Any discussion or comparison between Learning Management System, also known as LMS system, will revolve around features. They are at the heart of the entire management information system; many of users are fully satisfied with the features of the LMS.
Identifying the most important features of a Learning Management System requires a thorough examination of your needs and the objectives of your training program. What kind of organization do you represent? What form will your training take? What are your integration needs? Do you need to sell your courses via an e-Commerce interface? How will your training needs evolve over time? This article lists the key features of a Learning Management System. After reading the article, you should have a better understanding of the features that are relevant to anyone who compares LMS.
1. Ease of Use
A good interface to an LMS is intuitive and user-friendly – regardless of the user. It must be simple to use. After all, organizations and individuals do not want to waste time taking classes on how to take classes. It is an unnecessary expense in time, energy and resources. Ease of use is an important feature for any user.
Many organizations considered the necessary integration capabilities, making integration opportunities with other systems another core functionality of Learning Management System. You may need to integrate your platform with one of the following solutions:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Compliance Management
- Human Resources Information System (HRIS)
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Payroll System
3. Content Management
When you compare Learning Management System, you will see that content management is a basic but essential component to consider. And, if you look closely, some do it better than others. Questions to ask include: Is the LMS compatible with the latest international standards for e-learning? Can you upload existing documents, videos and exams, and connect learners to web content hosted elsewhere? Can your training plan, learning materials and assessments be organized into an effective learning path? A learning path is a series of courses, events, or learning experiences that learners must accomplish to achieve a goal. Can learn materials and events be shared between courses or learning paths?
4. Mobile Learning
Mobile learning is the distribution of training, education or learning support materials on a mobile device such as a phone or tablet. You may have heard of responsive design, designing content online to fit different screen sizes, but responsive design is just the beginning of mobile learning. Due to the requirements of the mobile format, mobile learning tends to be highly interactive and delivered in short segments.
In a study, users were asked to indicate the most important features of their LMS to encourage learner engagement. The main demand was that the learning be divided into several smaller segments. Users also wanted more social engagement, with learners able to communicate through discussion forums.
5. Support of Mixed Learning
Learning Management System tend to be very effective at presenting and disseminating e-Learning content, but what happens when the best way to learn is offline? When you want to play football, you can learn all the theoretical part, but at a certain point you have to go out and hit the ball. Conferences, seminars, training workshops or practical demonstrations can all merit a place in a training program. In these cases, blended learning support is an essential feature of the LMS platform. Offline learning events must be tracked, recorded and evaluated at the same time as those online.
6. Reviews and Evaluations
Flexible testing and evaluation options are almost always considered important features, although they are not always available. Here is a list of features associated with the assessments you may need:
- Does the platform support pre-testing and post-testing?
- Are formative evaluations supported or should learners pass all assessments?
- Online review systems are universal, but how flexible is the system?
- Are all questions asked or can random questions be extracted from a test bank?
- Can multiple-choice responses be randomized?
- What types of questions are supported – multiple choice, text entry, short answer, long answer?
- Are there provisions for supervised examinations?
- Can the results of offline exams and on-the-job evaluations be captured?
- Can tasks and tests be weighted?
7. Reporting and Follow-up
Improving reporting capacity was another need of learners and teachers. The main reports focus on learner progression, content quality and e-Commerce:
7.1 Reports on the learning content: Reports on the proportion of learners who have completed their learning content.
7.2 Learning Path Reports: Pursue learners’ progress in their learning journey.
7.3 Exam Reports: A good LMS is not just about assessing learners, it helps the organization to evaluate the learning system. Examination reports analyze exam performance to ensure the validity and accuracy of the exam.
7.4 E-Commerce Reports: Track purchases, revenue, performance of marketing initiatives, etc.
Data security in the Learning Management System is another fundamental element to take into account. An LMS stores not only the learners’ personal data, but also the proprietary or marketable learning material. How are user permissions processed? Which users can access which data?
Many LMS limit the number of users that can be granted administrator privileges, but this strategy is often unsuccessful. When people who have a legitimate need for access do not have the necessary privileges, they often resort to sharing passwords, compromising the security of the entire process. Access becomes uncontrolled and records of director activity are no longer accurate. It is best to choose a system that allows for unlimited administration so that you can be sure your needs will be met in a controlled manner.
9. Personalization and Branding
The ability to use a white label interface is an undeniable asset to take advantage of its brand. This feature is important for many organizations, especially those engaged in selling online courses.
For companies that want to generate revenue by marketing e-Learning courses, a learning management platform must include the e-Commerce feature. When searching for e-commerce features, consider the following:
10.1 Tracking and Reporting: Can you track purchases and generate revenue reports? What reports are available? What kind of Formats?
10.2 Payment Gateways: Can users use their preferred method of payment? Are credit cards accepted? PayPal? Does it support multiple currencies?
10.3 Notifications: Can you send receipts and notifications by e-mail?
10.4 Support for Marketing Initiatives: How are marketing initiatives supported? Can you offer discounts? Does the solution incorporate product recommendations based on a user’s browsing history or shopping cart? How are sales, cross sales and marketing initiatives tracked and reported?
The key features of your Learning Management System will depend on your goals and needs. By comparing solutions, identifying the features you need, as well as the ones you want, will help you make the best decision for your organization. Choosing the best LMS platform is difficult, make the right choice!