All-Time Top 10 LMS Features

Adriann Haney | 04/16/2013

Call it the LMS Wishlist, Linkedin’s Most wanted LMS features page or eLearning 24/7’s How to buy an LMS checklist, the real problem for L&D experts searching the web for a little insight is the sheer amount of great advice out there. That’s why we’ve studied the most authoritative content on the web and come up with our very own definitive all-time top ten LMS features list. Here’s the undisputed hotlist of features most mentioned by the most authoritative sources our best experts can find.

1. Affordability

In these times of global economic hardship, there has never been a stronger focus on budget constraints. While a LMS is essentially a tool to increase the productivity and profitability of a business through the up-skilling of a workforce, money is the number one concern for many organisations.

The best solutions lie with providers with flexible payment options. Desirable pricing models include e-commerce pay-as-you-go, volume discounts, and annual license-unlimited options.

2. Ease of use

Many e-learning platforms are complex and difficult to use, and this often goes against the main reasons why businesses turn to these solutions in the first place. If a system isn’t simple, it requires too much time and effort for it to ever be effective. 

The perfect LMS should be as easy to use as creating a PowerPoint slideshow, 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.  

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3. Customer service and support

Even when a business is using an excellent LMS, there are times when things will go wrong. This is a given, and there needs to be an effective support system in place to help deal with any issues as quickly as possible.

Ideally, a team of experts should be on hand to provide necessary assistance. A provider that offers both telephone and online help is desirable, as is one that is dedicated to solving the problem within a pre-specified timeframe.

4. System security

Confidentiality is 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 provider, businesses 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.

5. Scalability

Organisations are adapting like never before, and they need an LMS that will change with them. Inflexible packages that can’t adapt to a business’s needs are no longer acceptable.

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 those in the market for an LMS should be looking for. The same goes for payment options. Inflexible contracts with no recognition of changing business needs should be avoided.

6. Customization and tailoring

Standard off the shelf packages are no longer acceptable in the world of LMS, and clients are seeking out customisable solutions that can fit in perfectly with 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.

7. Compatibility with various platforms

It is no longer enough for an LMS to be accessible via a desktop computer. With increases in commuting and working on the go, the best systems are responsive and can be used from a variety of platforms, including tablets and mobiles.

Full functionality should exist on all of these devices, and providers with a clear dedication to innovation and new technological solutions are the most desirable ones.

8. Collaborative and social features

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, as well as integration with real-life networks such as Facebook.

Demand for these features is only likely to increase, and again, providers with a dedication to innovation will see the fruits of their labour.

9. Game based learning features

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 to create solutions that are attractive to their members of staff.

The best LMS solutions allow real-time questions to be added in order to further cement comprehension and information retention. This is also a fantastic way to assess progress in an engaging way.

10. Integrated e-commerce

Once users have completed their courses, it should be clear where they go next. Ease of navigation is essential, and taking the next step should be a simple process.

An automated broadcast message that informs learners that new modules are available is also desirable. It’s this sort of functionality that will facilitate continuous and seamless learning.

OK, so these are the most popular LMS features, most mentioned in most of the lists that stoke the internet right now, but that doesn’t mean to say they’re the right features for you.  When L&D managers open up to us and explain what they really want out of the learning platform they procure, every features list we hear is different, because no two businesses are ever the same. Perhaps it’s time to stop searching the internet for the top ten LMS features you should want and start talking to us about the 10 features you do want.