate. It’s the way you identify high-intent leads and guide them down the funnel to closed won. Though effective, gates don’t always make for a seamless learning experience. So, it’s important to find an LMS that treats marketing and education as two sides of the same coin.

Have a customer education program that doubles as a marketing funnel? You’ll want an LMS that allows for account creation and segmented user roles. That way, existing clients can log in to access all content, while prospects may have limited access to courses until they provide their name and email.

If you’re in the business of making content (e.g., you’re an online magazine or marketing agency), you can even use your LMS to implement a paywall. Design the courses or articles that you intend to sell, and then offer that education either via a subscription or a la carte.

Native Emails

Once you have learners in your ecosystem, you’ll want to keep them engaged. Consider an LMS that lets you send out emails based on certain criteria. For instance, you could trigger a celebratory email when someone completes a certification. Or, you could send a nurture email to users who haven’t engaged with any content within the last six months.

You’ll also want to track success. Make sure any LMS platform with email support also allows you to dig into metrics like delivery rate, open rate, and click-through rate. That way, you can improve your email campaign efforts over time and ensure you’re helping the learning experience—not hindering it.

Reporting Dashboard

To improve your education efforts beyond email, you need to measure actual content performance. Many LMS solutions offer detailed analytics, offering a window into completion rates, learner satisfaction, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and other education metrics

Intellum offers detailed data tracking with our Intellum Insights add-on. Create content, then monitor performance within the same platform. Drill down into specific filters—such as audience, content topic, or learning style—and get the data you need to prove ROI and propel your education program forward.

Pricing and Packaging

Last, but arguably most important depending on who you ask, we have the cost of the LMS. Modern learning management systems run the gamut in terms of price. Most are designed to scale alongside your business—meaning you pay based on headcount or usage.

There are exceptions, of course. Some LMS platforms may offer different pricing tiers based on feature set, with add-ons available for purchase. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your finance team to determine which platform offers the most value for your dollar.

Additional Factors to Consider When Choosing an LMS

Still not ready to choose an LMS platform? Here are a few additional ways to narrow the search:

Consider the Change Management

Adopting a new LMS might mean leaving an old one behind. A successful LMS migration requires time and effort, so once you decide to make a change, you need to commit.

It sounds daunting—but there are ways to mitigate risk. Ask your LMS provider for an implementation plan, so you can understand the lift involved. Perform an audit of your existing education content, and create a list of your highest-priority items. Transfer that content to your new LMS first, then gradually migrate other education assets whenever your team has bandwidth.

Consider Your Audience

“The client knows best.” It’s a popular saying for a reason. When you understand the needs of your audience, you can develop education that caters to those specific learner personas—and achieve greater outcomes than if you were to treat your audience like a monolith. 

When your education platform caters to multiple audiences, your business benefits. That isn’t an opinion—it’s based on actual data. In our 2022 Examining the State of Organizational Education Report, we found that companies that catered to multiple learning audiences experienced improved employee and client retention, as well as increased revenue.

Consider a Demo

You won’t find the perfect LMS platform overnight. Thankfully, it doesn’t cost anything to sign up for a demo or trial, and most organizations are more than happy to give you a product tour. 

At Intellum, we get that demos are daunting. That’s why we’ve created an on-demand demo that lets you experience our platform at your own pace. We also offer live demos if that’s your fancy. Check out either option here.

Get Clarity on LMS Requirements With Our Free RFP Template

Need additional help aligning on the right LMS requirements? Download our free LMS requirements checklist, and we’ll equip you with 180+ questions to ask vendors—so you can purchase with confidence.

About the Author

Dave Sliwinski headshot
Dave Sliwinski
SVP Solutions Engineering
Dave Sliwinski has over 20 years of experience in the software services industry and managing LMS platforms and L&D programs. He joined Intellum in 2016 and serves as Intellum's SVP of Solutions Engineering, a trusted source of technical product expertise and platform best practices for clients and prospects.