LMS - Learning Management System
A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs. The learning management system concept emerged directly from e-Learning. Although the first LMS appeared in the higher education sector, the majority of the LMSs today focus on the corporate market. Learning Management Systems make up the largest segment of the learning system market.
Learning management systems were designed to identify training and learning gaps, utilizing analytical data and reporting. LMSs are focused on online learning delivery but support a range of uses, acting as a platform for online content, including courses, both asynchronous based and synchronous based. Learning management solutions may offer classroom management for instructor-led training or a flipped classroom, used in higher education, but not in the corporate space.
Most modern learning management systems are web-based. There are a variety of integration strategies for embedding content into LMSs, including AICC, xAPI (also called 'Tin Can'), SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) and LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability). LMSs were originally designed to be locally hosted on-premises, where the organization purchases a license to a version of the software, and installs it on their own servers and network. Many LMSs are now offered as SaaS (software as a service), with hosting provided by the vendors.
Through LMS, teachers may create and integrate course materials, articulate learning goals, align content and assessments, track studying progress, and create customized tests for students. LMS allows the communication of learning objectives, and organized learning timelines. The advantage of an LMS is that it delivers learning content and tools straight to learners, and it can also reach marginalized groups through special settings. Such systems have built-in customizable features including assessment and tracking. Thus, learners can see in real time their progress and instructors can monitor and communicate the effectiveness of learning.
One of the most important features of an LMS is its ability to streamline communication between learners and instructors. Such systems, besides facilitating online learning, tracking learning progress, providing digital learning tools, and sometimes selling content, may be used to provide different communication features.
Vendors LMS - Learning Management System
F.A.Q about LMS - Learning Management System
Types of Learning Management Systems
Free vs. Commercial. This is typically one of the first dilemmas organizations face when choosing an LMS.
Free, open-source software has a pretty clear upside: It’s free. Also, because the source code is open, it can be modified to be highly customizable for each organization. However, most free LMS products tend to be more complicated than commercial products — typically they are utilized by more sophisticated users.
Commercial software, on the other hand, offers users a support staff, and tends to be much easier to deploy, and use. But of course it costs money. Among commercial LMS products, there are typically two main forms: Installed, or the service-based cloud option.
Installed vs. SaaS. One of the most important elements of an LMS is the ability to scale up or down quickly and easily. Commercial LMS software solutions are typically sold as either a locally hosted enterprise product, which is hosted on an organization’s own servers, or as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering, which is hosted on the vendor’s servers and is accessible from anywhere (the data is stored in “the cloud”).
Generally, cloud-based LMS products offer trainers more flexibility when it comes to scaling up or down. Because the product is sold as a “service” (usually monthly), the burden of making systems upgrades, freeing up bandwidth, and providing IT support falls on the vendor. Because data does not have to be stored on local servers, scalability isn’t a concern; most SaaS LMSs can ramp up or down by thousands of users with ease.
A locally installed LMS offers users the ability to individualize and customize their LMS. So if an organization already has an IT staff in place that can administer the system, handle support and customization and scalability concerns, a locally hosted LMS can be powerful.
Course-creating or not. Another thing to look for in an LMS is whether it comes with the ability to create training content. In some cases, an LMS is simply a tool to distribute course content, which must be created in a Learning Content Management System elsewhere.
Some LMS systems, however, do come with some authoring tools that allow trainers and designers to develop their own unique content. Other LMS vendors offer separate course-creation tools for purchase, while some offer no authoring tools whatsoever, and instead rely on third-party course materials.
Integrated. As LMS systems become more sophisticated, one of the most exciting developments is the ability for the system to integrate with other applications your organization already uses — whether that’s internal calendars, email, or social networks.
Other LMS products may also integrate closely with talent management systems, which tend to focus on providing support to Human Resource staff functions like recruiting, performance management, and payroll. Depending on your organization’s needs, you may keep an eye out for an LMS that features this sort of app integration.
Choosing a Learning Management System
Choosing the right LMS is crucial to the success of your eLearning strategy. The selection process may seem overly complicated and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! With these steps to choosing an LMS, you’ll discover a simple and straightforward technique to help you choose perfect LMS for your business needs.
Identify your audience. Identify exactly what you need from your LMS and who your learning content is aimed towards. This will vary depending on your learner audience and the type of training you wish to deliver.
If you’re training your employees, you’ll need an LMS tools to formalize learning processes, like employee onboarding, and improve employee retention.
If compliance training is your focus, you’ll need an LMS that makes it easy to achieve, maintain, and track compliance.
Customer training delivered through an LMS optimizes onboarding, increases retention and presents opportunities for upselling thanks to customers who complete training having a more thorough understanding of your product or service.
If you need an LMS for partner training, your priorities will be scaling your partner business while building and protecting your brand.
Focus on important features. There are many basic LMS’s out there, but your LMS has to support your “need to have” features to ensure it’s fit for purpose. Some examples of invaluable LMS features include:
- Ease of use - A platform that’s easy to use ensures your learners and admins can use the LMS without needing training on how to do so. This makes the process of using the LMS a positive experience, increasing engagement.
- Reporting - LMS reporting makes it easy to accurately track learner progression, course status and completion rate, exam results, etc.
- Integrations - By integrating applications you already use in your organization, you’ll get the most efficiency out of your LMS. LMS integration can help increase learner and admin engagement, and delivers a better user experience.
- SCORM and xAPI compliant - Ensuring your LMS is SCORM and xAPI compliant is a pretty essential feature. If the LMS you’re considering isn’t compliant, it’s likely it’s a very basic system.
- Portals - Learning portals offer your learners a great user experience, but also make it possible to manage multiple training audiences in one system.
Evaluate each LMS. Start evaluating potential contenders by doing an initial round of high-level research to identify systems that appear to meet both your training audience and features list needs. This will become your LMS longlist. Once compiled you can then evaluate each one individually to rule it in or out of the next stage of selection.
Look beyond the LMS. Go online and research LMS vendors on your shortlist. Find out as much as you can about each company. Once you’re satisfied with the company’s reputation, peer reviews, and support services, sign yourself up for a free trial and demo so that you can see the LMS in action and understand how the system will meet your audience and feature requirements. You could also submit support tickets to each vendor during your free trial to compare the responsiveness and attentiveness of each support team.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
There are six major advantages of LMS: interoperability, accessibility, reusability, durability, maintenance ability and adaptability, which in themselves constitute the concept of LMS.
Other advantages include:
- An LMS supports content in various formats: text, video, audio, etc.
- One can access materials anytime, from everywhere, teachers can modify the content, and students can see the updated material.
- The evaluation of students is easier and fair, based on student attendance and online quizzes.
- Students and teachers can re-use the material every time they need.
- Students can learn collaboratively by setting up a School website with the LMS software and helps "Keeps organizations up-to-date with compliance regulations. If your organization must stay up-to-date with current compliance regulations, then a Learning Management System can be an invaluable tool. Compliance laws change on a regular basis, and updating a traditional course to reflect these changes can be a time-consuming chore.
Although there are many advantages of LMSs, authors have identified some disadvantages of using these systems.
- Implementing an LMS requires a well-built technology infrastructure. Teachers have to be willing to adapt their curricula from face to face lectures to online lectures.
- Difficulty of learning to use authoring software.