What is a learning management system? A thorough guide on using LMS for business
Keeping employees and partners educated and informed is of critical importance for organizations across various industries. One helpful way to do this is by using Learning Management Systems. In this guide, we’ll explain what LMS are, how they work, as well as their uses, benefits, and features. We’ll also look at popular LMS options and discuss the pros and cons of using them or creating a custom solution. Knowing about LMS can help you decide the best way to use them in your organization or launch an LMS startup for the use of other companies.
What is a learning management system?
A learning management system (LMS) is a user-friendly software that helps create and manage educational content for different users. What is a learning management system, you ask? At its core, an LMS provides a fundamental platform that allows administrators to upload educational materials, deliver lessons, send notifications, and share information with approved users. It lets organizations train their students or employees more effectively.
LMS can be hosted on company servers or in the cloud, making them easy to access from anywhere through secure sign-ins. This makes it simple for students or employees to access the content, while admins can keep track of their progress and implement enhancements as needed.
What is LMS software capable of?
LMS can vary from large setups for many students to smaller ones for employee training. For example, a company can use an LMS to teach its sales team about a new product launch by creating slides, quizzes, and certifications. Employees can access the course and earn a certification upon passing the tests.
The LMS tracks every participant’s progress, and admins can check who completed the course. Online learning, while not a substitute for classroom education, offers valuable remote learning experiences with the right content. An LMS is a cost-effective way to deliver and assess learning for a large audience in various locations.
For example, this is how we see what a learning management system is. Our designers have recently created this concept of an LMS for various courses.
The online platform boasts a comprehensive dashboard that includes learning statistics and active courses. Users can see a well-organized timeline with lessons that facilitate seamless navigation through the content.
What is LMS software used for?
Let’s have a quick look at where these systems can be used:
Customer training. An LMS can ensure new users are effectively onboarded to get the most value out of software and technology products. This helps to enhance customer experience and loyalty.
Partner training. By providing access to valuable information and resources, organizations can strengthen their partnerships and elevate their programs. Furthermore, LMS platforms enable member training, fostering engagement, and delivering centralized content to maximize membership benefits.
Employee onboarding. Companies can employ these systems to help new hires adapt faster and become productive members of the workplace. Additionally, an LMS supports employee development and retention, enabling organizations to manage and enhance their talents and keep them informed about product changes and compliance requirements.
Compliance training. LMS platforms assist businesses in ensuring that employees complete the necessary training and maintain certifications, thus minimizing risk and potential compliance issues.
Student training. Educational institutions often use LMS to deliver online courses, manage student progress, and facilitate communication between educators and learners.
Nonprofits also can implement an LMS to train volunteers, provide resources, and increase the efficiency of their programs, while government agencies can use an LMS to streamline staff training, ensure regulatory compliance, and keep employees up-to-date on policies and procedures.
What are the LMS software benefits?
A study conducted by Brandon Hall Group reveals that over half of the companies that have implemented learning technology experienced enhanced productivity and engagement. Moreover, almost all of these businesses noticed a more robust connection between learning and their overall performance. In other words, it means a huge potential audience for a new LMS solution and a great opportunity for startups to take their place on the market. Let’s dive into the benefits that learning management systems provide to organizations:
Organizing learning resources
LMS platforms help store and manage various learning materials in one place, making them easy to access and simplifying teaching and content management.
Switching to learning management systems can save money by reducing paper use, shortening in-person lessons, decreasing travel, and lowering the need for physical classrooms. Updating content also becomes less expensive, as there is no need for costly reprinting and distribution anymore.
Flexible and accessible learning
What is LMS software especially good at? The answer is in providing a flexible and accessible way of learning by allowing users to study at their own pace, from anywhere, and on a schedule that works best for them.
Custom learning experiences
Yet, LMS platforms can be tailored to individual learners, thanks to unique learning paths, adaptive techniques, and personalized feedback for more engaging and efficient studying.
Better collaboration and communication
As a rule, these systems come with communication and collaboration tools that connect learners, educators, and trainers from different locations and time zones, allowing them to exchange opinions, seek advice, and motivate each other.
Improved learning outcomes with analytics
LMS platforms have analytics tools for tracking learner progress, helping instructors make data-driven decisions to improve content, delivery, and assessment for more effective programs.
Learning management systems allow for growth by easily expanding offerings, trying and exploring new teaching methods, and adding content and features to serve the growing learning community better.
What are the LMS software core features?
Course creation and management
This one is about creating and organizing educational content for training programs. Creating courses involves using different types of content like texts, videos, and audio files. A good LMS makes it easy to build and arrange course content.
Course management, in its turn, focuses on organizing courses and sharing them with learners. It includes adding users, giving them access to courses, setting deadlines, and tracking progress. By understanding what a learning management system is, course administrators can create custom learning paths for each learner, making their experience better and helping them learn more effectively.
Social features help improve the learning experience by promoting interaction between learners. They encourage sharing, discussing, and working together on course materials.
Here’s the list of the LMS’s social features:
- Notifications: Learners get alerts about new materials, assignments, and announcements.
- Messaging: Learners can chat with instructors, peers, or groups, making it easy to share information and solve problems.
- Discussion forums: Platforms let learners ask questions and talk about course topics with each other.
- Content sharing: Learners can share articles, resources, and more with their peers.
- Peer feedback: Learners can review and learn from each other’s work.
- Social media integration: Learners can connect their LMS with social media to share achievements and engage with the content.
- Gamification: Adding badges, points, and leaderboards helps motivate learners and promote collaboration.
Tracking and assessment
Tracking and assessment features help keep an eye on learners’ progress and test how well the training works. These features make it easy to see what’s working and what needs to be improved.
Important tracking and assessment features include:
- Progress tracking: Learners and administrators can see how far people have come in courses and assignments.
- Assessments and quizzes: There are different types of tests in the LMS, letting people check their understanding of the course material.
- Pre-course assessments: These tests help figure out what learners already know, so the right courses can be assigned to them.
- Reports and analytics: Detailed information about learner performance helps administrators understand what’s working and what needs to be fixed.
- Certification tracking: The LMS keeps track of required training and certifications for learners.
- Skill gap analysis: Assessments help find areas where learners need more help and adjust the courses accordingly.
What is a learning management system without eLearning standards like SCORM and xAPI? These standards ensure that course content can be used across different systems easily. They also help track learners’ activities both online and offline.
An LMS should also be accessible to everyone, including users with disabilities, by following guidelines like WCAG 2.1. Moreover, it must protect user data by complying with laws such as GDPR in Europe and FERPA in the United States.
Integrations help an LMS work smoothly with other tools, making it more efficient and easier to use. Important integrations include:
- HR systems and CRMs: Connecting the LMS to HR systems or customer relationship management tools helps keep user data and training records up-to-date and organized.
- Single Sign-On (SSO): SSO lets users log in to multiple applications, including the LMS, using one set of login details, making it more convenient and secure.
- Content authoring tools: Integrating with tools like Articulate or Captivate helps create and manage course content easily within the LMS.
- Webinar and video conferencing tools: Connecting the LMS to tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Webex allows live training sessions to be managed within the LMS, improving remote training.
- API and Zapier connectivity: API or Zapier integration lets the LMS work with other applications and services for better automation and customization.
Using AI in an LMS greatly improves the learning experience with smart, customized, and data-driven solutions. AI helps tailor learning, fill in knowledge gaps, and boost training effectiveness.
Examples of popular learning management systems
What is LMS software 360Learning? It’s a platform that focuses on collaborative learning experiences. It integrates social media-like features to encourage interaction and engagement among its users. It allows course creators, administrators, and end-users to collaborate, create, and share content as well as provides real-time feedback.
Blackboard Learn is a well-known LMS platform used by various educational institutions, businesses, and government organizations. It offers comprehensive tools for course management, assessments, grading, and reporting.
Desire2Learn, also known as D2L or Brightspace, is an LMS platform that offers personalized learning experiences and robust analytics tools. It can be used not only by schools, colleges, or universities but also by businesses.
Sakai LMS is an open-source platform that is widely used by secondary and higher education institutions. It enables users to build custom interfaces and provides collaboration tools, assessment features, and content management capabilities. It is a community-driven project with a robust support system from educational institutions worldwide.
Docebo is a cloud-based LMS platform for businesses that offers advanced AI technology for an enhanced learning experience. What are the LMS software functions? It provides features like user management, monitoring learner progress, and course content creation. But what is more important, it has seamless integration capabilities and supports mobile learning, thus catering to the remote workforce.
Custom LMS development vs using existing platforms
When it comes to learning management systems, entrepreneurs have two primary options: using existing platforms or building their own from scratch. In the nature of things, both approaches have advantages and disadvantages.
- Faster implementation: Existing LMS platforms are ready-to-use, enabling quick deployment and allowing users to access courses immediately.
- Lower initial cost: Most LMS platforms offer various pricing plans, which could cater to different budgets. No upfront development costs are required.
- Technical support: Established platforms often provide customer support and regular updates.
- Proven track record: Existing platforms have been used by other organizations, which means they have a proven track record of meeting users’ needs.
- Limited customization: Existing platforms may not offer complete flexibility in terms of customization, which could be a constraint if a company has unique requirements.
- Potential integration issues: Integration with third-party systems or tools could be challenging and may require additional effort or resources.
- Vendor dependency: Using an existing platform may lead to dependency on a third-party vendor for updates, support, and platform scalability.
- Complete customization: Building a platform from scratch allows for complete control over the features, functionalities, and navigation, aligning it with the entrepreneur’s specific needs and preferences.
- Seamless integration: Custom development enables seamless integration with existing systems, tools, and processes to ensure a cohesive software ecosystem.
- Branding and differentiation: A custom-built platform can be tailored to reflect the company’s unique branding and identity, setting it apart from competitors.
- Long-term cost savings: Although the initial development cost may be higher, a custom-built platform could result in long-term cost savings as there are no recurring licensing fees.
- Maintenance and support: Development companies usually provide ongoing support and maintain products after the release, fixing bugs and adding new features.
- Higher initial cost: Custom development requires a larger upfront investment in terms of resources, development costs, and time.
- Longer development time: Creating an LMS from scratch takes more time compared to implementing an existing platform.
For entrepreneurs with unique requirements, specific branding needs, or a desire for complete control over the platform, custom development may be a better choice despite its initial cost and more extended development time. A custom-built LMS allows for the tailoring of functionalities, seamless integration into existing systems, and long-term cost benefits.
Entrepreneurs may choose existing platforms if they seek a quick, cost-effective solution with ready-made features and available customer support. What are the LMS software benefits? This option is ideal for those with standard requirements, limited budgets, or time constraints. Before deciding, entrepreneurs should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, considering their specific needs, resources, and objectives.
There’s also an option for startups to build an LMS solution for businesses and monetize it. In that case, entrepreneurs should do market research, come up with a workable idea and develop the product with a focus on users’ needs.
If you need any help with designing and developing a learning management system, you can contact us to get a vision of your future product, as well as a cost and timeline estimate.
I’m interested in building a custom LMS
Learning management systems have changed how organizations teach and train people, with many benefits like saving money and improving learning. As more businesses work remotely and need to keep learning, using a good LMS becomes important. By thinking about their organization’s specific needs, decision-makers can decide whether to use an existing platform or make their own, making sure their LMS investment is worthwhile. In the end, understanding what LMS software is can help organizations make their learning strategies better.