What is an LMS?
by Simple Learning System | January 29, 2024
What is an LMS?
by Simple Learning System | January 29, 2024
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software platform that enables the creation, delivery, and management of educational courses and training programs. Various companies and organizations use them for employee/member training to external education for customers and partners. An LMS delivers content, manages users, tracks learning progress, and can help your organization efficiently manage its learning and development initiatives. As technology progresses, they have become essential for businesses of all sizes and educational institutions, providing a structured and centralized approach to learning. But how do they work exactly?
What an LMS is Made For
There is no one answer to what an LMS is designed to train for, as the model can be adapted to almost any subject that teams can be educated on. However, there are some common uses and implementations that businesses often use them for.
Internal vs. External Training
Depending on the needs of your organization, you might need an LMS to train employees internally on operations within your business or externally to better educate your customers, partners, or volunteers. Because of this, it’s important to consider the current training methods that your company uses and determine what LMS features you would benefit from.
Examples of Training
- Employee Training: This encapsulates anything from employee skill development or onboarding training, including compliance, using company-specific applications, etc.
- Customer Training: Offering training for customers can have many benefits. Sometimes products may be confusing or complicated to use for first-time users, giving the need for a quick LMS guide. Other LMSs are designed around education, so multiple courses can be added, ranging from school curriculum to vocational training.
- Partner Training: An LMS can be a great way to train and educate business partners on your entire business, inside and out. This can also help with verification, making sure that your partners align and are trained on your business practices and goals.
Types of LMS
It’s apparent that an LMS can come in many different forms, shapes, and sizes. While schools and universities might benefit from a higher education or academic platform, corporate organizations might succeed better with more compliance and skill development platforms. LMSs are often updated, white-labeled, and also meant to integrate with a variety of different tools. This can vary, though, depending on the LMS provider.
Cloud vs. Hosted Systems
LMSs often have the option to be integrated directly with the hardware and software that your organization uses. Or, you can opt for a cloud-based service that is hosted on servers elsewhere. Cloud technology has grown exponentially over the past decade and is ever expanding, leading most companies to fully move over to the cloud. Cloud connection allows users to access education and training from anywhere in the world on any device type they choose. Cloud-based technologies are also easily adaptable and upgradable as your company and employees grow.
Who Needs an LMS?
At the baseline, any company that needs to train its employees would most likely benefit from an LMS. LMSs are designed to make training easier to deliver, manage, and streamline by reducing the amount of time you spend on course creation, delivery, and reporting/tracking results. Here are a few examples of the types of organizations that may benefit most from an LMS.
Small to Large Companies
For smaller companies, training can be extremely expensive and laborious to do manually. A training platform not only frees up time for work to continue but also helps ensure that your employees are ready to hit the ground running. For larger companies, an LMS can still provide the same benefits but to varying audiences. Some trainings might be strictly internal for onboarding, while there could be external training for customers on how to use the platform or product.
Many national and state agencies have platforms in place to train certain staff and civilian populations in order to meet certain compliance requirements at scale. One example of this is MandatedReporterTraining.com by Simple Learning which offers mandated reporter training for a variety of different professions and positions. Platforms like MandatedReporterTraining.com provide a modern, turnkey solution that can be upgraded and adapted for years to come. Check out how Massachusetts, Nevada, and California have benefited from their switch.
Features and Benefits of LMSs
Save Time and Money
Compared to traditional training costs and resources, LMSs typically come out on top as the cheaper and more effective alternative. Instead of hiring instructors, paying for material costs, scheduling training around work hours, travel costs, etc., all users have to do is sign up on their device and begin training at any time. You can also track and report on the efficacy of your training and adapt it as needed. On the other hand, if face-to-face or hands-on training is required, an LMS can still help by providing everything that can be taught online while giving space for in-person instruction when needed.
Proof of What Is and Isn’t Working
One of the most invaluable pieces of training on an LMS is the data that you can collect and analyze. You can see results of exams, training histories, course selections, course progress, and on and on, compiling almost any aspect of a user’s journey and experience. Not only can this help you assess the quality of your training itself and if its working, but it can also help gain insight and predict where you’re company thrives or where improvements can be made.
Implement Existing Materials
Depending on your previous training efforts, you may already have access to PDFs, video content, and many other materials. This will only help fast-track the development of your LMS as many online materials, and even some physical ones, can be easily uploaded or embedded into your platform. Some LMSs are SCORM-compliant which stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. This is a set of rules that an LMS can be built around that allows it and the data within it to be transferred and implemented to other LMSs without having to curate new content or create a new platform. This is especially useful for LMSs that are expected to be upgraded or migrated in the future but will most likely contain similar content when transferred.
Most people who are required to complete some form of compliance training will require proof of certification or completion. Some approved certifications, like Continuing Education credits (CE), need approval and accreditation by Government agencies or organizational boards. For example, MandatedReporterTraining.com has CE certification from the Board of Registered Nursing to train California nurses on mandated reporting. Depending on the certification (like with CE credits), users may have to complete training annually. LMSs can be useful in these cases so that you can keep your learner base while also giving them opportunities to renew their certifications.
Implementation of an LMS
Typically there are two ways that LMSs are implemented: In a cloud-based system or by a self-hosted system.
Many SCORM-compliant LMS platforms will be hosted and operated from the cloud, allowing it to be implemented without having to install specific hardware or software to access it or use it. This is the most opted for as it’s the fastest and easiest way to implement an LMS with low maintenance and high security.
This option will see the LMS being installed directly onto your company’s servers. If you are planning on building a highly complicated and personalized LMS, this could be the better option, as there’s easier access to customization. However, you will need to make sure that your IT infrastructure is able to handle the integration and maintain/update it as needed.
Most Common Licensing Types
Whether you are implementing your own LMS or signing yourself or your organization up for a service, there are 3 common pricing options.
Pay per User
This one is pretty self-explanatory – you pay per the number of users you have on the LMS. This option is typically chosen by most cloud-based service providers as you don’t have to worry about hosting the amount of users on the platform, or at least worry about the servers they’re on.
Pay per Active User
This is the most common option across the board, as you are only paying for the amount of users actively on the platform. This option is also often broken down into tiers of users or by billing cycle, where users are paid for during the billing cycle or per month.
This option is typically used for organizations or companies that will be training a large but varying amount of users regardless of their activity. This option is typically paid monthly or annually for users. However, some LMS providers will opt for contractual agreements, like a business signing up for a year-long commitment.