What is an LMS? (Learning Management System)

Technology is changing rapidly and impacting all areas of our businesses. Organizational leaders around the world have realized the importance of training their resources to become more productive. Talking of training and technology, let’s take a look at what an LMS (Learning Management System) is.

So What are they Really?

An LMS is simply an end-to-end learning platform that facilitates online education and empowers learning by providing a robust framework to manage and deliver learning content. Today’s LMS platforms offer virtual classrooms, integrate with other cloud applications, collect data, and support activities like gamification, social learning, and learning on the move.

We can also incorporate Artificial Intelligence in the platform which can help understand each learner’s behavior to create personalized learning experiences. To top it all, a high-caliber LMS saves costs, improves staff productivity, and boosts revenues.

77% of organizations in the US rely on eLearning for professional development, while over 40% of Fortune 500 companies extensively use eLearning in their operations.

Learning Management Systems are in demand today because global leadership focuses on sustaining their staff to be more knowledgeable. It can deliver learning content seamlessly in an organization’s global offices across time zones with flexibility. For example, you can conduct a learning session across all your global offices by just sitting at your desk.

In the coming years, the digital learning landscape is likely to become more exciting and intense in terms of competition and upcoming technological breakthroughs. It is predicted that by 2023, the worldwide LMS market value is expected to exceed $457.8 Billion by 2026.

That’s interesting! Let us see how an LMS is used so we get a better hang of it.

What is an LMS used for?

LMS is primarily used for learning and development purposes. You can impart training to multiple user categories and business types in your organization, be it a non-profit, a corporation, or an educational institution. Let’s take a look at some of the most common industries that leverage these platforms.

Industries that use an LMS

There are innumerable ways that organizations across all industries and verticals globally are using eLearning applications. Let’s take a quick look at some benefits derived from using them.

What are Some of the Benefits of an LMS?

Our traditional training involves face-to-face sessions with trainers and students. By using an LMS you can save time as it’s an online platform and avoids location constraints. You can even access it conveniently from multiple devices from a laptop to your mobile phone.

Being a centralized solution, once you update the platform with new content, the updates will be available instantly to other users. A variety of training methods are also available, which makes for an enriched experience. Activities such as registration and enrollment are automated helping you to save immense time and effort in training and learning activities.

You can take a look at how your learners are doing with analytical dashboards and reports that provide deep insights into their learning progress. It is also possible to get actionable insights to improve the learning process, content, and courseware.

What are the Types of LMS?

Installation On-premise vs. Cloud-based (SaaS model)

LMS systems can be set up on your organization’s premises based on your dedicated needs. Some large enterprises opt for this option for their requirements. They maintain their own infrastructure and IT teams for management which is an expensive option.

The cloud-based (Software-as-a-Service) option is a cost-effective option and has low start-up costs. The platform will be available as a service that can be scaled up or down using cloud resources based on your need. Most organizations opt for the cloud-based model as setup and maintenance are done by the service provider.


The Anatomy of an LMS

You can consider the platform’s software application as your virtual training department. You can use the LMS software application comprehensively to deliver, manage, and track your employee or any learner’s training. As a training manager for an LMS, it is easy to plan and manage your training programs with ease from anywhere.

Let’s take a look at how the LMS works in 3 brief steps:
1. You need to register the trainees/students by uploading files containing their data.
2. You then assign required courses to either individual learners or to multiple groups.
3. You can view reports and track the learners’ progress up to course completion

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, there is much more to it! Let’s dig deeper!

Registration: Your learners need to be registered in the LMS so they can enroll in their courses. This may or may not require course fee payments to be made. Once your learners are registered, they will be given their login credentials which will entitle them to their subscribed courses.

The platform automates many of the communication and registration activities. Once registered, it will send out automated welcome emails with login instructions to your registered learners automatically.

Enrollment: Your training manager can take over the enrollment process. It involves assigning selected users for a particular training program through the LMS. The training may be online or in-person. Some interesting enrollment features include the following:

  • You can configure enrollment activity for a particular time. Enrollment will expire once the time is up.
  • You can perform the enrollment category-wise. This can be in the form of junior officers, managers, training managers, administrators, senior supervisors, and so on for corporations or freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors at a university.
  • You can carry out enrollment for a particular course. Criteria can be set if it is relevant to certain job roles, and relevant access can be granted accordingly.

An LMS generates automatic confirmation notifications to your enrolled learners and sends course progress reminders for completion, relieving you and your instructors from this mundane task altogether.

Assessments: You can configure assessments in the form of tests and quizzes, exercises, homework, projects, and one-on-one sessions among others. Questions can be randomized so that all students do not get the same versions. You can personalize tests for a batch of students or a location, for example.

Exercises submitted online can be graded. Qualitative assessments can be done using one-to-one sessions too. Assessment results are also available online and distributed faster than traditional methods.

Certifications: You can automate the certificate-issuing process once your learner has successfully completed the courses. Certificates can automatically be stored in the database. Trainees who successfully complete the courses can view or download their own certificates.

Certificates can also be issued in a time-bound manner and send upcoming expiry deadlines through automated notifications to your users. Records are stored on the LMS which avoids a lot of hassle and paperwork for your training management teams.

Training Reporting: You can get a 360-degree view of learning activities across your organization in the LMS. Data-driven reporting helps you check the status of assigned courses. You can check the registered number of students taking courses, how many have started the courses, their current course progress, and the learners who have completed the courses. This helps you monitor and analyze the learning status for further actions. You can also download training reports in multiple formats like MS Excel, PDF, and others.

Course Pathways: You can create customized Course pathways which are also known as Learning paths in LMS. This is based on a learner-first model. They are created based on learning goals with periodic milestones, and assessments, and incorporate constructive feedback mechanisms. Learner pathways comprise three stages: Pre-learning, Learning, and Post-learning, all configured on the platform.

Course Libraries: You can use ready-to-use online content libraries. You can load prebuilt course content or load customized course content. Course libraries can be organized based on Learning paths or topics or a combination of both.

Virtual Classroom: Built-in video conferencing tools can help enable a virtual classroom environment. You can have real-time virtual collaboration with features like interactive whiteboards where a trainer can write, annotate, explain, brainstorm, and collate ideas. Room features are also present for a limited audience. Other exciting features include presentations, online polls, shared notes, multiple screen sharing, and group chat.

Anatomy of an LMS

Collaboration tools: Modern LMS systems come with collaboration tools like file-sharing tools, instant messaging, calendar-sharing tools, document synchronization, cloud storage, video conferencing, whiteboards, and many more. You can see a highly engaging and interactive session between learners, trainers, and the learning ecosystem as a whole.

LMS Content creation: You can select authoring tools and eLearning templates that are flexible and easy to use which help in quickly creating content for courses. This helps design e-learning courses. Multimedia elements, audio, video presentations, and online resources can be embedded in the courseware conveniently.

User roles: Most of us work with the LMS using the front-end interface that is driven by a powerful backend database. An LMS has many user roles with the LMS administrator being an important one. The tasks include technical software and internet components of administering an LMS. Just to give you the gist of the activities: it includes managing courses, courseware development, site settings, and course front page administration and monitoring, fixing common issues with the front page, and more.

An LMS can be used for virtual classroom training, instructor-led training in physical classrooms, webinars, online learning, and mobile learning as well. Training calendars and programs can be set up for various locations from the platform.

Want to learn more about the critical features that an LMS must have? Read our all-inclusive LMS Guide!

What Is the Best LMS For You?

The best LMS system for your needs will depend on your organization’s learning and development objectives. There should be clarity on achievement goals with the LMS to ensure that its implementation is a surefire success. Evaluate your LMS vendors with a deep analysis of all their features and look for one that is future-ready and has high integration possibilities. You should ensure you choose a really good LMS as it is a long-term commitment to your organization’s ever-growing and evolving learning needs.

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