Why use an LMS
What is an LMS?
Organizational leaders have recognized that in order to maintain a more knowledgeable and productive workforce, employee learning must be an ongoing focus.
Choosing the right learning management system (LMS) can help. There are certain advantages and features that an LMS can offer that make learning more effective in the company.
What is a learning management system?
Imagine a learning management system as a technology that can improve learning, make it faster, more productive, cheaper and, above all, trackable.
The simplest LMS contains a central functional platform that enables administrators to upload learning content, distribute lessons to students, send notifications and exchange data with authorized users.
An LMS most often works within a web browser, behind a secure login process. This gives all students and faculty easy access to courses on the go, while administrators and managers can monitor student progress and make improvements.
Types of Learning Management Systems (LMS)
There are several types of learning management systems that companies can choose from, see comparison list:
# 1: Enterprise vs. Individual
Group-compatible learning solution
At the highest level, an enterprise learning solution is usually tailor-made for a large company with 500 or more employees.
It is highly scalable and can be designed to grow with the business and as new courses are added. Often an enterprise LMS has a huge list of built-in functions to meet all needs.
An individual or small organizational LMS may offer few or all of the available functions, but is limited to what a single course creator needs.
However, this can help the small organization or individual create various study materials.
Often LMS providers offer different subscription plans to meet different needs so that a small business can use the LMS for its needs and at a reasonable price.
# 2: Free vs. Commercial
There are also dozens of free, open source e-learning products available for individuals to create courses for their learners. Anyone with knowledge can use it and create a course that can be accessed through an e-learning environment.
Many free LMS also offer advanced levels and a large list of the features available. The main problem with a free LMS is that they don't offer the level of support that some users are used to.
You have to know how to use it or hire a specialist to do it. Platform updates require attention and time, and don't always go smoothly.
A commercial product is designed to be used by any organization, college or university, or other educational organization.
It's generally easy to implement and has 24/7 support. It also comes at a price based on the level of functionality you need.
Most of the time, commercial platforms need regular updates, but they also have an increasing number of features available so you will always be using the most cutting edge, high tech e-learning solution.
# 3: SaaS vs. Licensed Product
Perhaps the most popular model for an LMS is the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model.
It is a turnkey solution that is easy to implement. Usually it is cloud based and includes frequent free upgrades.
Although it can be somewhat limited in customization, a SaaS LMS is perfect for a business that is growing because it is scalable over time.
Technical support is usually included for the entire useful life.
A licensed learning management system can provide users with the highest levels of customization, customer support, and reliability.
It is more flexible and is developed according to the specifications of each customer, which can take some time. It can be installed on a cloud server or on site.
Implementation can be done if the company chooses, but updates can take more time.
The biggest cost is the user licenses, but licensed products win in the long run, especially when implemented as a cloud-based solution. As a result, the operating costs and the costs per user are significantly lower compared to SaaS solutions. The support can be offered for a limited time or as a paid premium add-on.
# 4: cloud-based vs. on-premise
A cloud-based LMS is hosted on a secure external server and allows users to access the product from a variety of computers and mobile devices, including offline via an app.
It can contain many of the most popular features that learners have come to expect.
A cloud-based LMS is much more scalable compared to an installed version.
The on-premise LMS, developed as a stand-alone product, is a licensed product that is created and installed on the server of your choice according to the company's specifications.
It can be limiting, in large scale you have to use multiple servers.
A cloud-based installation can be more cost-effective in some cases.
The on-site installation keeps user and company data on a highly secure basis.
# 5: Integrated
A modern LMS takes into account the existing software and systems the company provides and then blends into them to ensure seamless user experience.
Integration involves connecting the LMS with other compatible products to enhance the learning experience.
Of course, the company can decide to completely separate the learning management system from all other systems and products.
However, this hinders some of the possibilities that this integration can bring.
# 6: Integrated authoring tools or pre-built CMS
Integrated authoring tools
Most modern LMS include content authoring tools or support the Experience API / xAPI (or SCORM) standard and allow developers to upload already created courses and lessons from authoring tools or LCMS / CMS.
In general, course developers prefer to have access to built-in authoring tools that allow course creation and revision.
In most cases, even pre-made content can be included and new modules, exercises, learning documents, assessments and more can be integrated.
Often confused with LMS, a content management system (CMS) is a different product.
However, a CMS can be used to house some study materials and project documentation.
It can also be a good place for L&D teams to work out the course design long before real courses are rolled out.
However, it is not a substitute for an LMS. Prescribed course hours can be developed here and imported into the LMS at a later point in time.
What does an LMS do?
An LMS should be able to:
- Provide learning experiences that are tailored to the individual learner
- make it easy for instructors to make notes and make changes
- To give lecturers and students the opportunity to collaborate online
- integrate common tools like calendars, word processors and more
- to create a culture-sensitive, brand-related presence for the learners
- Include insights into user progress through built-in analytics
- to scale globally as the business grows
A modern learning management system often has built-in tools and resources to help administrators develop course lessons, activities, and assessments. Administrators can assign new user credentials and schedule courses for graduation. You can also follow the learning progress with the help of reporting functions.
A good LMS helps make learning interesting by engaging learners so they can take a more active role in their own development. An LMS should be easily accessible and usable to encourage learners to participate. The design of the LMS should be easily accessible in terms of appearance and functionality - based on user requirements.
Most of the LMS available today have features that appeal to different segments of user groups. For example, a K-12 platform will differ significantly from a corporate adult learning product.
An online learning management system, often referred to as e-learning or virtual learning, can offer the greatest features and cost savings. It is important that companies carefully select the right e-learning software features for their long-term needs.
Learning Management System functions can include:
- A central user portal for all users, administrators and course creators to securely log in and complete tasks.
- Experience API (Tin Can API) compliant content management system integrated for creating content and adding elements.
- LMS training system that includes event management and scheduling functions that guide users through specific learning plans.
- Certificates, learning cards and profiles that learners can share to prove their knowledge.
- Automated test evaluation and performance management systems based on user behavior.
- Live classrooms and webinar environments for remote instructors and students, client presentations and more.
- Technical assistance and course development assistance, including built-in tutorials and lesson plans.
This is not an exhaustive list of the many features an LMS can offer your business. Remember that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation will be an essential feature for the next generation of LMS.
Organizations involved in tracking employee performance will also want to understand how learning affects employee productivity by drawing on extensive analytics. The link between learning and performance will increase as organizations see a clear correlation between business metrics and real business goals.
Advantages of an LMS
Using a learning management system can bring many benefits to your business. The ultimate goal is to ensure that all learners have an experience that suits their learning style. At the same time, however, companies need to justify the cost and time involved in this approach.
Key Benefits of Learning Management System Software
Overall, learning management systems help to streamline learning activities in any company.
Some of the general benefits of learning management systems include:
- Access to learning on the go
Easy access via any mobile device to take advantage of learning opportunities.
- Flexibility in the learning paths
The ability to set up specific learning pathways for students and training plans for adults.
- Use a variety of study materials
Bringing together learning materials from a variety of sources, from MOOCs to user-shared materials.
- Analyze learning patterns
Analytics that provide a progress report on each user and evidence of knowledge.
- Learning automation
Automation of many learning processes, including scheduling, invitations and follow-up support.
Advantages of LMS systems for companies
Every company will have different goals and reasons for choosing an LMS system for in-house training.
There are generally several levels of LMS use in companies, including: employee induction and job training, customer training, and professional leadership development.
All of these areas can approach the use of the LMS in a unique way, with courses and the design of learning content tailored to each group.
Due to globalization, an LMS can often be the only option, as traditional instructor-led training (ILT) does not reach all employees where they live and work.
Some of the advantages of LMS systems for companies over other learning formats can be, but are not limited to:
- Safe corporate training
Secure login to keep company training and processes private, only for those who need access.
- Fast compliance training
Faster and more efficient compliance training for employees with annual proof of completion
- Cost efficient
Cost savings compared to other training formats through less travel, no external paid trainers, etc.
- The same training for all branches
Uniform learning materials and concepts across multiple locations and regions.
- Continuous employee development
Improved employee performance through regular access to learning and skills building
- Adaptability of learning materials
The Ability to adapt and align training measures to organizational needs over time.
- Find the most effective learning activities
The progress of employees through structured learning can be monitored and promoted.
- Compliant with the guidelines for personal data
Security of private user data and course progress within the LMS
Benefits of LMS in Education
If the learning management system is to be used as part of another educational program, e.g. in a K-12 setting, college or university, or other educational level, there are many benefits to choosing an LMS.
The use of technology in the classroom has resulted in a wave of more LMS in education. Today's learner has many more opportunities to grasp important concepts with a focus on their individual learning style.
In Finland, for example, phenomenon-based learning brings together concepts and real-world applications of learning. An interactive and responsive LMS can enable this more modern learning format in any educational setting.
The advantages of LMS in any educational setting can be:
- Teachers can use established educational models to offer more personalized lessons and increase student engagement.
- Students respond well to micro-learning and the LMS is a perfect platform to enable this learning format.
- Students can study independently via computers, laptops, and mobile devices to keep the learning alive around the clock.
- An LMS increases the flexibility and creativity of the learning materials, which improves the student's experience and encourages collaborative collaboration.
- Students' progress through lessons and assessments becomes more and more self-determined - using the natural way people learn.
- Artificial intelligence and automation make it easier for teachers to manage learning materials and give them time for other teaching opportunities.
How do you choose the best LMS for a company?
Now that you have a good idea of what a learning management system is and what its benefits and features are, it is important to understand how to choose the best LMS for your business purposes.
# 1 Measurable results
Investing in learning management software for your business often depends on how quickly you can measure real results. When it comes to business purposes, e.g. training employees to quickly and effectively achieve a high level of competence.
These results should be displayed both for users (such as completion rates, degree of target achievement) and for administrators in the form of completed modules, scores and the connection to company goals.
# 2 Accessibility and user-friendly design
A major problem that can make or break a learning management system is when there are user accessibility issues. The registration process should be simple and secure. The home screen should be intuitive and contain the information a user needs to begin completing courses.
In addition, tools such as AI and chatbots can enable learners to search for new course proposals and find them tailored to their interests. This is especially important when working with younger people or cross-generational learners who may not be used to the latest formats.
The fonts and layout of the content should be user-friendly, and all text should be translatable into other language types and 508 compliant.
# 3 adaptability
Today, learners need to be able to follow their learning on the go. Hence, a multi-device LMS can ensure that learners can always access their courses and pick up where they left off.
With the vast majority of the world's population accessing the Internet through mobile devices today, the LMS you choose must work well on a wide variety of operating systems, browsers, and screen sizes.
# 4 Secure data management
If a company wants to develop and manage courses, a secure LMS platform is a must. Not only is course data protected by copyright, but the information of all users must also be protected.
Select only an LMS that has a single sign-on process (SSO) and manages information behind additional layers of security in connection with user rights. This is particularly important if you are using a cloud-based server for data storage.
# 5 Support response time and training
Before deciding on the best LMS for your business, keep in mind that there will be times when live customer support is required. This often happens in the implementation and integration phase, but it can occur at any time.
New users will also need access to tutorials on how to use the learning management product.
Ask for support for people who use it in other time zones after hours.
Final thoughts on the LMS
Evaluating an LMS requires a thorough analysis of all of the features and benefits each one offers. This is a difficult decision because it is something that means a long term commitment.
Look for an LMS that is built with the future in mind.
This should be evident from reviewing the product description, as well as getting to know the company and the direction in which it is developing.
Gather information from customer reports as well as awards the company has received.
Learn what the leadership background is and what they are passionate about in the learning industry.
All of the above information should help you make a case for choosing and investing in a reputable learning management system for your company's needs.
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