At its simplest, an LMS (learning management system) is the software which enables you to deliver, track and certify your online courses and training. However, in today’s age, an LMS is so much more than a system to deliver courses – it is an integral part of your learning strategy.
In 2013, we posted a blog about our all-time top LMS features. But in the past five years, a lot has changed. So, which features are still paramount when choosing an LMS? And which new features should you look out for? We thought we’d revisit the list and share with you the 12 things we think you should consider when choosing your next LMS. So without further ado, here is our 2018 edition of the list:
1. Ease of use
Some LMS’ can be complex and difficult to use, so the UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) of your LMS should be paramount. The perfect learning management system should be easy-to-use and should not require assistance from technical personnel. Once the solution is in place, it must be easy to access and update with the least amount of fuss possible.
2. Online and offline training
The best LMS’ allow you to track all forms of training, from eLearning to classroom courses. A system which allows you to manage your entire learning strategy, including; setting enrolment criteria, creating catalogues of online courses and scheduling classroom training, will streamline your learning strategy across the organisation.
In today’s day and age, we rely more and more on technology to make our lives easier. And this includes learning systems. When it comes to certifying learners, and ensuring they’re retrained at the right intervals, you want your LMS to do the hard work. An LMS which can trigger actions based on set criteria, e.g. prompting your learner to retake a course after a year, will certainly make the life of your LMS admin easier.
It’s no longer enough for an LMS to work perfectly on its own; it’s more than likely that you will want it to integrate with other business software, such as HR and Sales tools. If integration is important to your organisation, make sure you’re aware of your chosen LMS’ capabilities up front.
With the changing demographic of learners and the increase in commuting and working on the go, mobile learning is becoming all the more important. Learners will want to access your learning resources on their mobile devices, take courses seamlessly and have their progress tracked and reported on.
Full functionality should exist on all devices, and providers with a clear dedication to innovation and new technological solutions are the most desirable ones to choose.
Confidentiality and security are a concern for all businesses, regardless of the sector that they operate in. This is in terms of both encryption of personal data, and the payment of fees.
When searching for the best LMS provider, you should look for those that offer industry standard techniques when it comes to the protection of information, as well as an outright dedication to never compromising on confidentiality.
The aim of every company is to grow, so what will happen to your LMS when you meet that aim? Can it grow with you? Inflexible packages that can’t adapt to a business’s needs are no longer acceptable in the eLearning realm.
On a practical level, systems with administrative dashboards that allow companies to enable and disable features as and when they need, without any specialised support, are what you should be looking for. The same goes for payment options. Inflexible contracts with no recognition of changing business needs should be avoided when choosing an LMS.
Your LMS is a key part of your organisation’s learning strategy, so ensuring that it is on-brand is key. When looking for an LMS you need to consider how the system will fit in with your existing systems and working practices. Examples of how this is being achieved by leading LMS providers include dashboards that incorporate a business’s own branding and integrations with third party systems. The best learning management system’s will even allow you to customise the domain for your system, e.g. http://subdomain.yourcompany.com
9. Collaboration and social learning
Today, the best LMS solutions are almost like corporate social networks. They’re no longer stand-alone platforms but allow and actively encourage interaction with other individuals on the learning journey. This could be via message boards, forums, or the development of features such as ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ various elements of learning.
An LMS which facilitates this collaboration and integrates social learning will increase a ‘learning culture’ in your organisation – and will help you in achieving your organisational aims.
Learning is most effective when it is interactive and fun. Game based learning adds this element into even the driest of subject areas and helps organisations create solutions that are attractive to their members of staff.
The best LMS’ allow you to create badges or awards, that learners can win for achievements within the LMS, and earning these rewards can rank each user on your leader board.
Your eLearning courses might be a money-making tool for your organisation. The best learning management systems will come with eCommerce options, to allow you to advertise and sell your courses to your customers seamlessly. If this is part of your organisational strategy, make sure you check your LMS can help with this before purchasing.
12. Future proof
Learning technologies are constantly changing, with some LMS’ even integrating artificial intelligence to their platform. When choosing an LMS, you need to make sure you’re choosing a system that will last. Checking out the vendors that are investing the most in development is a good place to start. To make your life even easier, the Fosway Group creates a yearly analysis on the LMS marketplace, comparing LMS’ for their potential and performance.
So, there you have it, 12 features you must consider when choosing your new learning management system. Think we’ve missed something? Let us know @OmniplexeLearn – we’d love to hear your thoughts!