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How to prepare an LMS RFP template

Our comprehensive guide on preparing a Learning Management System RFP includes a free, downloadable template.

Free LMS RFP Template – LearnUpon

Choosing the right learning management system (LMS) will have a huge impact on your team’s learning curve and growth. But with so many options, how do you pick the one that’s going to best serve your business? This is where a well-crafted RFP comes in, breaking down what you need (and why) so that different LMS providers can tell you exactly how their platform will deliver on it. The key term here, though, is well-crafted. An RFP that doesn’t do a good job of presenting what you need from an LMS will cost you time, money, and more than a few headaches.

To help, we’ve put together a straightforward guide and template that will make writing your RFP simple and clear. With it, you’ll be able to focus on choosing the best possible LMS for your needs without getting lost in the process.

What is an LMS RFP?

An RFP is a packaged document you’ll send out to potential providers in an organised, detailed way. It will give them a snapshot of what your company is about, the learning project you’re embarking on, and what you’ll need from an LMS to meet your training needs and business goals. It’s a call for providers who believe they can meet your specifications to step forward with their proposals, detailing exactly how their particular platform will do that against the specific needs you’ve identified. With various submissions in hand, you can then accurately compare these solutions side by side to confidently choose the LMS that will best fit your organization’s objectives.

Why Do I Need an LMS RFP?

Writing an RFP is about pinpointing what your team truly needs from an LMS. It’s how you get really clear – for both yourself, and for any platforms you choose to reach out to – on what you need from a learning solution. Going way beyond just standard features and price, an effective LMS RFP will help you find a system that handles your unique challenges, can be tailored to your company’s learning culture and goals, will integrate smoothly with any other tools you use, and make learning accessible wherever your team is. Done right, the RFP process will help you:

Clarify what you need

Drafting an RFP isn’t about listing features and having someone tick them off—it’s about figuring out how each part of an LMS can help your team learn and grow better. It’s taking a good look at what you’re aiming to achieve with your training programs and making sure every need is covered and articulated. This turns a wish list into a clear set of must-haves.

Engage at depth

The heart of your RFP is about initiating meaningful conversations with potential providers, putting the focus on how they’ll address your unique learning needs and challenges. By directly comparing how each LMS aligns with your specific criteria, you open the door to productive, clear, outcome-oriented conversations. When presented with completely tailored solutions, you’ll be able to see which platforms are truly capable of supporting your organization’s learning goals and culture. And, which are not.

Identify long-term value

It’s crucial not just to consider the immediate benefits of an LMS, but also its potential to support and adapt to your organization’s future learning strategies and technological needs. A well-crafted RFP will help you find an LMS that offers scalability, flexibility, and the capacity to integrate with evolving tech trends. This focus ensures that your chosen platform will remain a valuable, strategic tool over time.

Communicate real business value

Being clear on the ROI you expect from deploying an LMS in your business is crucial. The RFP process will help you state the tangible benefits you expect (things like enhanced compliance, faster onboarding, and greater learner engagement), and paint a clear picture of the expected outcomes (like lower training expenses, higher productivity, or better retention). This will help underline the LMS’s strategic importance to CFOs and stakeholders.

Get what fits 

Ultimately, this is what it’s about. Your RFP is a call for solutions that fit your unique situation—whether that’s catering to a wide range of learner needs, integrating with your current tools, or anything else that’s crucial for you. It asks providers to confirm that their LMS is going to do exactly what you need, when and how you need it to.

Essential Elements to Include in Your LMS RFP

To develop a comprehensive LMS RFP, make sure it covers these crucial elements:

Project summary

Include a clear, concise overview that introduces your project. Highlight the main goals and what you’re hoping to achieve with a new LMS. This summary is your elevator pitch to providers, giving them a quick but comprehensive view of your aspirations and requirements.

Company and project overview

Here, paint a clear picture of your business—the people, the vision, the values, and the specific learning challenges you aim to overcome with an LMS. Discuss how the LMS fits into your broader educational strategies and how it’s expected to address existing gaps or inefficiencies in your training programs.

Detailed learning objectives

Include detail on the specific outcomes you’re targeting with your LMS. Describe how these objectives align with your overall educational goals, whether it’s improving course completion rates, fostering a more engaging learning environment, providing better employee onboarding, or facilitating career development pathways. Be clear about the metrics or benchmarks that will mark success.

User roles and permissions

Explain the structure of your LMS user base, detailing the different roles and what access each will need. From administrators who’ll manage the platform to learners who’ll engage with the content, outline the permissions for each role to ensure the system supports every potential user’s needs.

Technical specifications

Outline any technical requirements that will be needed for your LMS to seamlessly integrate into your current ecosystem. Be clear on things like feature priorities, any must-have integrations, compliance with security protocols, and adherence to industry standards. Highlight any unique technological challenges your company faces that the LMS should address.

Integration and compatibility

Catalog the tools, systems, and software that the LMS must be compatible with. Whether it’s syncing with existing HR systems, supporting SCORM or xAPI for content interoperability, or integrating with third-party apps, specify these requirements to ensure the LMS can function within your existing tech framework.

Future-proofing requirements

Consider not only your company’s immediate requirements, but also its ability to scale, adapt to emerging technologies, and flex and shift with changes in learning culture. You need to be sure that the LMS you choose can support you long-term.

User experience and accessibility

Emphasize the importance of an LMS that’s intuitive and accessible to every potential user, regardless of their technical skill level or physical abilities. Outline your standards for a user-friendly interface, compliance with accessibility guidelines, and any specific features that will make the LMS inclusive.

Support and training for administrators and users

Specify the level of support and training you expect from the LMS provider. This includes onboarding assistance, ongoing technical support, and training materials available for both the administrative staff managing the LMS and the end-users engaging with it. Clarity in this area is crucial for a smooth rollout, adoption, and on-going engagement.

Vendor information

Ask providers to give you detailed information about their company and platform. This includes their history in the market, team size, customer portfolio, awards or recognitions, and a comprehensive overview of their platform’s features, functionalities, and limitations. This insight helps gauge their reliability and compatibility with your project needs.

Fleshing out these elements in your RFP does more than just fill space—it paints a comprehensive picture of what you need, ensuring the proposals you get back hit the mark.

Now, let’s get you started on your LMS RFP

Armed with these insights and a clear understanding of the key elements in an effective LMS RFP, you’re ready to get started on preparing your own. With our comprehensive (and free!) template, including a guide for getting the most from it, you’ll come out with an RFP that communicates exactly what you need from the LMS providers you want to hear more from.

Let’s move you from planning to action – download the template now, read the guide, and shape up an RFP that will help you level up the learning opportunities for your team.

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