You’ve heard of Learning Management Systems (LMS)—but you aren’t quite sure what they actually do. You might be wondering… would my company benefit from using one? Am I missing out on something big?
We’re here to help! We’ll discuss the most important features of an LMS and how to choose the best system for your company.
Let’s start with the basics.
What Is A Learning Management System?
Simply put, LMS software helps your businesses training and L&D functions run more smoothly. They help you manage the training needs of your employees on one streamlined, easy-to-use platform. An LMS system tracks the learning progress of team members and provides automated reports to make sure you stay on track. Overall, it makes your business’ training needs more manageable for everyone.
LMS are used by various fields and company sizes, including enterprise business and higher education.
18 Key Learning Management System Features
1. Smart Interface
An LMS should be easy to use for both administrators and users. There shouldn’t be much of a learning curve. To be effective, the system should be easy to navigate and understand from the start.
A good LMS will easily allow administrators to make changes and add in features – like allowing an employee to start where they left-off.
2. Course Management
Arguably the most important feature, LMS course management allows admin to easily:
- Add or create new courses remotely
- Enroll new users into the system
- Monitor the progress of users
This is crucial because an LMS is an ever-changing system. It needs to be frequently updated with staff onboarding and offboarding as well as changes in company needs.
An LMS should be able to recommend training courses and programs based on the user’s position and job duties. When users see a system that’s familiar with who they are and what they do, they’ll become more invested—leading to a more engaged employee.
4. Easy integrations
Using an LMS that easily integrates with other business systems is beneficial. It allows you to easily manage other priorities like human capital or talent management. The course completion data from the LMS will help you make more informed performance-management decisions.
5. Blended learning
We all learn differently, so it’s important to have an LMS that reflects this reality. Blended learning provides different styles of training and combines both self-paced and real-time options. This allows all employees to learn in the style and pace they enjoy.
Blended learning can include live training sessions on platforms like Zoom or self-paced learning through workbooks, readings, videos, and quizzes.
6. Data Tracking
When it’s easy to pull data and analyze learning activity, assessing the progress and needs of your employees becomes easy as well. Data tracking allows you to:
- Analyze progress and completion rates
- Run various reports
- Identify which employees are certified in specific areas
- Check quiz scores
- Identify additional training needs
- Better understand the engagement levels of your employees
7. Centralized learning materials
While an LMS focuses on e-learning, it’s important to have a specific place where employees can access training materials. The best LMS platforms house additional information related to job duties, including informational videos, PowerPoints, and articles.
This encourages growth and development beyond what’s required. Plus, it makes it easy for your employees to find what they need when they need it.
A major benefit of using an LMS is the peace of mind that comes with knowing your employees are up-to-date with compliance training, policy, and regulations.
LMS systems help with training management and keep track of completed training and what’s still needed. Some systems can even provide alerts to users when a deadline is approaching.
9. Supports remote/mobile work
Remote work is being more widely accepted and promoted than ever before. So it makes sense that learning management software needs to be remote/mobile ready. This could take the form of a special app or downloadable courses.
The purpose of an LMS is to provide an online platform that employees can access anywhere – whether they’re at home or at the office. Distance learning allows employees to learn in their homes, where they’re likely most comfortable. This leads to higher employee engagement and participation.
An LMS should also facilitate the creation of certificates. After completing a training program or course material, employees will receive a Certificate of Completion—giving them a sense of accomplishment and pride.
Certificates can also help confirm the completion of training for those who don’t have administrative access to user progress.
A safe and secure LMS platform is a must. Learning management systems should include at minimum the following:
- Strong password qualifications
- 2-Step verification requirements
- Automated data backups
- Restricted access to customer data
- Ability to monitor system activity through audit reports
- Assigned user roles
A Learning Management System contains sensitive information, including user data and potentially protected company details—so it’s critical the LMS you choose has a strong security component.
12. Learning Paths
A learning path allows admins to set a training plan—a direction the user can follow to work through courses in increments on the same topic. This streamlines what’s expected of the employee within the system and allows them to gauge their own progress.
Learning paths are beneficial for administrators because they save time. Rather than enrolling users in courses one-by-one, employees are enrolled once and then drop-fed one course at a time until they complete that particular learning path.
This useful LMS feature allows admins to separate training courses as needed. Most businesses employ a variety of positions, so it’s important to have the ability to personalize training for a specific group of employees.
For instance, a hospital wants to utilize a training module in the emergency department for both nurses and doctors. However, they want to provide different courses and learning materials to each group. Grouping would allow admins to be able to assign both nurses and doctors their respective courses.
14. Offline learning trackers
When learning is done offline, it’s important your LMS records completed training outside of the platform.
For example, a welder may need to complete a manual assessment on learning a new piece of machinery. When you’re able to integrate on and offline progress into the same LMS, the user and admin have a clearer picture of each employee’s true progress.
15. Automated alerts and notifications
A huge benefit of an LMS is ensuring that team members stay on track with learning and training requirements. Automated alerts and notifications tell a user about upcoming training deadlines. They also keep admins and trainers up-to-speed on learner progress and training completion rates.
16. Assessment Tools
Assessment tools allow a user to see where they are in their learning progress. They can also identify areas in need of improvement through the use of tools like quizzes.
Assessment tools are also helpful because they allow the user to complete system evaluations. This gives management insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the program while encouraging positive change.
17. Course templates
An LMS feature you’ll want to look for is the ability to create your own learning material with course templates– this will save you significant time and energy.
Check out this example for Learning 360:
You can choose a blank template or go with a standard topic such as Onboarding - the template walks you through each step of creation, making this feature a real time-saver.
18. Video recording
You won’t keep your employees engaged for long with courses using only text—video recordings will add variety to the information being presented and keep your learners more attentive and engaged. Be sure to look for a feature that allows you to record yourself, record your screen, edit, and delete videos.
Now you understand some key features of LMS – let’s keep rolling and assess where you can go from here.
How To Choose The Best Learning Management System?
You might be wondering how to decide if you should implement an LMS within your own company. Ask yourself these questions when considering whether an LMS is right for you:
- What are your company’s learning needs?
Take an honest inventory of your company’s learning. Where you are now and where do you want to be? What has been working? What hasn’t been working? Now’s the time to get employee feedback to ensure you have a clear picture of where you want to go.
- What do you want from an LMS?
After you decide what your company needs are, it’s time to determine what you need from an LMS. Refer to the key features above as you consider what direction you may want to go.
It’s also important to decide what features you don’t want in an LMS. This will help you shorten your list when searching for vendors.
- What options will meet your company’s budget needs?
While you want to choose a quality LMS, it’s important to ensure you’re staying within your office’s budget requirements. Once you know your budget, make a list of every LMS that fits.
Remember, the decision to choose an LMS is your own and depends on the needs of your company—taking time to research different options and then implementing a new system that’s right for your business needs will be worth your time and effort!
For more guidance on choosing the best LMS platform for your business, check out People Managing People’s pick of the best learning management systems.
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