If your company hasn’t adopted a learning management system (LMS), you might be feeling a little left out. After all, it seems like everyone has or is jumping on the LMS bandwagon. But you’re smarter than that, right?
You wouldn’t rush a decision like adopting an LMS just because everyone else is doing it. You want to know that it’s going to be worth the effort. What do learning management system features and benefits really do for the companies who use them? And even better, how do you go about conducting a learning management system comparison?
What Are Learning Management Systems All About?
As the name implies, learning management system software is about managing your company’s learning programs. This is important because it helps you determine the return on investment your company is getting, not just from the LMS itself, but from your learning programs in general. A robust LMS helps you track all sorts of data that become quite useful in evaluating the effectiveness of your learning and training programs.
Remember the old adage: If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it, and if you don’t manage it, you can’t improve it. That applies to all aspects of the learning experience, from the amount of information learners retain to their ability to put it to use in their daily responsibilities.
But that’s just one aspect of what learning management systems do. They automate a lot of the administrative functions around your learning programs. With a few clicks, you can assign various modules to specific groups of employees, see who is and is not taking the training they need and spending adequate time in the courses and lessons, develop and deliver top-notch learning assessments to make sure your learners are gaining the knowledge they’re expected to acquire, track all the logistical details of what’s been offered and when, and much, much more.
As you can see, learning management systems do just what it sounds like. They enable you to manage every aspect of the learning process on both the learner side and the HR side of things. They enable you to measure and track ROI, support employee development, handle professional CE, and deliver mandatory corporate training, all within a single framework.
Comparing Different Learning Management Systems
For companies that do significant amounts of training and learning, it is hard to imagine how they got along before there was learning management system software. If you haven’t used an LMS, you don’t know what you’re missing – and it is high time to find out!
There are literally hundreds of different learning management system software solutions available today. This often stops many would-be explorers in their tracks. How can you possibly sort through that many options to see which one is right for you?
It begins by sitting down and first figuring out exactly what you want an LMS to do for you. What are your desired outcomes? Starting with this analysis phase is critical if you want to find the right LMS for your company. After all, if you don’t know what you want to achieve, it’s impossible to find an LMS that ensures that you can achieve it.
Some of the more common goals with an LMS include the following:
- Managing professional CE and mandatory corporate training
- Creating professional development paths for individual learners and groups of learners
- Tracking learner performance to ensure maximum information retention
- Measuring how well learners are applying new skills in the job
- Tracking improved efficiency in the business and tying those improvements to training
Of course, your needs and goals may vary. Each organization is unique. You’ll need to delve deep to surface accurate information, and you’ll need to use the right tools during the process.
Read Learning Management Systems implementation – Part 2 and Learning Management Systems implementation – Part 3 of eLeaP’s 7-part series on how to implement an LMS to learn more about how to conduct the analysis phase before starting your LMS search.
Of course, defining your goals and needs is just the first step. You also need to understand the different types of LMS out there. These include the following:
- Open-Source: Traditional open-source software is free, but it requires a significant amount of time and effort to implement and brand. Depending on your in-house resources, this could be more than you can handle.
- Proprietary: Proprietary learning management systems are common and have been around for a long time. In this situation, you have no control over the content – the developer maintains all rights and you’re only purchasing a license to use the training and management software.
- Cloud-Based SaaS: Cloud-based learning management systems offer several benefits not found with the other two types. They’re flexible, require no on-premise installation or implementation, and can be accessed at any time, from anywhere. They are also customizable so you can create training content that perfectly matches your brand, ethics, culture, and more.
Once you’re ready to plunge into the vendor search, read Learning Management Systems implementation – Part 4 of that series for some good tips and strategies for going about that task without pulling your hair out! Engaging in a robust learning management system comparison is necessary, but it doesn’t have to make you crazy.
Moving Toward a Viable LMS Solution
Keep in mind that some of the solutions out there are open source learning systems that can act as a free cloud-based LMS for you – if they can meet your unique needs and requirements.
Put eLeaP on your short-list of LMS software solutions to check out. It offers an amazing range of learning management system features and benefits, the flexibility of the cloud, granular customization – and you can sign up for a free trial to see if it might be the right choice for your company.
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