Published on

March 11, 2024

LMS RFP Template: The ultimate guide to creating an LMS RFP


Marius Vennemann

Managing Director


Learning Hub

Reading time:


FRP Template

When selecting an LMS, a Request for Proposal (RFP) can be very helpful. An RFP allows you to take a structured and transparent approach to selecting an LMS and ensures that you receive a system that meets your requirements. By using standardized questions and clear requirements, you can request and directly compare responses from providers. An RFP helps you make informed decisions by allowing you to compare the features, pricing, implementation details, and support of each offer. In this guide, we will show you step-by-step how to create an RFP for selecting your LMS and provide you with a template that you can use for creating it.

The Ultimate Guide to Creating an LMS RFP

An RFP (Request for Proposal) is an important step in selecting a suitable Learning Management System (LMS). It allows you to clearly define your requirements and evaluate potential providers. In this guide, we will cover the entire RFP process in detail and provide you with a step-by-step guide and a template to help you create an effective RFP.

Demystifying Different Types of LMS RFPs

There are various approaches to creating an LMS RFP. Each approach has its pros and cons and should be chosen according to your individual requirements.

Exploring Different Approaches to LMS RFPs

One approach is to use a general RFP template and adapt it to your specific requirements. This saves time and ensures that important information is included. However, the downside of this approach is that it may not meet all of your company's specific requirements.

Another option is to create a customized RFP tailored specifically to your needs. This may require more time and resources, but it offers the opportunity to describe your requirements in more detail and receive more targeted responses.

Customizing Your RFP to Your Learning Management Requirements

Regardless of the method chosen, it is important to ensure that your RFP is tailored to your specific learning management requirements. A clear, precise, and comprehensive description of your requirements allows potential providers to understand exactly what you expect from an LMS.

Don't forget to also consider information about costs, implementation, training, and support in your RFP. The more details you provide, the better potential providers can respond and create accurate offers.

Another important aspect of creating an LMS RFP is considering current trends and developments in the field of learning management. Technology is constantly evolving, and new features and capabilities are continuously being introduced. By staying informed about the latest developments and incorporating them into your RFP, you can ensure that you select an LMS that meets your current and future requirements.

Additionally, when creating your RFP, you should also consider the needs of your learners. Identify their specific requirements and ensure that the selected LMS can meet them. This may include supporting different learning styles, integrating gamification elements, or allowing for individual customization of learning content.

Your Ultimate Guide to Creating an LMS RFP: Template and Checklist

To help you get started, we have compiled an RFP template and checklist. Our template provides you with a basic structure that you can customize to meet your specific requirements. The checklist helps ensure that you don't forget any important information.

Understanding the RFP (Request for Proposal) Process

Before diving into the details of creating an RFP, it is important to understand the RFP process in general. An RFP is essentially a request to potential providers for information about their solutions and their suitability for your specific requirements.

This process involves 12 steps that allow you to identify the best options, evaluate potential providers, and ultimately make the right decision. Here are the key steps in creating an effective RFP:

The Key Steps in Creating an Effective LMS RFP

  • Identify your goals and requirements
  • Select an RFP team
  • Create a detailed project overview
  • Develop a detailed schedule
  • Conduct a comprehensive needs analysis
  • Weight the LMS requirements
  • Define clear evaluation criteria
  • Create a shortlist of potential LMS providers
  • Prepare and send out the RFP
  • Evaluate the received proposals
  • Invite the top 3-5 providers to a product demonstration
  • Select the best provider

By systematically going through these steps, you can ensure that your RFP is precise, comprehensive, and effective.

Step 1: Identify Your Goals and Requirements for Your LMS

A clear definition of your needs is crucial for a successful RFP. You need to ensure that you understand exactly what you expect from your future LMS and what features and characteristics it should have.

Start by identifying your business goals and requirements. Ask yourself what problems the LMS should solve and what features can help you. Take the time to prioritize your requirements and document them in clear, precise, and understandable text.

Step 2: Select an RFP Team

Selecting an RFP team is a crucial step in the provider selection process. The team should consist of a mix of professionals from different areas, including IT, HR, L&D, and possibly end-user representatives. The diversity of the team ensures that all technical, pedagogical, and operational aspects of the LMS are thoroughly considered. A well-coordinated RFP team is able to communicate effectively, define precise requirements, and make informed decisions. Involving different perspectives ensures that the selected LMS meets the organization's needs and gains broad acceptance.

Step 3: Create a Detailed Project Overview

Creating a detailed project overview is the next step in the RFP process. It serves to clearly define the scope and objectives of the project. This overview includes information such as project goals, expected results, scope of required LMS functionality, technical requirements, and budget framework. A comprehensive project overview helps provide suppliers with a clear insight into the organization's needs and expectations and serves as a guide for creating the RFP document.

  • The following are some questions that should be included in the project overview:
  • How many employees do you have?
  • What industry are you in?
  • How many licenses do you need?
  • What HRIS/HCM system are you currently using?
  • Do you already use a learning platform (LMS, LXP, or similar)? If so, which one?
  • Have you purchased content? If so, from which provider and how many courses?

Step 4: Develop a Detailed Schedule

A detailed schedule is crucial for making the RFP process efficient and effective. This plan should include all major milestones, from creating and sending out the RFP to evaluating the proposals and ultimately selecting the provider. A clear schedule helps keep all stakeholders informed and ensures that the project progresses on time.

Ideally, the RFP should include a specific schedule with dates for the following milestones:

  • Dates for sending out the RFP
  • Deadline for RFP submissions (all RFPs must be returned by this date)
  • Pre-selection of suppliers
  • Product demonstration with shortlisted suppliers
  • Evaluation of suppliers
  • LMS purchase decision

Step 5: Conducting a Comprehensive Needs Analysis

The next step in the RFP process, conducting a comprehensive needs analysis, lays the foundation for the success of the entire project. This involves identifying and documenting the specific requirements and goals of the organization regarding the Learning Management System (LMS). This process includes gathering detailed information about the learning and development needs of the target audiences, technical requirements, as well as desired features and integrations.

A thorough needs analysis takes into account both the short-term and long-term goals of the organization and how the LMS can contribute to achieving these goals. This also includes evaluating existing systems and processes to identify gaps and improvement opportunities. Direct interviews, workshops, or surveys with stakeholders and end-users are used to identify their expectations and preferences.

The results of this analysis serve as the basis for creating the tender document. They help define clear and measurable criteria for evaluating proposals from LMS providers. Careful requirement analysis ensures that the selected LMS is optimally aligned with the specific needs of the organization and makes a measurable contribution to achieving strategic educational goals.

In our model, we have divided the requirements into 7 categories:

  1. Technical Requirements & Security
  2. User, Team Management & Customizations
  3. Learning Experience
  4. Content Creation & Course Management
  5. Skill Management
  6. Admin & Manager Functionality
  7. Customer Support & Services

These categories can help guide the discussion on specific requirements. Once the categories are defined, the underlying requirements can be defined. Below is an example for the Skill Management category:

  • The LMS allows learners to assess and evaluate their skills themselves.
  • The LMS allows managers to assess and evaluate the skills of their employees.
  • The LMS supports functions for managing skills.
  • The LMS enables the assignment of specific career goals for individual development.
  • The LMS comes with a pre-built skill library (Skill Taxonomy).
  • The LMS provides the ability to expand the skill library (Skill Taxonomy) with company-specific skills.
  • The LMS offers AI-based features for creating descriptions and structuring skills.
  • The LMS provides the ability to use multiple hierarchy levels of skills (e.g., Skill, Chapter, Atom).

Step 6: Weighting the LMS Requirements

Once all requirements are defined, they can be weighted accordingly. At the simplest level, three categories are distinguished: not necessary, nice to have, or must-have.

  • "0" - Not needed, functionality is currently not required.
  • "1" - Nice-to-have, functionality is not essential but desired.
  • "2" - Must-have, functionality is essential and required.

Step 7: Define Clear Evaluation Criteria

After the needs analysis is completed and the project overview is created, it is important to define clear evaluation criteria. By establishing clear evaluation criteria, the selection process becomes more transparent and objective.

For this reason, many tenders use clear criteria that facilitate comparison between providers. In our RFP template, providers must evaluate, based on 4 simple criteria, which requirements they meet and to what extent they meet them.

  • "1" - Not supported: Currently not supported and not planned.
  • "2" - Roadmap: Supported in a future version/release.
  • "3" - Customization: Requires development effort.
  • "4" - Standard: Supported in the standard version.

Step 8: Create a Shortlist of Potential LMS Providers

Based on the needs analysis, external research, and the project overview, a shortlist of potential LMS providers is created. This selection should include providers that best fit the defined requirements and goals of the organization. Creating a shortlist helps focus on the most promising options and simplifies the evaluation process.

Of course, don't forget to include edyoucated on this shortlist ;)

Step 9: Prepare and Send Out the RFP

The RFP document is created based on the information collected up to that point and sent to the suppliers on the shortlist. Sending out the RFP marks the start of the formal evaluation process. Typically, suppliers are given a clear deadline for responding to the RFP.

Step 10: Evaluation of Received Proposals

After receiving the proposals, they are evaluated based on the defined evaluation criteria. Evaluating the proposals leads to identifying the best options and usually results in a clear prioritization of the top 3-5 providers. By adhering to standardized evaluation criteria and weightings, you will receive a score for each provider in each category, allowing for the most objective comparison of different providers.

Step 11: Invite the Top 3-5 Providers for a Product Demonstration

After a thorough evaluation of the received proposals and identifying the best options, the next step is to invite the top 3-5 most promising providers for a product demonstration. This phase is crucial as it allows organizations to experience firsthand the functionality and user-friendliness of the LMS options. During these demonstrations, team members have the opportunity to ask specific questions, discuss integration with existing systems, and evaluate the platform's adaptability to their specific needs. This direct interaction provides valuable insights beyond the written proposal and supports informed decision-making. It's a critical moment that helps narrow down the selection to the provider that best aligns with the organizational goals and requirements.

Step 12: Selection of the Best Provider

The final step is to select the best provider based on the evaluation of proposals, the product demonstration, and possibly negotiations. This decision considers both the quality of the proposal and the costs, as well as the provider's ability to meet the needs and goals of the organization. After the selection, a contract is signed with the provider to begin the implementation of the LMS.

In Conclusion: Mastering the Art of LMS RFP

A well-thought-out and effective RFP is the key to selecting the right LMS for your company. By understanding the RFP process, clearly defining your requirements, and creating a compelling RFP, you can ensure that you receive the best solutions. Use our step-by-step guide and template to simplify the process and increase your chances of success. This structured approach allows for thorough evaluation of potential providers, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, and making informed decisions. Furthermore, adhering to best practices such as early stakeholder involvement and thorough research promotes a transparent and collaborative approach to selecting the LMS. In this way, HR managers and L&D professionals can ensure that the selected LMS not only meets the current needs of the organization but is also successful in the long term and contributes to achieving strategic goals.

Explore further with these stories
All posts

edyoucated is funded by leading research institutions such as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).

Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB)