A Learning Management System is like an ecosystem made out of an array of features, that together form a complete learning and training solution. The LMS of today has come a long way since technology was first used to keep track of workplace training. Not only it allows L&D professionals to create and give access to learning materials and assess employee learning results, but also to create online learning communities around any subject of interest and use a growing number of features to make any online learning module more engaging.
The LMS market is growing, with hundreds of such software products already sharing it. Nobody can complain of a lack of variety in this field. These technologies are always advancing and are becoming more and more learner-centered. Just think about personalized learning paths, mobile learning, micro-learning modules, competency-based learning, mentoring accounts, adaptive learning, xAPI integration, and so on. These rather new features are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to LMS development.
While there will never be two LMS vendors with the same exact features, there will never be two companies that need the exact same features in an LMS. However, there are a few core aspects of an LMS that should be part of any vendor's training solution and any company's must-haves.
5 Non-negotiable features of any business LMS
No matter if we’re talking about huge corporations that have to train thousands of employees, middle-sized companies that need standardized training, small businesses that need targeted courses or even entrepreneurs that focus on making profit by selling online courses, here are 5 features every LMS should have:
Since everything is about building a strong brand nowadays, it’s only natural for any client to be able to personalize a product they use every day. People are now more sophisticated users than ever and expect every online experience to be as smooth as a Google or YouTube search.
Therefore, every LMS should offer customizing and branding features such as:
- A personalized portal
- Own URL
- Custom logo
- Unlimited color schemes
- Custom terminology
- Custom CSS
- Branded mobile apps
- and so on.
This will support companies in portraying their brand through their LMS.
Extensive reporting and analytics
Looking good is nice, but having a brain is even more important. Big data is everywhere and making sense of it is paramount. That’s why the reporting and analytics tools in an LMS are very important for any company.
Reporting features should include:
- Completion progress
- Time tracking
- Canned reports
- Ad-hoc reports
- Learner activities timelines
- Compliance management
- Graphical analytics for key areas of the LMS
- and so on.
Business decisions lead to better results when they are based on relevant data and not on hunches or assumptions about one training aspect or another.
For any organization operating in the knowledge economy, creating and selling online courses besides the core services of products simply makes business sense. It is now easier and safer than ever to sell something online.
Therefore, an LMS must include e-commerce functionality, with options such as:
- Discount codes
- Bulk purchases
- Integration with popular payment gateways:
- and so on.
A great LMS can give you not only the possibility to create marvelous online courses with beautiful design and excellent user experience, but also to access a very targeted resellers network.
Considering the current technology advancements, learning management systems without a responsive design or mobile apps for different mobile operating systems have so much to lose.
User experience has an enormous power over knowledge transfer, and since any online training session needs to achieve this, you should consider the main benefits that responsive design can bring to the table. An LMS that has a responsive design will offer a consistent user experience, simple maintenance and also an increased audience reach.
Everyone is now looking for an LMS that will allow them to create and access all sorts of training materials through a user friendly interface anytime, anywhere, no matter what device they are using.
Companies need to be able to manage their LMS smoothly. Whether they know exactly what they need or discover that one click at a time, all configuration options should be consolidated in a single location, to ensure that administrators can easily enable and disable features, manage enrollment, monitor employee performance, and more:
- Manage accounts
- Bulk import/export
- Access (and restore if necessary) deleted items from the Trash Can
- Login history
- Inactivity management
- Session timeouts
- Terms and conditions
- and so on.
No matter how many features there are and how many things users can do with an LMS, it still remains a centralized system that manages workplace learning, so administrators must be able to oversee everything easily.
Over to you! What other LMS features do you consider to be non-negotiable for the good functioning of workplace learning in your organization? Do share your opinions in the comments section below!