Have you ever asked yourself the question, what is an LMS? Don’t feel bad if you’re unsure what these tools are. It’s still a surprisingly common question asked by people in virtually all industries. The short answer is that a learning management system (LMS) is a software platform that helps you organize and distribute the training and learning programs your company offers to its employees.
However, there are many other ways to answer this question, and each of the answers below will help you realize that adopting the right LMS can be your company’s ticket to enhanced productivity and profitability. In the meantime, get your free eLeaP LMS sandbox account.
Exploring the Many Answers to the Question of What Is an LMS
Understanding the multiple ways that an LMS can be used within your business is critical to making an informed decision about the platform you ultimately purchase and implement. In this section, we’re going to explore the multiple facets of this single platform type.
- An LMS is the easiest pathway for determining if your employees are participating in and completing the learning and training programs they need to achieve peak performance. Why? Because a good LMS includes robust data analysis and reporting on a variety of learner metrics, including participation and completion rates.
- An LMS is an effective way to assess whether or not your learners are getting the new knowledge and skills they need to play their part in achieving your company’s business goals. How? By rigorously assessing each student’s learning achievements.
- An LMS is a great channel through which to solicit feedback from participants to find out if the learning content you develop and deliver is interesting, engaging, and effective from the perspective of the learners.
- If you choose the right LMS, it can become an additional source of revenue by selling your valuable learning content to people and companies outside your business.
- When you choose an LMS that is a cloud-based, online SaaS (software-as-a-service) accessible anytime, anywhere and from any device (desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones) with an Internet connection and web browser, it’s a hassle-free way to create and deliver eLearning content without installing any software or worrying about upgrades. Why? Because all these are handled behind-the-scenes by the vendor.
- An LMS can be a way to prove the true value of your learning and training programs by helping provide the data you need to calculate the return on investment (ROI) to your company and its leadership.
- If you choose the right LMS, it can be something that not only helps you manage the activity of learning and training at your company but also the creation of the learning content that the LMS distributes to participants.
- Your LMS is a tool that will put your company on the leading edge of corporate training and learning in the digital era of the 21st century.
- Your company’s LMS is the most efficient and effective way to keep track of all your learning and training offerings in one easy-to-use centralized location.
- An LMS offers you a channel through which you can experiment with new trends in corporate learning and training, including gamification, mobile learning, and augmented reality.
- Your LMS is a platform that allows you to develop effective post-learning evaluation tools to discover if the skills and knowledge acquired by learners are being applied on the job.
- The LMS you implement is something you can use to align your learning and training efforts with your company’s business goals.
All these different answers provide compelling reasons for your company to adopt one, or switch to a better one if you’re not happy with the one you have. Of course, this begs the question of what should you look for when choosing your first LMS or making the switch to a new one?
What to Look for When Choosing the Right LMS
The right LMS can be many things for your organization. However, it’s important to realize that they are not all cut from the same cloth. One LMS might be versatile and flexible, while another is rigid. One might be full-featured, while another is basic.
When you begin comparing your options, consider the following:
Outcomes: What do you want to achieve with the LMS? Are you looking for a tool that will allow you to complete corporate training, or do you need a platform that will support the management of many types of learning across your organization? You also need to consider how those requirements will change over time.
Content: Course content is a big part of any LMS, but they don’t all deliver the same thing. You need to balance your requirements for pre-existing content with the possibility of creating your own custom-created courses designed specifically for your industry.
eCommerce: If you decide to go the custom content creation route, will you want to sell those courses to other organizations at some point? In that case, eCommerce integration is critically important.
Support: You’ll find a wide range of LMS types out there, from free, open-source options to proprietary systems to cloud-based, SaaS systems. Each brings something different to the table, but the support you enjoy will vary significantly from one to the next. With an open-source system, you have no support at all. With a proprietary system, you’ll receive minimal support. With a cloud LMS, though, you get all the support you need, plus the developer is responsible for maintenance, security, upgrades, and more.
Finding the Right LMS
As you can see, three are quite a few things to consider when choosing an LMS. You must go beyond answering the question of what is an LMS and delve into what makes an LMS work for your company or organization. Take stock of your needs. Project how those will change over time. Determine your need for support and how much time and money you’re willing to invest on maintenance and the like, then choose the platform that matches your requirements.
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