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Your workforce needs frequent training to learn new skills, be aware of process updates, understand their job responsibilities, overcome low productivity levels, and take steps to become effective team members.
If you work in the education field or are a corporate training professional, investing in a learning management system (LMS), rather than manually managing and tracking the workflow of learning programs can help you automate the entire process.
We’ve prepared this guide to help you select the right LMS platform for your business. Here’s what we’ll cover:
What are the typical features of a learning management system?
What are the potential issues with a learning management system?
A learning management system (LMS) is a tool that helps professionals manage the processes of creating, distributing, and assessing their online training programs. It allows you to host different types of learning content such as lessons, worksheets, quizzes, and tests.
LMS software helps you by:
Building learning content on different topics to help employees/students boost their knowledge
Publishing learning courses on a training portal for everyone to access
Assigning courses to employees or students and track course completion status
Tracking trainee participation and engagement
Providing analytics and reporting functionality for insight into the success of learning programs
Collecting feedback after each training
Learn more about training and other work trends.
A learning management system can help you in many ways but the major benefit is getting rid of old fashioned paper-based and blackboard training.
Let’s discuss a few examples of how your business can benefit from deploying learning management software:
Easy tracking: By investing in a learning management solution, you get to track the progress your students/employees have made on the assigned learning content. Tracking features in a learning management system can help you monitor and extract metrics which can improve your training programs.
Accessibility: With a learning management system in place, you and your employees/students can access all online courses and learning materials whenever and wherever they want. It also helps learners access support for technical questions, and interact with peers, share progress and discuss ideas.
Cost saving: With an online LMS that automates your processes and streamlines learning management for your business, you can bid farewell to the high costs of classroom training. Budgets assigned to learning and development can be reduced with the exclusion of printing out learning materials as they would for classroom-based programs. Further, you can avoid expensive travel or accommodation costs for instructors, as well as instructor fees.
Improved communication and collaboration: With features for chat, video, written documentation, web conferencing, video conferencing, and notes sharing, the LMS becomes the center of all communications in the learning organization. Plus, students, teachers, employees, or training professionals can share their feedback, complete surveys, and take quizzes and assessments for overall professional development.
Key questions about benefits to ask an LMS vendor before you buy:
How is a learning management tool going to benefit my business?
How will the tool add value to my existing learning processes?
Understanding the common features of LMS software will help you shortlist products that match your employee training needs.
Here are some common features of an LMS platform you can consider:
Assessment management: Create assessments in the form of quizzes and tests to gauge learner engagement.
Course authoring: Develop and publish engaging multimedia content courses on your website, training portal, or content management system (CMS).
Course management: Store and manage all your training modules with the help of an online course library. Learners will be able to search for relevant modules using keywords such as topic, length, etc.
Course tracking: Track the status of completion of online courses in the training modules assigned to the learners.
Learner portal: Allow learners to access their profiles and learning material on an online portal with a simple login.
Analytics and reporting: View high-level online learning metrics and trends at a glance and generate standardized reports for stakeholders.
Key questions about features to ask your LMS vendor before you buy:
Does your LMS offer all the common features listed above?
Are there any special or additional features you would provide in your LMS?
Scalability: If you've decided to invest in an LMS software, make sure the solution supports your institution’s expansion. There could be multiple factors that can impact the scalability of your business in the future. It could be the deployment, pricing model, or the scope of available features like gamification in LMS. Make sure you check all these parameters well before finalising the deal.
Integrations issues: Lack of supported integrations with the other education tools you might be using in your business can be frustrating. Therefore, taking stock of all education tools in your existing tech stack prior to purchasing a new LMS system can help you identify the best integrations. It will save you time and money from surfacing the integration issues and paying a hefty price for additional integrations in the future.
Key questions about potential issues to ask an LMS provider before you buy:
Will your LMS support more users if I plan to scale my business in the near future or is it a limited plan?
Does your LMS system fit well with my existing education tech stack?
How is your tool aligned with my business goals?
Learning management system vendors seek to improve the training and learning experience for both trainers as well as learners. In this section, we discuss the latest trends in the market:
User-generated content (UGC): UGC is becoming popular in various fields and eLearning course content is just one of them. Why create all of the online learning course content yourself when you can give your students or employees their own tools to create content in your LMS? Users create and upload their own content in the form of videos, presentations, and reviews on the portals which can be scaled and repurposed to be used by the entire learner roster. As a result, learners can be engaged in training material and interact with their co-learners more independently.
Mobile learning: With the increase in usage of mobile devices, mobile learning, also called m-learning, can be done whenever and wherever a learner wants. With the help of mobile devices, learners can continually participate in the online learning process with the help of training material availability on the go. People with full-time jobs, for instance, who can access an online course on the go may find this useful. This helps them keep a tab on their overall professional development via eLearning courses.
Artificial intelligence (AI) to create tests and assessments: If you want to improve learners’ engagement with your learning platform, the solution is preparing effective tests and assessments, the ones that match perfectly with their needs. Thanks to technologies like AI, many AI-enabled LMS can optimize employee training materials and assessments by sifting through the eLearning content and creating quizzes. For instance, AI based learning apps such as EdApp can provide content recommendations and personalize eLearning as per the needs of students/employees.
Key questions about trends to ask an LMS provider before you buy:
Which new technologies are you planning to incorporate in your learning management software?
Have you adopted technologies such as AI yet?
Pricing for LMS varies depending on the number of learners or users. While many vendors offer free LMS software and “per course” pricing models, most products on the market are priced on a “per user, per month” pricing structure and can be broken down into three tiers based on their starting price:
$1 - $4
$4 - $10
These ranges summarize pricing for the base plans of most products. An enterprise or premium product that is priced higher may include additional features such as unlimited courses, blended learning courses, video and content hosting, integrated eCommerce, among others.
*The pricing included is for the entry-level/lowest-priced offering that was found on vendor websites on August 12, 2021. These ranges correspond to the 25th, 75th, and 100th percentile of the pricing information gathered from vendor websites of sample products and exclude freemium plans.
With this in mind, you might come across additional fees such as:
Licensing fee: If you plan to get LMS installed on-premise.
Implementation cost: This includes consultants, hardware installation, software customization, data migration, and integrations.
Training cost: Some vendors charge for in-person training at the client’s site.
Customer support cost: Cost associated with advanced support such as priority support or dedicated customer service manager.
Maintenance cost: Cost related to upgrades, patches, and updates.
Be aware of these prices before committing to a particular learning management software vendor.
Key questions about cost to ask an LMS vendor before you buy:
What is the pricing model of your product?
In addition to the subscription fee, what other costs are associated if I decide to purchase?
Do you offer a free plan, free trial, or demo?
Small and medium businesses (SMBs) can benefit from an LMS as they can utilize fewer human resources and save overall costs on training needs. Learning management systems can also scale along with your business to adapt to your ever-changing training and upskilling needs. Basic things that an LMS system can help SMBs with are:
Training and empowering new employees across different locations and upskill the existing ones
Updating processes and upgrading existing employees’ product knowledge
Assigning mandatory corporate training to employees and keeping track of their status.
Education specialists such as teachers, administrators, and professionals in higher education are the target users for LMS. For instance, many courses at K-12 and university levels offer students access to assignments and testing information created specifically for them. These learning materials help them hone their skills and test their knowledge.
LMS is also used in highly regulated industries where employees need to maintain compliance training with industry standards. Some examples are aviation or food preparation. Your LMS product can be tailored to the needs of corporate trainers, which might include performance reviews or eCommerce features. These solutions are available as specialized LMS solutions or as part of an HR suite.
Back to the Learning Management System directory
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.