WHAT IS an LMS?
If you are thinking about investing in an learning Management System (LMS), what are the features you should look for? What is the hosting plan that is best for your business? This article will address the most most important questions you have such that you can build a better vision to make the best decision on whether you need a new LMS for your online training program.
First, I need to explain: What is the Primary Purpose of a Learning Management System?
What a Learning Management System will do for you will depend on your company's objectives, online learning strategy, and desired results. Typically, LMSs are most commonly used to execute and track online training programs. After you create your training and coaching material, you upload it to your LMS, such that it becomes easy for remote learners to access and engage with it. All your clients will need is to have a username and a password to be able to use your online training resources wherever and whenever. Sometimes your platform will even have built-in software called 'authoring tools' that help you to develop online training curriculums quickly and smoothly.
What are the types of LMS Users?
There are two types of people who will use your LMS:
What Type of Businesses Can Benefit From a Learning Management System?
LMSs are highly recommended for educational institutions and corporations. Before your company selects the most suitable LMS, It is a must to clarify and define your organizational and training objectives, including which learner groups you are going to be delivering to. Because, for example, groups that come from either eCommerce, sales, or customer service, each will require different training features on your platform.
LMS Customer Types
LMS Platform Options:
LMS Licensing Types
LMS Pricing Models
Subscription: Here, you can access specific LMS features based on a pay-per-use model. This pricing model involves a fee for each user or active user. Sometimes, the vendor offers different price brackets, including up to 25 active learners. Smaller organizations who want to minimize online training costs will prefer this option, yet they will still be able to scale the Learning Management System as soon as their company expands.
License: This typically involves an annual fee that you must renew every year.
Lifetime Access: This is when you pay a one-time upfront fee that grants unlimited lifetime access to the LMS. However, as your needs expand or technology advances, you'll probably still have to purchase replacement software to accommodate your program's learning objectives.
Freemium: These LMS platforms are free for basic features, but you will pay a fee for more advanced functionalities, such as add-ons or upgrades. For instance, you are adding more users, using comprehensive eLearning assessments, or generating advanced reports.
What are Learning Management System Benefits?
Essential Features To Look For In Your New LMS
Here are some basic LMS components and to Keep in mind. There is no one-size-fits-all LMS. Every organization has its culture, unique training needs and constraints. This is why you need to do some research and analysis before you make the decision which LMS, including which features best meet your corporate learners.
Reports And Analytics
You must monitor your online learner performance to make sure they are achieving their learning objectives. This kind of tracking needs to be through a reliable reporting system built into your LMS. When you have analytics that allows you to monitor online training performance, such as how many participants have completed their online training course requirements or how long they take on average to complete each online training activity. Reports will be delivered to your inbox with alerts when there is a deviation in performance.
Intuitive User Interface: This is when you build your LMS so it will work the way the user expects. A system design that does not match the user's mental model can lead to cognitive load that will eventually stress out the user in figuring out how to use the platform. So, the goal is to create an interface that aligns with the user's expectations as closely as possible. Considering that everybody has a different experience and, in effect, a different mental model, you will need to research and interview users on a 1/1 basis to gather a lot of information about how they conceptualize their workflow. You can also take advantage of free trials and demos to ensure the system is user-friendly.
Based on the level of experience your eLearning team is at versus the complexity of the tool. It is common for vendors to host online discussions that allow you to connect with other users. Also, they offer online guides, training tutorials, or even paid services for additional support that gives you direct access to a trained tech.
eLearning Assessment Tools: An LMS must support a broad range of assessment methods needed for gap analysis for your learners. Assessment tools help your learners understand how far they are from their goals, and this will make it easier for you to intervene with the needed action. Therefore, the LMS must be able to support a broad range of eLearning assessment methods. Equally important, there must be LMS reports dedicated to eLearning assessment tracking.
Depending on your training context, sometimes employees will better engage when you motivate them by offering points, badges, and leaderboards as rewards to their performance through your built-in gamification features.
Compliance and Certification
This is an essential training for employees on company policy. Advanced certification features, will help track individual skill and performance gaps.
Social Learning Support
This is becoming a very common by having a feature to integrate social media tools. This facilitates the ability to track online discussion participation, or incorporate a news feed into your eLearning course design.
By offering multilingual support is crucial for organizations. This is very important in cases where you plan to deliver worldwide online training. Offering multilingual support allows every member of your team to have the same opportunity in developing their professional skills.
The best way to choose an LMS is to test it yourself. So, it is best to ask for an LMS free trial try it first hand. You can ask for a demo incase the vendor doesn't offer a free trial period. It is necessary to do a training needs analysis before selecting which LMS vendors you'd like to put to the test. Selecting the best eLearning platform for your business will always depend primarily on who will be using it.
Evaluate at 3-5 LMS tools minimum before making a final decision on which one to choose. Check the user set up, go create a mock-up training course, make mock-up some assignments, and extract a couple of dummy reports. Take into mind you need to choose an LMS that meets your specific business needs and objectives.
To sum up, when selecting an LMS, you need to: