Learning Management Systems is a common term found in beginner’s guides, eLearning articles as well as tip sheets. The common use of this term makes it essential to know what it entails and its benefits.
A Learning Management System is a software application that is used for the documentation, tracking, reporting, administration, automation and delivery of educational courses, learning and development of programs or training programs. In simple terms, this software application enables you to create, deliver and report on programs and training courses.
These systems are designed to identify training and learning gaps using reporting and analytical data. These systems are centred on online learning delivery, but, they support a range of uses.
Most times, a Learning Management System operates in a web-browser, behind a secure sign-on process. This feature offers students and instructor easy access to courses on-the-go. Thus, enabling leaders and administrators to check student progress and make improvements.
Functions of Learning Management Systems
The role of a Learning Management System is dependent on the organization’s objectives. It is also dependent on online training strategy and the desired outcomes.
A Learning Management System helps to deploy and track online training initiatives. Normally, assets are uploaded on this software. Thus, making the assets easy to access for remote learners. This role is the most common use of the Learning Management System software.
Sometimes, the Learning Management System comes with built-in eLearning authoring tools. These tools enable you to develop online training materials without extra third-party software.
Organizations make use of Learning Management Systems instead of traditional training to train their employees. This is because it engages learners to generate, distribute and track employee training.
Who Uses a Learning Management System?
You might be wondering who the Learning Management System is for. Well, the simple answer to this is, anyone who is involved in delivering training. An LMS is a great tool which helps to make the processes involved in delivering online training a manageable task.
Benefits of Learning Management System
The Learning Management System comes with mind-blowing benefits and so the increase in the rate of its use nowadays. These benefits include:
1. Helps to organize and safely store big data
The Learning Management Systems enables you to gather all big data in a location. Thus, making it easy for you to maintain and update your learning materials. Also, the advanced encryption feature that comes with most of this software helps to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.
2. Offers varieties of training methods
The learning management system allows you to choose varieties of training methods. You then use the most suitable one for the subject matter or situation. That is, you get to choose from different media types, assessments, on-demand content, as well as blend live to the needs of your business.
3. Personalizes the online training experience
With the use of an LMS, you can assign different online training resources or learning paths for individual corporate learners. This feature helps each learner to get the individualized online training needed for their job duties, learning goals and other criteria.
There is another feature which is the option to unlock navigation. This enables corporate learners to choose their online training activities and coursework; all these results in improved memory retention and engagement. This feature gives more effective online training experiences and higher learner satisfaction.
4. Enhances eLearning accessibility
Information is readily available nowadays due to the digital age that we are and with the advent of smartphones and wearable tech. Easy access to information makes modern learners expect online training resources on demand.
Learning Management Systems is thus one of the tools that help to meet the need of modern learners. This software allows you to deploy and track online training courses without geographical limitations. With this tool, corporate learners can expand their knowledge and hone their skills as far as they can log in to the system.
5. Monitors Learner’s performance and progress
All most all Learning Management System platform come with built-in reporting and analytics. This feature of the software enables you to track different aspects of your online training program.
It is possible to buy add-ons or plug-ins to boost the functionality of your Learning Management System should, in case it lacks enough reporting capabilities.
With this system, you can track everything from learner engagement to eLearning assessment results. Thus, you can identify patterns and trends as most of the systems offer data visualizations like charts and graphs.
Learning Management System makes laborious tasks like organizing the training, notifying learner, enrollments as well tracking completions becomes automated.
That is, the system enables you to add learners automatically, enrol them in the suitable courses, roll out exams, give certifications and also access reports. Thus, you get enough free time to proceed with more important tasks.
7. Centralized training
The use of a Learning Management System allows for centralized training as your course content, data and training materials are put in one handy place. This enables your learners to access courses without stress. It also enables you to deliver consistent and effective training to everyone across your organization.
8. Enhances resource allocation
The learning management system platforms help you in many ways to divide training resources effectively. It helps you to identify the aspects of your training that are not meeting expectations. For example, low learner engagement usually denotes that you need to reevaluate an online training activity or module.
The ability to deploy online training resources on a global scale is another benefit of an LMS. That is, the use of this single tool gives you the capacity to keep corporate learners up to date.
Features of a Learning Management System
There are varieties of LMS available on the market which cater to various use cases and organizations. Each Learning Management System has a different feature set.
Thus, it would be best if you found the LMS that satisfies your need and benefits both your corporate learners and bottom line.
But, some important and basic features are often referred to as the standard. A typical Learning Management System should have these features. These features are:
1. Creating courses
The Learning Management Systems typically enables you to either create courses; you create courses by uploading each module or upload your pre-existing training courses. You are also allowed to upload training material in document, video or audio formats into the system. You then get to arrange the order of the course.
Moreover, an LMS enables you to create quizzes, surveys and examinations within the system. This helps you to gather feedback and assess learner’s performance.
2. Reports and Analytics
This is one of the key features of a learning management system. This feature enables you to check your online training initiatives. Thus, making you able to determine if your training is on target or need minor adjustments.
Also, the reporting system of your LMS allows you to know if corporate learners are engaging with your online training content. You know if your learning platform is giving the learners all the information they need to achieve their learning objectives.
The analytics feature of the Learning Management Systems enables you to track online training on individual and group level.
3. Responsive design
A responsive LMS is a great tool for your online training. Online training resources that are multiplatform-friendly offer everyone the opportunity to gain from your online training course. Thus, the need for a responsive Learning Management System that allows you to create a master layout with distinct breakpoints.
Automatically, this system shows the most appropriate version of the online training course based on the learner’s device.
4. eLearning Assessment Tools
The Learning Management System should be able to support a wide range of eLearning assessment methods. This feature helps you to periodically access your corporate learners to identify gaps and intervene when needed.
5. Gamification features
Some employees or learners need extra incentive to engage in your online training course. For people like this, game mechanics supply them the motivation they need in the form of leaderboards, badges and points.
To meet this need, your Learning Management System must come with built-in gamification features. This feature will enable you to incorporate these rewards without stress.
6. Social Learning Support
This provides corporate learners with the opportunity to interact with peers and share their experiences.
Thus, a Learning Management System should feature an integrated social media tools. This includes the ability to incorporate news feed. Or track online discussion participation in your eLearning course design.
An essential entity for organizations that plan to deliver worldwide online training resources is multilingual support. This feature helps all the members of your team to have the same chance to develop their professional skills. Thus, an LMS should have this feature.
As earlier said, you should know your organizational and training objectives before selecting a Learning Management System. This factor is essential because LMS vendors cater to different consumer groups. Some are for their sales online training features, while others specialize in e-commerce.
Types of Learning Management Systems
There are different types of Learning Management Systems that organizations can choose from. Below are some of the types:
1. Individual Learning Management System
This is a suitable system for an individual or small organization to produce various learning materials. This type of LMS provides few or all the features available. But, it limits the features to what an individual course producer needs.
Most times, LMS vendors provide different subscription plan to meet different need. With this, a small organization can use the LMS for its needs at a reasonable price.
2. Enterprise-Grade Learning Solution
This type is particularly customized for a large company with 500 or more employees. Most times, it comes with a huge list of built-in features to meet any needs that are required by the company.
3. Free Learning Management System
These are free, open-source eLearning products suitable for individuals to build courses for their learners. Many of these free systems offer a big list of available and advanced level features.
The demerit of this type of LMS is that they lack the level of support which some users are used to. Moreover, you need knowledge on how to deploy it, or you hire an expert to do that for you.
4. Commercial Learning Management System
This type for the use of any organization, a university or college or any other educational primary organization. It is easy to deploy and offers 24/7 support. The level of required features determines its price tag.
Most of these commercial platforms need frequent updating. But, they also offer an increasing list of available features. Thus, with this type, you can be sure of always using the most modern hi-tech eLearning solution.
5. Service as a Software model
This is the most popular model for a Learning Management System. This type is a ready-out-of-the-box solution and so easy to deploy. It is usually cloud-based and also includes frequent free upgrades.
Even though it can be a bit limited in customization, it is a perfect choice for an organization that is growing as it is scalable over time. It comes with technical support throughout its use period.
6. Licensed Product
This type offers ultimate customization, customer support and reliability for its users. It is flexible and built to each customer’s specifications (this may take some time). Implementation is done when the organization chooses, but updates may take longer.
This type is hosted on a secure off-site. It allows its users to access the product using a different computer and mobile devices, also, by offline means using an app.
It is much more scalable than the installed version. Also, it comes with many of the most popular features which learners expect.
8. On-premise Learning Management System
This is built on a stand-alone product. It is a licensed product which is built and installed to the organization’s specifications on the server of their choice.
This type can be limited, so, it requires you to use several servers on a big scale. The installation of on-premise LMS maintains corporate and user data on a very secure basis.