Technological innovations have improved the functioning of many verticals. One sector that has significantly benefited is the learning and development industry. With e-learning in place, you can now provide training or educational courses at your convenience in a much more organized way. Add the power of a learning management system (LMS), and it completely transforms the learning and development landscape.
But LMS is a large industry. With so many options available in the market, it is important to know the elements that comprise a successful LMS.
What is an LMS?
An LMS is software that helps organizations in the administration, documentation, reporting, training and delivery of education courses or training programs. It’s used to deliver online courses and training content to participants. It organizes, tracks, and manages your courses, participants, results and helps improve the effectiveness of your programs.
What are the benefits of an LMS?
The old system of corporate training involved gathering employees in one physical location, at one time, with the instructor – who may have had to travel from out of town – present. Companies now understand the benefits of utilizing an LMS to train their employees. The major benefits include the following.
An LMS provides a consistent learning experience – A learning management system centralizes all your course content in one single place. This ensures that everyone receives the same information, consistently conveyed.
It makes tracking and reporting easy and convenient – Tracking the progress of your students is a big task. But with an LMS in place, you can track the progress of your students conveniently. No need to spend hours finding out who has done what. Everything is at your fingertips – you can easily see who has finished the course and who has not.
An LMS can create engaging and interesting courses for your participants – You can easily combine text, images and video in a learning management system – which you cannot do on paper. When the content is engaging, your students tend to learn more.
An LMS can give you better results because of engagement and gamification – When you make learning fun, easy and engaging, your students can learn more and deliver better results. Gamification can make learning fun because it keeps users interested and challenged. Our July 2019 blog post – “How Gamification Helps e-Learning Level Up” – covers the learning benefits of e-learning in detail.
It allows you to keep your course up-to-date – In this fast-paced world, you constantly need to update your course content to keep up with rapid changes in your industry. Whether you want to change or add something new to your content, you can do so easily if you have an LMS – as opposed to books, which quickly become outdated and are expensive to replace.
You can easily distribute your course content – With an LMS in place, you can conveniently distribute your course content to your participants. All you need to do is upload your users in the LMS and send them an email invite. You can also send the link of the course to your participants in an email.
Using an LMS can also help you save money – Books and other paper-based training materials are expensive to buy or print, if you produce them in-house. Related supplies – such as binders – represent additional expenses. Add shipping, if the materials must be sent to another location.
How can my LMS be more successful?
Selecting the best LMS is a bit of a challenge for organizations. While you need to take into consideration your company’s size, industry and specific training goals, there are common elements that a quality LMS must include.
Make sure that the LMS you buy offers a learner-centric experience – You buy an LMS to train your users. The users can be your internal employees, customers, channel partners, vendors, etc. It is crucial to tailor the learning experience to suit the needs of each user or user group. Select an LMS that allows you to assign users to specific groups so that your course content reaches the right people.
Another way to create a learner-centric experience is to brand your course. A good LMS allows you to brand the interface based on user groups. Branding and customization are important for organizations that plan to sell their courses. Also, it allows you to maintain a consistent learning experience across the organization.
The LMS you buy should offer an intuitive experience – If the LMS system you buy is not intuitive, your employees will have a poor experience when using it – resulting in a negative impact on learning, retention and results. A great LMS will always offer an intuitive experience.
Make sure your LMS is mobile-responsive – Your organization needs to keep pace with the times. Participants should be able to access courses on mobile devices, as well as desktop computers and laptops.
Make sure your LMS has a built-in reporting feature – Be sure the system you select has a built-in mechanism for tracking performance. Without a doubt, reporting is one of the most important features to look for. Reporting is not just essential to track the progress of your participants, but it also allows you to calculate training ROIs. A comprehensive reporting feature allows you to measure specific training metrics and gauge the effectiveness of your training program.
Don’t forget about integrations – It is important to select an LMS that integrates well with your existing applications. It is difficult to change all your applications to accommodate one software. A great LMS will integrate well with most of your existing applications, such as your CRM, HRIS, payroll, etc.
Ensure that your LMS has survey tools – If you want to improve the effectiveness of your training program, it is important to use the survey tools to your advantage. With survey tools, you can conduct pre-training assessments, post-training evaluations, and even take training feedback to improve your training programs. It should also allow you to collate the survey data quickly.
Your LMS should support blended learning – Many companies need a blended learning approach. It is important to track, record and assess both online and offline learning activities. A good LMS should allow you to track online registrations, print sign-in sheets, send email and SMS reminders, etc. Your LMS should support synchronous and asynchronous learning.
Ensure that your LMS gets regular updates – There is no point in using an obsolete system. You need to keep up with industry trends and regulatory standards. Regular updates are a must if you want to realize the full benefits of your LMS. Your LMS service provider should be SCORM or xAPI compliant. Any LMS service provider worth its name in the market should make incremental updates throughout the year.
Never Settle for Less with Your LMS
Here are some other must-have LMS features that you should look for when you set out to buy an LMS solution:
Never compromise on security – You need to make sure that your data remains safe and secure. Your LMS not only has all the data of your users, but it also holds your proprietary content in the form of training or course material. Learn where your data will be stored/hosted, and find out how secure sign-on is.
You also need to know how user authorizations are handled and how data integrity is maintained. For user authorizations, make sure that you select a solution that allows unlimited administrator roles so that you don’t have problems in the future when your users increase. And, for data integrity, you should know who can make changes to your data.
Make sure you get e-commerce functionality if you plan to sell courses – If you are planning to sell your courses, then you need to ensure that your LMS has e-commerce functionality. When searching for e-commerce features, ensure that you get tracking and reporting options, payment gateways, notifications and marketing support.
You should think about content management, as well – Content management is a necessary function of an LMS, and you need to pay attention to it when reviewing systems for purchase. Make sure that the LMS you buy supports the latest international standards for eLearning. Again, the LMS should be SCORM and xAPI compliant. You also need to make sure that your LMS can upload existing documents, videos, tutorials and exams, and link your participants to your web content. Your LMS should also allow you to organize your curriculum, learning materials, and evaluations in a meaningful learning path – as well as to share learning materials and events between courses.
As a corporate training manager, you must be aware that your course content is as important as your LMS. Organizations these days invest heavily in content development. But content development is not a one-time activity. Whenever there is an upgrade or a new regulation, the content creation process needs to be updated so that the content can quickly and easily adapt within the LMS.
Considering an LMS? Learn about eServe!
eServe has everything expected of a next-generation LMS. It is a cloud-based solution that helps managers, HR professionals and instructional designers create and redistribute their content over multiple outlets and formats. eServe is also an LCMS designed to complement your existing LMS – which empowers your corporate trainers to share, merge and upgrade your present courses to meet local or regional needs. You don’t have to worry about the security of your data because eServe offers LMS encryption.
Offering affordable solutions, eServe is a comprehensive tool that eliminates the redundancies that can occur when organizations are forced to develop multiple versions of the same content. It allows you to author, unite, deliver, and analyze content conveniently.
Contact us to learn more about how eServe can meet your organization’s needs.