What to ask when procuring a new learning technology

Buying a new learning technology can be a monumental task. There are a world of different options and understanding them can be rife with technical jargon. From xAPI to LXPs to VR, we cut through the acronyms to give you five questions to ask when looking to purchase a new learning technology. 

Who is using the technology?

While it might seem like an obvious question, you can divine a great deal of information from just asking who is going to be using the technology. You will have learners, certainly, but what about their trainers? Think about how all the users will interact with the new technology. Does the technology prioritise user experience and accessibility? How will your learners interact if they are not neurotypical or able-bodied? 

Now, let’s consider managing staff. How are managers going to monitor their team’s progress through mandatory training? They might need access to reporting tools as well. Are these inbuilt? Who should be able to create their own ad-hoc reports? Can managers see their own learning and their team’s learning in distinct areas?

What about the L&D administrators, the people who will be managing the technology? You might want to discuss with potential vendors what kind of access those mission critical users will have, and what capabilities they will be given to troubleshoot potential issues. What kind of logging does the technology offer for information security and problem resolution? What training will administrators receive and what options are there for them to increase their expertise over time once the system is in place?

What kind of learning are we doing? 

Different kinds of learning will require different kinds of learning technology. For mandatory and compliance training, you likely want to explore a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Totara Learn. If you’re planning on transferring compliance training between institutions, you could explore the power of an xAPI Learning Records Store. 

Looking for more hands-on training? Why not explore Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR)? (Sounds gimmicky? We bust some myths about VR). You can also use an LMS to allow your trainers to assess training done on-the-job. 

How are we preparing for the future?

Like we discussed in the previous section, what kind of learning technology you purchase will be influenced by what training you are planning on delivering with it. However your needs today may not be the same as your needs tomorrow, or next year, or even next decade. You’ve probably thought of how it would be ideal to engage a product and vendor that you don’t have to replace every few years. This is possible when flexibility becomes a priority. 

Understanding the nature of the software is important. Is the code well structured and extensible to meet your needs without costing a fortune for upgrades? Is it open source? Will the system understand the data you want to import into it, and are the data formats it exports understandable by other systems?

Take a moment to consider the content that you’re delivering to learners. If you’re looking for a Learning Management System (LMS) or other similar system, it’s worth asking how you will manage updates in content. Especially in fast moving fields like healthcare and government, knowledge changes rapidly, so take a moment to consider how you will manage it. Learning Content Management Systems can give you the support you need to deliver up-to-date content.

What kind of support do we need?

If you’re looking to purchase a learning technology, it’s likely you will be at least somewhat involved in its management and administration. So, it’s worth discussing with your vendor what kind of training they provide, and how they give you autonomy.

Who can you contact when you need help and what are their scheduled hours? Do they have expertise with the software you’re using and your particular use case? Will they support only the technology or your integrations as well? 


You’re never alone when you’re deploying learning technologies with Androgogic. Our Service Desk team is available for extended hours during the week and open on the weekend as well.