E-Learning

What is a Learning Management System? – Definition, Types, Features, Benefits

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Learning Management System

Learn more about how and why- organizations use Learning Management Systems to train their employees

What is an LMS?

A Learning Management System (LMS) is software that is designed for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs.

The acronym LMS explained:

Learning — A Learning Management System delivers online courses and training to an organization’s employees, members, and partners. 

Management — An LMS helps HR managers to organize, manage and monitor their online courses, participants, and results. It can also be used to analyze the effectiveness of the enterprise training program. 

System — In this context, ‘system’ means ‘software that is used commonly by universities, corporations, hospitals, government organizations, and companies across all industries to deliver, track, and report on training.

Most Learning Management System solutions consist of two key user roles :

Administrators

Administrators are responsible for managing the LMS, which involves a combination of multiple tasks such as overseeing course creation, content management (creating training courses and learning plans or contacting third party content providers), assigning employee groups to specific training plans, and tracking their learning outcomes.

The Admin interface is where an L&D manager performs tasks to create, organize, manage, and deliver courses, add learners, analyze reports, automate notifications, and share data with senior stakeholders.

 Learner

A Learner of an LMS usually includes employees, partners, or customers who have been enrolled in a training program. Most LMS solutions ensure that the learner has a personalized and streamlined training experience. The training is available on-demand and across mobile devices. The learner interface in an LMS usually has an intuitive dashboard that indicates key Training Metrics like Courses enrolled, assignments, grades, and more.

Types of LMS 

Cloud-based LMS

A cloud-based LMS is the one that allows you to access and use the LMS without having to install any software or hardware. To access the LMS users simply have to log into a web portal.

On-premise LMS

The On-premise LMS is built and installed to the organization’s specifications on a physical server of their choice. The on-premise installation however ensures the security of the user and corporate data. Compared to a cloud-based LMS, in which the vendor is responsible for service and support, it’s up to the organization’s internal IT department to maintain the e-learning platform, its security and also make necessary upgrades. However, the downside is the extra costs associated with maintenance and setup. 

Open-source LMS

An Open Source LMS is an eLearning platform that allows you the possibility to access the code and modify it. You will need a dedicated IT team to setup, install, customize, and maintain the LMS. Most Opensource LMS do not have any licensing costs but have significant hidden costs associated with setup and maintenance.

Pricing models used for learning management systems include:

Freemium 

This pricing model allows users to access the basic features of some LMS platforms. Once users start engaging with the more advanced functionalities of the system, then a fee is added.

Subscription 

Users pay a recurring fee at regular intervals in order to access the LMS. The subscription may grant enterprise-level access to all LMS features, or it may require them to pay for each system user.

Active User Pricing Model

In the activer user pricing model, you charge your subscribers only based on how active they are. This means that you only charge only the users who use the LMS. Companies can enroll as many employees they want into the LMS but they will be charged only based on the ones who use them.

Licensing 

This is an annual fee that companies must pay to renew or an upfront fee that provides users with unlimited lifetime access.

What are the use cases of an LMS? 

A Learning Management System supports a variety of internal and external corporate use cases, including:

Employee development & retention

 Organizations across industries and sectors utilize an LMS to train their workforce. Within the Learning Management System, courses can be assigned to ensure employees acquire the right job skills, are informed about product changes, and are up-to-date on compliance training and more. For example, you might want to provide employees with mandatory compliance training, or you might need to upskill existing employees on new software updates. With a corporate LMS, you can eliminate business disruptions associated with traditional learning because your employees will be able to access training online at their own pace and on their mobile devices. By using an LMS an organization can reduce employee training costs, compared to conventional classroom training or instructor-led training. An LMS also provides Admisntrators with deeper insight into Training performance, course completion rates through integrated monitoring and reporting tools. 

Onboard new recruits

 An LMS can be effectively deployed to support, simplify, and automate new hires’ onboarding for multiple departments, geographical locations or offices through e-learning training programs. The key point here is that it may be time-consuming and expensive to onboard and train each new employee face to face. This is especially true if the organization is large, and the turnover is quite high. That is why many organizations use an LMS to move onboarding training or at least part of this to an online process. 

New employees normally may struggle to remember the details about a company’s history or compliance policies. However, with an effective online onboarding program deployed through an LMS, the new recruits have access to important information when they need it the most. A Learning Management System is also an excellent one-stop center to educate new hires on the company’s employee code of conduct, privacy guidelines, harassment policies, and more.

Customer & Partner training

 An LMS can also be leveraged to train an organization’s partners and channels (e.g., resellers). You can easily educate your channel partners on how best to market, sell, and support your products. This is a great way to enhance your reseller programs and provide more value to partners. For example, if you are an agency that helps companies develop their employees’ soft skills, you can create a course in your LMS and share it with your various clients.  

Another common LMS use case is for enterprises to provide training to customers. This is especially common for software and technology companies in which Ongoing customer training will also provide more value to customers and enable them to easily use their product. Whether you have a sales team that needs to go to market faster or have access to just-in-time training, or a network of partners that needs product training, an LMS makes the delivery, management, and reporting of all this through Extended Enterprise LMSs.

Sales Enablement

 Most companies want a deal to be “closed/won”. To help sales reps get there more often, an LMS is central to enabling sales at scale by preparing salespeople with the knowledge they need, about new products and services, industry changes, or new selling techniques. The system allows you to provide just-in-time product training, exactly after new products are released, and deliver refreshers on the back catalog. The platform also speeds up onboarding so that new hires can start selling sooner, and you can retain your top performers.

Compliance training

 An LMS can help you keep employees up to date with compliance regulations. With a learning platform, it is easy to add new compliance standards to your online course in just a few minutes. Additionally, an LMS facilitates monitoring to ensure that employees receive the mandated training, and manage recurring certification. This is particularly invaluable in Healthcare, BFSI, and Manufacturing sectors.

Benefits of using an LMS 

(i) Organization

These are a few benefits gained by the organization for using an LMS

Save training costs

 LMS platforms reduce learning costs by eliminating expenses such as instructor fees, classroom rentals, travel, and printed material costs. By having webinars/Virtual Instructor-Led Training and a digital repository for all learning material, these costs are eliminated.

Update content rapidly

An LMS makes the process of updating training content swift and seamless. An Administrator can add the new modules on top of the existing training curriculum and modify the content with ease. In comparison to traditional learning models, that might have required the Trainer to create new material from scratch.

Remote Training

 With an LMS you can provide effective training to your employees irrespective of their physical location. Virtual training helps continue learning programs, whether employees work from home and other non-traditional work environments. 

Mobile Learning

Traditional classroom training programs would require employees to step out of their daily tasks on a specific day and thereby impact productivity. However, LMS solutions with mobile applications allow seamless access for learners to access their training courses anytime and anywhere. 

Centralization of content

 Cloud-based Learning Management Systems allow all users to access information from one central hub and makes online collaboration possible. Additionally, an LMS stores information in an encrypted format making it secure from cybersecurity threats.

Track results

 Most LMS platforms come with analytics and reporting tools that help administrators identify gaps in learning, generate metrics about user engagement (e.g. how often users log in, when they finish a course, etc. ), and measure the ROI of the training programs. These data provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of the training program, the need to improve performance management in your company, and provide clear development pathways for employees.

Promote a culture of continuous learning

Offline training programs are time-consuming to organize, so they usually occur annually or when there’s a requirement. eLearning courses are easy to deliver and along with online presentations, and webinars are cost-effective. Using an LMS for training will ensure continuity in employee upskilling and learning.

 Engage and motivate learners

Corporate training is sometimes about getting familiar with company policies or understanding compliance regulations. To make sure that employees stay engaged, you can add some interactivity and gamification elements (e.g., quizzes, awards) using your LMS. The game-based elements incorporated in eLearning modules also improve learning retention rates and motivate employees towards course completion.

Efficient compliance training

In many cases, employee training in enterprises is geared towards being compliant with legislation. A good LMS will automatically monitor and report on compliance levels and provide early warning of renewal requirements. This is a powerful risk management tool when it comes to avoiding fines or costs incurred through non-compliance.

 Administrative efficiency

Run reports on user and course-level data, automatically assign courses, view dashboards with learner overviews – you can do it all from one place via an LMS. This will reduce time in all areas, from course development to maintenance to putting together reports for executives and stakeholders.

(ii) Learners

These are the benefits that accrue to employees by using an LMS:

Skill development with lower investment

An LMS with its eLearning and mobile functionality enables employees to take training at their own pace. This is a great way to keep employees engaged, as they might not have the resources or the time to take this kind of training on their own.

Knowledge retention

One of the biggest obstacles preventing L&D effectiveness is an employee’s ability to retain knowledge that is critical to their job. eLearning can be more powerful than traditional learning in this respect. Course authoring tools that integrate with your LMS allow L&D admins to inject their course content into a variety of multimedia formats to elevate the user experience and their engagement with learning materials. 

Instead of watching a presentation and then forgetting about it, learners can pause the video during an online course, jot down notes, shuffle to a previous lesson or take a follow-up quiz to test their knowledge. Microlearning modules can be used to reinforce classroom training and also as just in time

Self-paced training

Instructor-led training follows a one-size-fits-all approach to employee learning and development. Some employees can concentrate on a course for an extended period of time, while others prefer bite-size chunks of training. A self-paced eLearning course tackles these different training needs and preferences.

Mobile accessibility:

With an LMS, you can build flexible training programs that employees can take whenever they see fit. Most LMS have mobile apps that can be installed on all devices, PC, laptops, Tablets, and Smartphones. 

Organized training content

Learning Management systems serve as a repository to store and organize training material in the form of online courses, supplemental documentation, and generally any eLearning modules. The centralization of training content in an LMS will assist employees to refresh their memory by going over important modules simply by signing in to the LMS. This is particularly useful to new recruits who are overloaded with information during their first weeks of onboarding training.

Content for your Learning Management System

Off the Shelf Content

Off-the-shelf training courses are developed by third-party content providers. These courses are usually high-quality resources and are easy to deploy from the vendor’s content library.

Internally Created Content

Some organizations may choose to create training content themselves. This can be a more time consuming alternative and requires a dedicated in-house content creation team. Organizations that choose to go this route usually have instructional designers who storyboard and create custom content. They also utilize course authoring tools to create this training content. This approach can be more economical in the long run and is usually favored when the content required is relatively niche.

LMS Features

In general, most modern LMS solutions have the following features

User management

 This feature allows Administrators to add and edit users, assign them roles and combine them into Groups.

Course management

 This feature allows Administrators to create training courses from a variety of learning assets. They can then manage and administer these training courses to different groups across the organisation.

Content Creation

 Most LMS solutions that offer this feature have built-in course authoring tools. This helps administrators to create custom in house training content using several interactive multimedia elements like embedded videos, images and more.

Content Library

LMS providers also provide high-quality off-the-shelf training courses for their customers. This Seamless access to pre-built content makes it easy to roll out engaging training programs instantly.

Tracking & Reporting

The Analytics feature helps Administrators track training performance at the Course Level and User Level. By analyzing learner performance and progress, instructors can evaluate their areas of improvement and increase overall training efficiency.

Mobile Learning

 Mobile Learning allows learners to access their training content from anywhere and at any time from their mobile device. The easy accessibility of training content helps improve knowledge Retention And Information Recall.

Gamification

 The inclusion of gamified elements like points, badges and certificates help boost learner engagement, motivation, and course completion rates.

Social Learning

 Some LMS solutions seek to promote informal learning through features like Chat, Group feed, Discussion forums etc. These features enhance collaboration and improve training participation.

Certifications

 Most LMS solutions also help administrators to create, customize and generate certificates on course completion. This is particularly invaluable to companies that need to regularly provide compliance training to its employees as a mandatory requirement.

Integrations

 Modern LMS solutions also offer integrations with third party software solutions like Webinar Tools, HRIS solutions, Payroll Management systems and more. These integrations seamlessly blend organizations’ software suite to break down accessibility obstacles and improve overall business performance.

Steps involved in using a Learning Management System to deliver effective training:

Step 1: Create Training Courses

The first step in setting up an effective training program is to create training material or upload existing content onto the LMS.

You can either create training courses from scratch using a built-in Course Authoring tool. Alternatively, you can also upload existing content onto the LMS. Certain LMS solutions also allow you to include content such as YouTube videos, webinars, and other multimedia formats onto your Training Courses.

Step 2: Manage Users

The second step of the process is to categorize users according to the job role, department, skill-level, certifications, etc. This helps with delivering personalized, contextual training content. Managing users in an LMS usually includes Adding/Removing new users, Assigning User Roles, Creating Groups and more.

Step 3: Deliver Training

The next step of the training process is for the Administrator to plan and deliver the training program. The Administrator must ideally choose an optimum mix of training styles such as self-paced online learning, Virtual Instructor-Led Training, Mobile learning, and more. They can also choose to incorporate concepts like gamification and social learning to enhance training effectiveness.

Step 4: Track & Evaluate Training Progress

An LMS, allows you to measure your learner’s progress and activity. Administrators can track, review performance, and gain insight into training impact with reports and analytics.

An LMS can help track the number of key training metrics such as:

  • Course completions
  • Course dates
  • Learner Engagement
  • Total time spent on courses and learning plans
  • Active courses
  • Most viewed courses
  • Test/assessment scores
  • User activity reports
  • Gamification reports (e.g., badges and contests)
  • Certification reports

Why choose KloudLearn?

KloudLearn helps deliver impactful enterprise training with a simple, intuitive, and powerful Learning Management System. Create interactive training courses using a powerful course authoring tool. Increase learner engagement through Gamification and Social Learning. Track training progress using prebuilt reports and interactive dashboards. Host online training through the KloudLearn Zoom Integration. Offer your workforce a continuous learning experience with KloudLearn’s mobile application

Contact us  and find out how Kloudlearn can help you transform your enterprise learning or visit us at https://kloudlearn.com/

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