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Proposal Guidelines: Learning
Management System


The following is a recommended -- albeit, not complete -- list of considerations for a learning management system. While a request for proposal should be carefully developed by your district's purchasing department, it is hoped that these guidelines will aid your development of an RFP.


  • The system specified has an architecture that supports scaling to the number of staff members in your district.
  • The system(s) specified supports the student information system used by your District.
  • The system is web-based.
  • The system includes secure, encrypted web-based access for staff.
  • The system(s) specified is able to connect Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) data sources.
  • The system allows for the local hosting of the data and the LMS application.
  • The system provides data import and export capabilities in non-proprietary formats (e.g. CSV)
  • Application provides for the import of pre-existing staff development schedules and staff data.
  • Application offers an interface with other external professional development components and existing third-party proposer software applications.
  • Application provides sharable content object reference model (SCORM) or web standards compliance, as well as allowing the easy addition of non-SCORM compliant resources (e.g. multimedia presentations, web pages, video clips in Flash,AVI,WMV, MOV,MP4 formats).
  • Comprehensive documentation, both hardcopy or PDF, and online help, containing program features and software support is provided.
  • Technical support hotline is available from 8:00am-5:00PM, Monday through Friday.
  • Technical support hotline is available through a toll-free telephone number.
  • An after-hours technical support point of contact is available for urgent situations.
  • The system supports web-based access for retrieval and input with web component running on Microsoft Internet Information Server or Apache web server.
  • Application is password protected using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security.
  • The system is designed and coded to be 100 percent a 32-bit client/server.
  • The system supports and allows the use of convention Cut/Copy & Paste functions, with or without the use of a mouse.
  • The system does not require specialized in-house maintenance, operating personnel, or network engineers.
  • The system implements a "plug-n-play" method of installing only the desired module(s).
  • The system is fully integrated, with all modules sharing a common database.
  • The software is able to execute on and take advantage of, i.e. make use of all available processors, on a multiprocessor server.
  • The system is Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) compliant.
  • The system provides an audit trail of all data changes.
  • A printable or exportable audit trail report is available of all data changes.


  • The system(s) specified allows the establishment of learning paths that school district staff can follow.
  • The system(s) specified provides a multi-level approval path for approving course request (e.g. Faculty member requests a course, principal is the fist level of approval, area superintendent is the second level, etc. until final approval).
  • Application provides the ability to determine, in summary fashion, daily attendance for a multi-day class, e.g. 3-day class, some individuals only attend two of the three days. That information is needed in a report and data file format.
  • Application does not allow entry into a course when the maximum number of students in a call is reached, except by manual override.
  • Application provides automatic and manual scheduling of staff development requests in accordance with course offerings.
  • The system provides for automatic notification of staff development session status.
  • The system provides assessment and reporting tools for staff development offered.
  • The application's printing module provides for pagination of all printed materials.
  • The system provides for automatic notification of staff development session status.
  • Application provides for centralized administration and management, as well as scheduling.
  • Application provides -- or allows for -- interfacing with an online forum (e.g. Moodle) for synchronous/asynchronous courseware.
  • Application provides for displaying web-based catalogs and printer version.
  • Application provides class data by participant's name or number in a viewable or printable format.
  • Application allows participants to see where they are, what they are registered for, and how much they have completed in relation to their learning path goals.
  • Application allows for facilitation and tracking of face to face and virtual sessions.
  • Application provides for email notification of cancellations, scheduled reminders of upcoming staff development, and other user-defined events.
  • The application supports alpha, numeric, and special character grades, within the same system.
  • The program screens are customizable with the district logo.
  • The system must include access to setup options for all modules in one common setup screen, no matter which modules are installed.
  • The system allows the user to access the participant maintenance module without leaving the grade reporting area, or exiting the main system.
  • The system allows the ability to search for participant by name, ID, or employee #. The system provides participant demographic information.


  • The system has the ability to print all reports in black and white.
  • The system has the ability to print all reports to a printer or to an ASCII file.
  • The system allows reports to be customized, selecting only the data elements needed, and excluding others.
  • Reports are customizable with the District logo.
  • The system allows the user to sort printouts by name range, data range or course range.
  • The system allows the user to enter/modify the headings on reports.
  • The system has the ability to pull all certifications for a student.
  • The system is capable of creating PDF files.


  • The proposer provides best practice approach(es) for varied implementations and applications.
  • The proposer provides an evaluation design for measuring implementation integration and use.
  • The proposer outlines an implementation plan.
  • The proposer outlines a district advertising plan for LMS.


  • What kind of infrastructure is required in the district for your product to operate successfully?
  • What is the minimum available network bandwidth for your product to operate?
  • What operating system requirements are mandated by your application for Intel-based computers?
  • What are your system's browser requirements?
  • How many simultaneous connections can the LMS support?
  • Is the product server-based?
  • How is management of user accounts handled?
  • Can the district use a third-party reporting tool to query the product databases?
  • Can participants search for specific learning resources?
  • Can participants register themselves?
  • How do participants know if a class is available and if their registration request is accepted?
  • Can participants monitor their own progress from a self-service interface or central page to see where they stand in regards to training?
  • Is there an easy way to add external documents to the participant portfolio?
  • Can system access be based on organizational hierarchies?
  • Does your product provide a facility for pre-training and post-training assessment?
  • Can your product be used to maintain the mapping of skills to jobs and competencies to training?
  • When using those mappings, can your product identify skill gaps?
  • Will your product record and track various professional certifications?
  • Can the catalog mix online with instructor led training?
  • How are instructors added to the system?
  • How are facilities (training locations) added to the system?
  • Does your application automatically identify conflicts and issue warning notifications to participants? Administrators?
  • How many standard (pre-defined) reports are available within the application?
  • Will the district have the right to reprint all manuals/training materials associated with this system without additional cost to the district?

About the Author

As director of instructional technology for a large urban district in Texas, past president of the state-wide Technology Education Coordinators group in one of the largest U.S. technology educator organizations (TCEA), Miguel Guhlin continues to model the use of emerging technologies in schools. You can read his published writing or engage him in conversation via his blog at Around the Corner.

Miguel Guhlin
Education World®
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