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What You Need to Know Before You Buy

What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?

What You'll Learn in This Chapter:



What is a Learning Management System?

A Learning Management System, or LMS, is software that helps with documentation, administration, reporting, tracking, delivery, and automation of training or learning and development programs. LMSs sprang up from e-learning, and, while it started in Higher Education, the majority of LMSs now focus on the corporate segment. Companies use it for their employees, clients, and partners. In short, an LMS delivers e-learning courses.



What is the purpose of a Learning Management System?

The purpose of the LMS is to host and track e-learning. An LMS gives a company a virtual hub where e-learners can access training resources, and its intention is to make training accessible for remote learners while providing a central location for training across an organisation.

Learning management systems were created to identify training and learning gaps, using analytical data and reporting. LMSs focus on e-learning delivery but also support a whole host of uses, acting as a hub for online content, like courses. Today’s LMSs include intelligent algorithms that make automated recommendations for courses based on a user’s skill profile as well as extracting metadata from e-learning materials in order to make accurate recommendations.



What are the benefits of a Learning Management System?

The main benefit of an LMS is that it gives your audience unlimited access to learning information. It allows them to learn on their own terms anytime, anywhere.

Provides unlimited access to e-learning materials

Upload and publish materials to the LMS and your audience can have unlimited access to the information. E-learning platforms can be accessed on mobile phones and tablets for those on the go. They can access it anytime and anywhere, so they can choose when they want to develop skills or perfect work-related tasks. LMSs are great for working across time zones for a global community.

Organises e-learning content for consistency in learning

Companies store all their e-learning materials in one central hub. This makes it easier to create and maintain e-learning courses. If you’re using a cloud-based Learning Management System on a remote server, the team can easily collaborate online.

Tracks learners’ progress and performance

Learning Management Systems give you the ability to track learner progress and ensure they’re meeting their milestones. This allows you to offer supplemental resources if and when needed.

Reduces learning and development time and costs

A Learning Management System gives learners the information they need in an easy-to-digest, organised manner. Instead of sitting through information they don’t need, they can go to a particular module to get the learning they do need. An LMS also saves money on printing and trainer costs.

Easy to update and expand e-learning courses

If you have new trends or data, you can log in to your Learning Management System and make modifications without having to rewrite an entire course. The LMS sends the changes out to every learner in real time.

Integrates social learning experiences

An LMS makes social learning easier. Since it’s an online product, you can include links to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn groups, and other forums that would benefit the learner. You can also create exercises around peer-to-peer collaboration.



What are the features of a Learning Management System?

Some of the features of an LMS include being remote, personalizing the user experience, gamification, storing data and offline learning trackers, and seamlessly integrating with other systems.

An LMS can be remote or mobile-workforce ready

With the growth of remote work, on-site training may be impossible, especially with global companies. A Learning Management System needs to be remote or mobile-friendly to train talent where they are.

An LMS should personalise the user experience

A good LMS should provide content tailored to a learner’s role as well as individual use cases. For example, if a worker is in a customer experience role, they should be able to easily find more customer experience–related content. It should offer adaptive quizzes and assessments to enable learners to prioritise areas of improvement. A personalised LMS will help learners to become more engaged with their learning.

An LMS should seamlessly integrate with other systems

A Learning Management System should enable Learning and Development professionals to connect to third-party content libraries to help supplement L&D’s content offering.

An LMS stores data and offline learning trackers

An LMS allows learning professionals to store data to help them track an e-learner’s journey to better understand how the courses and users are performing. It should give the learning professional the ability to see where your learners need to build skills and where they excel.

Some learning by its nature is offline, so an LMS should capture offline assessment results through learning record creation, and edit, evaluate, and personalise assessment skills. Learning records are stored in a learning record store that serves as a repository for learning records collected from connected systems where learning activities are conducted.

A current feature of LMS is gamification

An LMS that uses gamification offers e-learners incentives to stay engaged and focused on learning. Gamification provides learners with an interactive journey filled with rewards and feedback, helping the lessons stick over time.

An LMS should have flexible reporting and analytics

An LMS should have flexible reporting and analytics that align with your e-learning objectives. Customisable reports help your company create better visuals on learner data. Being able to quickly identify patterns allows learning pros to adjust their training programs on the fly.

Automated alerts and notifications should be part of your LMS

Automated alerts and notifications are necessary for trainers and managers to see how their learners have been engaging and completing course materials. An LMS can provide feedback to the right people at the right time by sending auto-alerts to learners about their training deadlines or notifying trainers on users’ completion rates.



How to create e-learning content

There are a few simple steps to create e-learning content in a Learning Management System:

Understand why you need the content

Think about what the objective of your training is, like who’s taking it and why they’re taking it.

Assemble necessary materials

Put together existing source materials including video, PDFs, audio, images, notes, and more.

Create an e-learning script

Create a script based on the objective for the course using the materials you collected. Ensure your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and other stakeholders review and approve the content.

Think about the look and feel of your project and your company brand

Define the images, fonts, colors, and animations you will need for your course.

Develop materials for your course

Now that you have the script and the look and feel of your project established, record any audio you want. Ensure graphics are created as well as screen captures used to create videos.

The last step is to assemble the materials you created into one cohesive course and add the course to your Learning Management System.