As anyone who ever made a conscious effort to learn something knows, learning is a difficult process. Throughout history, people have always searched for ways to make learning convenient. And what they found is that learning tools can mean the difference between knowledge and ignorance.
A learning management system (LMS) is the latest entry in the long line of learning tools humanity has developed. At its core, an LMS is simply a computer program used to facilitate learning, but this kind of description doesn’t really do it justice. Rather, an LMS is more akin to a fully equipped digital classroom that anyone can use from the comfort of their PC.
While learning management systems have been around since the late 1990s, most people outside of academia have little experience in using them. So to help you understand what an LMS is, how it works, and why you should consider using one, we wrote a short primer on the topic below.
The main role of an LMS is to manage and deliver various types of educational content, including documents, multimedia files, testing materials, and more. Education and training professionals are the ones uploading and managing content, whereas learners use an LMS to access it in a convenient fashion.
LMS software is predominantly used in the education sector, but the business community has also shown interest in using LMS for training, onboarding, and other purposes.
LMS Installation and Deployment
LMS software can be deployed in a variety of ways. This makes it easy to find a solution that works for your specific business needs. The three main deployment options are:
- Desktop deployment – the LMS is installed directly on your PC via USB, disc, or download.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – the LMS is hosted on the cloud and managed by the service provider. You access it via a light-weight client interface.
- Browser deployment – the LMS is hosted through a website which you can access via desktop or mobile browser.
LMS Payment Models
LMS software providers offer a variety of payment models. The model you choose will depend on the nature of your company, your learning goals, and the size of your wallet. Typical payment models include:
- Licensing – You pay a fee upfront in exchange for access for a specific amount of time, ranging from annual to indefinite.
- Subscription – You pay according to the features you use, with options to upgrade your subscription.
- Open source – Open source software is free to use, and what it lacks in features it makes up in community content.
LMS From a Business Perspective
In order to justify using Learning Management Systems, businesses have to see tangible benefits from investing in this technology. Fortunately, an LMS is a welcome addition to any business tech stack, and here is why:
- Effective data storage – LMS makes it convenient to create, manage, store, and deliver learning data. This reduces reliance on spreadsheets, paper documents, and other forms of data management.
- Monitoring performance – LMS tools come with built-in monitoring and reporting features. These features make it easy to monitor everything from learner engagement, learning outcomes, content performance, and more.
- Personalized training – LMS software allows learning content providers to create and deliver personalized learning experiences. This improves learning satisfaction, which in turn leads to better retention and engagement.
- Fast feedback cycle – LMS gives learners a variety of options to provide feedback, including communication channels such as instant messaging, various rating systems, and the ability to interact with other learners on the platform.
Essential LMS Features
The core component of every LMS is a system for distributing learning materials. In addition to this basic functionality, each LMS software provider will provide its own set of enhanced features. These are not always necessary, but they are always nice to have, especially if you can get them for free. Here are some examples:
- Multi-platform support – Learning Management Systems that support deployment on multiple platforms is a major convenience from the user’s perspective. It gives learners the opportunity to use their learning platform of choice, and get the same level of service as everyone else.
- Task automation – The more users you have on your LMS, the more difficult it gets to manage them effectively. Imagine manually sorting through hundreds of user profiles based on their test performance, or going through user feedback one comment at a time. To combat this issue, platforms such as Administrate Training Management offer automation features such as communication templates, certificate generation, and automatic learning path matching.
- Localization – If you’re operating in an international environment, you’ll want a localized version of your LMS for each learner segment. Some LMS offer localization on the level of the user interface, while others go a step further and provide automatic localization based on user profiles.
Taking Learning to The Next Level
Learning Management Systems give businesses the opportunity to create, manage, and distribute learning materials in an efficient way. Adding an LMS to your tech stack will help you automate the training process while saving costs on expensive training seminars.
Thanks to a wide variety of LMS tools on the market, you will have an easy time finding one that suits your business needs.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.