What The Blueprint looks for in a great learning management system software
So what should you look for in an LMS? Some of that will depend on your goals. You can use an LMS for:
- Internal training
- Educating external audiences, such as customers and partners
- Selling courses online
Here are some features you should consider in your search for the ideal learning management system software.
An LMS should eliminate barriers to training, not create them. That's why the LMS experience is so important. Your LMS should have an inviting, simple interface that employees and customers can jump in and use with little or no LMS training.
Some LMSs are focused on business training and present more streamlined interfaces. WorkRamp, Lessonly, SkyPrep, and TalentLMS are examples. Lessonly has features specifically designed for customer service training and sales training. Skilljar focuses even more tightly on customer training and selling courses online.
Other LMSs, such as Canvas and Absorb, have deeper functionalities suited to more complex learning environments.
Your LMS should be easy to use and allow you to make your own content. Source: SkyPrep software.
Being able to create different learning portals for different audiences and brand them are also desirable features.
Course creation tools
Most LMSs offer core features for building courses and importing content. Within those features, however, there's quite a bit of variation. Adobe Captivate is the only LMS on our list that doesn't include course-building tools.
Some LMSs support only a handful of test question types, which is very limiting. Others have interactive test elements, such as flip cards and hotspots.
A good LMS helps your trainers get creative with tests and lessons — and does the grading for you. Source: Canvas software.
Gamification features, such as personal training scorecards and badges, are great for enhancing engagement. Certifications are also a desirable feature for business LMSs. Some systems allow users to upload external certifications and will even track renewal dates for you. If you're in a highly regulated industry, this can be really useful.
Your LMS should allow you to create immersive, media-rich course content that turns instruction into digital storytelling. Lessonly and WorkRamp let employees practice key job skills and submit videos of their performances for review and coaching. These are really exciting tools for team collaboration and training.
Look for business-friendly tools, such as Lessonly's Practice feature. Source: Lessonly software.
Some LMSs also provide access to ready-made courses on key business skills. These are often available for a fee. If you have limited content to draw on, this can be an economical way to provide professional training quickly.
Your LMS should automate as many administrative tasks as possible, including group notifications and enrollments. For example, you should be able to automatically enroll new sales employees in sales onboarding or notify employees of a new course.
An LMS automates administrative tasks such as enrollments. Source: WorkRamp software.
You should also be able to pull key training metrics in reports to see what content is working and how training is affecting your performance.
LMS reports illustrate training progress and impact. Source: Adobe Captivate Prime software.
Mobile and remote learning
Your LMS should be optimized for all mobile devices. Ideally, it should allow learners to download course materials and work offline as needed and automatically sync back up when they're online again.
Your LMS should also be able to deliver a mix of live training sessions, remote learning via video conferencing, and on-demand content. Some LMSs provide native video conferencing tools, while others simply connect to software such as Zoom. However, consider limits on system load and file sizes when looking at native video features.
Another key aspect of e-learning systems is integrating them with your existing systems. For example, your LMS could be integrated with Slack, giving employees training notifications right in their feeds.
An LMS can embed training in your employees' daily flow. Source: Slack software.
Or, you could connect to Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) software and analyze how customer training is affecting retention and customer lifetime value.
Integrating an LMS with SalesForce CRM provides deep insight into the impact of training. Source: WorkRamp software.
Some integrations are included free with an LMS, while others may be offered as add-ons.
How your business can benefit from using learning management system software
Learning management system software takes you from sporadic training efforts to online learning academies. Instead of pointing customers to YouTube videos and instruction manuals, you can provide courses and certifications with your offerings. Instead of the same old PowerPoint presentations, you can offer employees a catalog of training and development opportunities to choose from.
Here's how that benefits your business.
Reinforces training best practices
An LMS automatically ups your training game because it's built to support current education best practices. For example, most LMSs are designed for microlearning, which are short lessons connected into longer learning paths with interactive elements or quizzes along the way to reinforce important takeaways.
Microlearning makes training memorable and fun. Source: Lessonly software.
Many LMSs also come with discussions and other social learning tools, further promoting engagement and retention.
Tracks and closes skill gaps
An LMS makes it easy to test skill levels and assign training to close the gaps. It also gives you full oversight of your learners and their training progress through reports and analytics.
Learning is more fun when you have tangible milestones and results to show for it. With an LMS, it's easy for employees and customers to identify training opportunities, sign up, get feedback, and track their progress. Gamification features, such as badges and leaderboards, add to the rewards and excitement.
Cuts the paperwork
An LMS eases the administrative burden of delivering training to different groups of employees. New employees can be automatically tested and slotted into training based on their jobs and needs. New training can be rolled out automatically to various groups, with completion of tasks or courses reported to the appropriate administrators.