What is a Learning Management System? (2020 Edition)
Did your university have an online platform for discussion boards? Or, have you logged into eLearning modules for work?
Then, you’ve already used a learning management system (LMS).
But today’s learning management systems (LMS) aren’t just about learning. Now, you can use your LMS to sell courses to your clients, target your marketing, and make data-driven business decisions.
What is an LMS?
The most basic way to think of a learning management system (LMS) is as an online portal. Learners log into their course, then the LMS tracks the completion rates. Sadly, many early eLearning courses were mind-numbingly boring.
Luckily, modern LMS systems have features to motivate and engage learners.
You might want to look for an LMS offering gamified learning experiences, mobile learning, or microlearning. Plus, personalized learning platforms promise to increase your learners’ content mastery in less time. Who doesn’t want to learn not only faster but more accurately? A modern LMS can do just that.
Even better, modern solutions include advanced data analytics. Now, you aren’t left wondering how to optimize your learning program. Your data will show you the way. Plus, LMS data can guide business-critical decisions like determining new course offerings or finding the right target market.
🔎Related: Analyst Report: Aragon Research Globe for Corporate Learning Report
Best Use Cases for Your LMS in 2020
Here’s a quick list of the most common use cases for your LMS:
- Employee onboarding or orientation
- Compliance training
- Human Resources (HR) Courses
- Sales enablement
Sure, you want your LMS to make all the common tasks a breeze. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
A modern LMS should also fulfill use cases throughout your organization.1. Business critical decisions
- Guide curriculum development
- Generate revenue through course sales
- Integrate with HR to identify skills gaps
- Inform marketing for new and old courses
- Boost learner knowledge retention continuously
- Engage learners with gamification, microlearning, or mobile features
- Track learners’ strengths and weaknesses
- Adapt to learners’ preferences and skill development
- Host a searchable resource library
- Create communities of practice
- Integrate with common tools to encourage adoption
- Build your brand
Which Type Should I Choose?
Once you’ve determined your use cases, you’re all set to choose your LMS type.
Most people think of using their LMS to educate employees. But, you’ll also find vendors focused on educating your channel partners or customers.
A cloud-based LMS is perfect for organizations that need an out-of-the-box solution. Most offer quick implementation with configurable features, but not entirely customized. Vendors can also easily update and scale these solutions. You can choose a vendor who hosts your LMS or you can self-host. This category has a huge variety of options and price points available. Most organizations can meet their needs with a cloud-based LMS. Plus, they’ll generally receive a better return-on-investment (ROI) with an out-of-the-box solution.
Large organizations with complex integrations may need a custom solution. They may need custom features not offered by any one LMS. Or, they may want their LMS to do more than simply learning. They may need a specialized account management tool or an online events tool. Alternatively, they want complex integrations with other software. Of course, a custom solution is expensive with a long implementation time.
Some LMS vendors focus solely on K-12 or higher education. Generally, these solutions have tools built for the classroom. They also have tools for administering and scheduling on-site classes, as well as robust grading tools. Generally, they only work well for this use case. Most organizations, including associations and credentialing bodies, prefer to use an enterprise solution.
Learning Experience Platforms
Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) have a recommendation algorithm, the ability to track popular content, knowledge crowdsourcing abilities, and usually a content library or course marketplace. Some solutions have also begun adding traditional LMS features like learner tracking. They may not work as well for tracking compliance and pushing essential learning. Usually, companies have both an LXP and an LMS.
Your Checklist for Finding the Perfect LMS
- Who is my learner? Employee? Customer? Channel Partner?
- Am I generating revenue from my courses? Do I need eCommerce tools?
- Does the vendor work with other companies like mine?
- Will they be able to scale with my business?
- Does it include learner engagement features like gamification or microlearning?
- Can I integrate into the rest of my ecosystem?
- Will its data analytics give me valuable information?
- Is my partner a learning expert? Will they support my training program?
At BenchPrep, our configurable, cloud-based LMS gives you the best of all possible worlds. You can configure it for clients, employees, or channel partners. We have baked-in engagement features like gamification. Plus, it’s not all DIY. Our learning design team is available to help you transform your content to deliver better engagement.
If you’re looking for an LMS, check out Aragon Research’s 2020 Hot Vendor Report to find out who’s who.