A Learning Management System, or LMS, is a software application for creating, structuring, delivering and managing educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs digitally. A robust LMS software should administer, document, track, report and automate every aspect of an online education program or course.
LMS software vary depending on the breadth of their offerings. Some are simple while others are more complex. LMS software can be tailored to your needs and the extent of your desired features should define the type of software you are looking to purchase or subscribe to. Put plainly, LMS software is the most effective way to streamline learning and training for a company or organization.
The application of LMS software has many benefits to an organization or company, both short-term and long term. In the short-term, you will see cost-savings on training and educational material, increased time and productivity, and higher engagement with employees. Some long-term benefits include but are not limited to:
- Employee satisfaction and retention
- Improved onboarding experience
- Tangible ROI on training programs
- Preservation and employment of valuable institutional knowledge
- Greater remote learning abilities
These are just some of the positive outcomes of LMS software. Of course, there are many components to LMS software that you will want to explore before you decide which one is for you.
Skills and certification tracking are some of the most important features of an LMS but there are a number of other features that are important when looking for the right LMS software. Some of these features include:
- Data tracking
- Automated alerts and notifications
- Flexible reporting and analytics
- Offline learning trackers
- Remote or mobile-workforce ready
- Centralized learning materials
- Personalized user experience
- LMS integrations
If you are new to LMS software, the first thing to do is define what the goals of your organization are and build your wish list according to those attributes. When searching for your LMS software, an expert will be able to tell you what functions they have and what they can offer you.
The return on investment (ROI) for an LMS can be seen in your bottom line but, for other organizations, it is more clearly seen in employee retention and turnover. A LMS is a commitment to increasing the knowledge base and the qualifications of employees. It is an investment in your internal systems to create an optimal external output.
Off the bat, you will see things like increased savings due to minimal travel expenses, lower administrative costs, time spent training and more. But long-term, the ROI of an LMS is much more, and can include:
- New revenue generation
- More time for high-level strategy
- Reducing training expenses and more
LMSs are a proven profitable business model and can allow trainers, managers and other professionals the ability to connect to learners, asses the training need, offer courses and track progress. It is a fully operable learning lifecycle that enhances employee ability and makes organizations stronger and smarter.
There are several technical differences when it comes to LMSs. Each has its own benefits and advantages.
- Hosted LMS – a common form of LMS, hosted training systems centralizes all learning within the organization’s server, making it secure and easily accessible to employees or members of an organization. Software is purchased and resides on the network.
- SaaS LMS or Web-based LMS – A common form of delivery, SaaS LMS or web-based LMSs, require you to pay a subscription fee in order to gain access to the platform and are often hosted by the LMS vendor on their server.
- Open-source LMS – a bit more technical, an open-source LMS is a system whose source code is available for use of or modification. Other users or developers are able to change the system, which means it is usually public and free.
- Closed-source LMS – This type of system does not give access to the source code which means it is not capable of being changed or altered and is most likely a subscription or cost-based software where users are able to create and edit education materials within the confines of the editing options available.
LMS integration is the ability for your LMS system to integrate with the business applications that your company or organization already uses. It should permit users to move data between systems to coordinate reporting and task automation. An integration app can make data sharing between LMS, CRM, email automation and payment services simple, turning manual processes into a thing of the past.
When it comes to LMS content, almost all platforms and software are built to be SCORM compliant, which allows for interconnectivity and compatibility between various types of systems. SCORM compliance is the gold standard of LMS and it should be very important to any user looking to adopt eLearning that their LMS platform abides by the standards set out by SCORM.
What is SCORM and why is it so important? Let us help you out there. Onboarding? Compliance Training? Certifications? Explore our recommended LMS solutions. Compare >
What is SCORM?
SCORM, or Shareable Content Object Reference Model, is a set of guidelines for developing eLearning content that makes it operable on any kind of LMS. Developing eLearning content takes time, and for companies thinking of adopting an LMS system, being SCORM compliant is very important.
What is eLearning?
Electronic learning or eLearning is the act of gaining or building on new or existing knowledge through electronic or digital means. The realm of eLearning is vast and has positive impacts across all industries and sectors.