A Learning Management System (LMS) is a common application found within the digital workplace but few of us actually stop to consider what it is and what it does. Defining an LMS and its main characteristics can be a useful exercise in helping think about how learning is supported within your organisation.
What is an LMS?
Generally, an LMS can be considered to be a software application that provides one central place for employees to be able to access learning material and courses, and for Learning & Development (L&D) professionals to manage all the processes related to providing access to this learning. An LMS is therefore both a training hub for learners and a system to administer and organise learning; it is the e-learning platform for an organisation.
What are the features of a typical LMS?
Typically, an LMS will include the following elements.
- A course catalogue that allows employees to browse the courses that are on offer and find out any related information about the course. Typically, this will include e-learning, but it may also include face to face courses as well as external courses.
- A facility to book a place on a course and any related workflow, for example letting the course organiser know that a place has been requested or alerting the learner’s line manager to provide approval.
- Giving access to course material allows the person to actually carry out e-learning with access to text, video, documents, quizzes and games, usually presented in a logical course structure. If face to face training utilises an LMS it is possible that pre-course reading can be made available too.
- A learning record or report that shows an individual learner the courses they have taken and the results. A person’s manager might also be able to access their learning record or report, and that of a whole team they are responsible for.
- A learning administration module should allow course administrators to be able to distribute learning, manage individual learning events and organise elements such as certificates in order to manage learning and training-related processes.
- Learning paths, certificates, points and gamification An LMS may also be able to manage some typical elements of learning that help to drive adoption and motivation. These include displaying learning paths, issuing certificates, and introducing gamifications elements such as points and badges that help to increase adoption and take-up.
- Content authoring tools Not all LMS have this capability, but an LMS like LMS365 also contains useful content authoring tools that allow non-learning specialists to create courses and elements within it such as quizzes.
What are the benefits of an LMS?
1. Saves time and cost
A Learning Management System can help an organization save significant time and costs by streamlining the management of learning and reducing administrative effort required. It can also reduce the amount of time-consuming face-to-face training that needs to take place.
2. Provides visibility and proximity to learning
Because an LMS platform allows you to formalise and scale-up training across an organisation, it provides more visibility and proximity around your learning programme. This means you can increase adoption and value of your training and can start to nurture a culture of learning and development.
3. Opens up learning to all
An LMS is something everybody can access, regardless of their location. When organizations only focus on classroom-based training, they usually restrict who can access learning opportunities because of where people are located and budget concerns. When an LMS facilitates more e-learning it opens up learning to all your employees, and even potentially external third parties and customers.
4. Gives learners more control over their own learning
An LMS gives much more power to learners to control their own learning; they can browse a course catalogue to select courses of interest and also choose when to learn. Because LMS-based learning is often broken up into bite-sized pieces it also means learners can fit it around busy work and non-work lives, and at the time of need. This means learning has more impact.
5. Drives compliance and mandatory training
Some training will be mandatory, for example relating to professional standards, health and safety, risk reduction and more. Organisations may have to track this for compliance and auditing purposes. If this is the case, an LMS is absolutely essential in being able to track exactly who has taken and passed a course, and who has not, and being able to demonstrate this for auditing purposes.
6. Brings learning into the heart of the digital workplace
An LMS should be at the heart of a digital workplace, easy to access and allowing employees find courses and relevant items. When learning is brought into the heart of the digital workplace and made more visible it drives adoption of training. For example, an LMS like LMS365 that easily integrates with Microsoft 365 tools and your SharePoint intranet can really transform learning within a company.
7. Brings learning and knowledge together
Because an LMS such as LMS365 houses assets such as instructional videos, files, recording training and quizzes, these can sometimes act as useful items of individual knowledge that people can access when they have a particular need. This means an LMS can start to bridge the gap between learning and knowledge management, providing a rich collection of knowledge items for everybody to access, as part of a course or as an individual item, available on-demand at the time of need.
8. Provides data and insights
An LMS usually has powerful reporting and analytics that provides data and insights:
- for the individual data who can track their own learning path
- for managers who can track and identify learning trends and needs across their team
- for L&D functions to track wider learning trends and needs
- for organizations to compare learning and business data to gain powerful insights to support decision-making.
9. Standardises learning across your organisation
Often larger organisations wish to standardise and professionalise training right across their organisation in order to drive up standards and consistency relating to risk, health and safety, professional standards, customer service and support, sales and more. An LMS provides an opportunity to roll out standard training across your entire organisation in a way that is both practical and cost-effective.
10. Helps new starters get up to speed
An area where an LMS can really drive value is for an onboarding programme for new starters. Training is a key component of most onboarding activity for new hires; e-learning can help you standardise and streamline elements of this so new starters can get up and running more quickly, knowing all about your organisation as well as undertaking any mandatory training required.
The power of LMS365
It is important to find the right LMS that is going to work best for your organisation. One of the reasons we choose to work with the LMS365 Learning Management System is because it is an excellent tool that:
- Can integrate seamlessly into the Microsoft 365 environment and its constituent tools such as SharePoint and Microsoft Teams
- It is cloud-based and has a great mobile-based employee app
- It has all the core capabilities you need from an LMS365 plus extras such as content authoring tools
- It is very easy to use for both admins and users, removing many of the barriers to adoption
- It consistently gets great feedback from customers and their learners
- It continues to evolve and stays close to the Microsoft 365 roadmap.
Thinking about an LMS and on Microsoft 365?
If you’re thinking about an LMS and you’re on Microsoft 365 then it is definitely worth considering LMS365 as an LMS that can fit into your wider digital workplace and bring learning directly into the flow of everyday work. If you want more information or a product demo, then get in touch.