What is a Learning Management System? How is it useful?

A learning management system, (LMS) is software that is designed specifically to create, distribute, and manage the delivery of educational content. The LMS can be hosted as a stand-alone product on the company server, or it can be a cloud-based platform that is hosted by the software firm.

Think of a learning management system as a technology that can improve learning, make it faster, productive, cost-effective, and what is more important – trackable.

The most basic LMS contains a core functional platform that enables administrators to upload learning content, deliver lessons to students, serve notifications, and share data with authorized users.

An LMS most often operates inside of a web-browser, behind a secure sign-on process. This gives all students and instructors easy access to courses on-the-go, while administrators and leaders can monitor student progress and make improvements.

Types of Learning Management Systems (LMS)

There are several types of learning management systems that organizations can choose from, check the comparison list:

Enterprise vs. Individual
Free vs. Commercial
SaaS vs. Licensed Product
Cloud-based vs. On-premise
Built-in Authoring Tools or Pre-Written CMS

What Does an LMS Do?

Provide learning experiences that are adapted to individual learners Make it easy for instructors to make notes and changes Give instructors and students the opportunity for online collaboration Integrate common tools such as calendars, word processors, and more Create a corporate culture-sensitive, branded presence for learners Include insights into user progress through built-in analytics

Learning Management System features may include:

A Central User Portal For All Users, Administrators, And Course Creators To Securely Login And Complete Tasks. Experience API (Tin Can API) Compliant Content Management System Built-In For Authoring Content And Adding Elements. LMS Training System That Involves Event Management And Scheduling Capabilities That Direct Users Through Specific Learning Plans. Certificates, Learning Badges, And Profiles That Learners Can Share To Prove Their Knowledge. Automated Test Scoring And Performance Management Systems Based On User Behaviors. Live Classroom And Webinar Environments For Remote Instructors And Students.

The general benefits of learning management systems include:

Access learning on the go Easy accessibility via any mobile device to capture opportunities for learning Flexibility in learning pathways Ability to set up specific learning pathways for students and training plans for adults Use a variety of learning materials Bringing together learning materials from a wide range of sources, from MOOCs to user-shared materials Analyze learning patterns Analytics that provide a progress report of every user and proof of knowledge Automation of many learning processes, including scheduling, invitations, and follow-up support

The advantages of LMS in any educational setting can include:

Teachers can use established pedagogical models to deliver more personalized lessons and increase the engagement level of students Students respond well to micro-learning and the LMS is a perfect platform for facilitating this format of learning Students can learn on their own via computers, laptops, and mobile devices to keep learning alive 24/7 An LMS increases the flexibility and creativity of the learning materials, which enhances the student experience and encourages shared collaboration Student progression through lessons and assessments becomes more self-driven — tapping into the natural way humans learn Artificial intelligence and automation make administration of learning materials easier for instructors, freeing up their time for other teaching opportunities

How to Select the Best LMS for Your Organization?

It’s important to understand how to choose the best LMS for your organizational purposes.

– Measurable results

Investing in learning management software for your organization often comes down to how quickly you can measure real results. If it’s for business purposes, for example, to train employees, being able to quickly and effectively produce high levels of proficiency matters.

These results should be displayed for users (as in completion rates, steps towards goals) as well as administrators in terms of completed modules, scores, and the connection to corporate objectives.

– Accessibility and User-friendly Design

A major issue that can make or break a learning management system is when there are accessibility issues for users. The sign-on process should be simple and secure. The home screen should be intuitive and include the information that a user needs to start completing courses.

In addition, tools such as AI and chatbots can enable learners to search for and find new course suggestions matched to their interests. This is especially important when working with younger people or multi-generational learners who may not be accustomed to the latest formats.

Fonts and layout of content should be in a user-friendly design, and all text needs to be translatable to other language types and 508 compliant.

– Adaptability

Today, learners need to be able to take their learning on-the-go. Therefore a multi-device LMS can ensure that learners can access their courses and pick up where they’ve left off anytime it suits them.

With a vast majority of the population accessing the Internet via mobile devices now worldwide, the LMS you choose must be able to work well on a variety of operational systems, browsers, and screen sizes.

– Secure data management

When an organization wants to develop and manage courses, a secure LMS platform is a must. Not only is course data proprietary in nature, but the information of all users needs to be protected.

Only select an LMS that has a single sign-on process (SSO) and maintains information behind added layers of security linked to user privileges. This is especially important when using a cloud-based server to house data.

– Support response and training

Before deciding on the best LMS for your organization, consider that there will be times when live customer support will be needed. This often happens during the implementation and integration phases, but it can arise anytime.

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