What Defines an Ideal Learning Management System(LMS)?

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Editor’s Note: This blog post has been updated in October 2021.

A simple tool designed to run learning modules and tests in an academic institution has evolved into an all-purpose application/software, now embraced by institutions and enterprises across the world. From running tests to performance evaluation at work, social learning features to integrated ERP and CMS facilities; the LMS is no longer a simple learning system.

Best features of an ideal LMS

The Need For A Learning Management System

The earliest versions of the learning management system ran basic training videos and presentations supported by instructor training. Today, the modern LMS has evolved significantly. The popularity and affordability of smartphones and decreasing user-attention spans have contributed to the growth of ‘bite-sized learning’ and video nuggets. With the focus shifting on ‘anywhere, anytime learning’ the current breed of learning management systems is designed to offer a great learning experience on mobile phones and tablet devices as well.

The ‘Learning Management System’ as a subset of the eLearning industry has evolved to become a stand-alone and prosperous industry domain of its own. With over 700 plus learning management systems available in the market catering to the demands of enterprise learning and higher education; organizations looking for an LMS are spoilt for choice.

In our blog post today, we will look at the key features that an ideal Learning Management System should possess.

A. The modern, user-friendly, intuitively designed LMS

This is a significant factor that determines the success of a learning system. You could pack in all the features that a user may need into your product, but if it is not user-friendly and intuitive by design; then you’ve lost the battle. As per a popular statement in UX-Design – “Even a child should be able to use your LMS with ease.”

To reiterate the significance of delivering the right user experience, and the impact it generates, this blog here is a great example. It includes a specific use case from a leading organization.

B. LMS with Diverse Features

A good aesthetic design alone does not guarantee success. Does your learning system offer all the functions and features that users demand? Be it the ability to track informal learning, a dedicated mobile app, or integrating existing eLearning, cloud-based, or remote hosting; every LMS provider is looking to innovate. Stay ahead of the competition to make your LMS stand apart.

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C. Integration Capabilities

Many organizations have created their learning management system products by building upon open-source platforms like Moodle, Forma, and ILIAS. Most businesses look for a high level of customization that goes beyond just the rudimentary – ‘look and feel’ updates. Customization requests focus on the integration of existing learning with the new LMS, integration of LMS with existing ERP and CRM systems, and much more. Salesforce is the world’s #1 CRM platform that is used by leading organizations across industry verticals. If your learning system allows easy integration with Salesforce, then it is a plus for your LMS product.
However, open-source platforms come with a host of challenges, apart from compromised security. Do take the time to view this infographic that highlights the problem areas.

D. Real-Time Analytics on LMS

Analytics and data are the cornerstones of every business and L&D is no different. If your learning management system is designed to offer in-built real-time data reports then you have ticked an important requirement. With the growth of Experience API or xAPI, administrators can now track learning even when the learner moves away from the core LMS and accesses information in a new browser window. This is a significant shift and adds greater flexibility to learning. With analytics, discover the time spent on content, popular mediums, course completion, and more such important statistics that help organizations to further fine-tune their training, and offer an experience that resonates with the audience.

E. Market and Sell Your Courses Using the LMS

Several eLearning organizations are shifting to a course-catalog model wherein they offer popular courses for a specific fee. The topics range from ‘Safety and Compliance Laws’, ‘Office Etiquette’, and ‘Essentials of PowerPoint’. In addition to this, organizations also offer courses created by industry leaders, which are white labeled as per their branding and offered to learners. What was once a rare request is slowly turning into a de facto requirement in modern learning management systems. Organizations are looking for LMS products that allow easy integration of existing courses and the ability to market and sell courses through the LMS by becoming a ‘learning marketplace’. Does your learning system offer a built-in eCommerce feature?

F. Social & Personalized Learning on Learning Management Systems

It is a part of human nature to seek approval and likes from one’s friends. The growth of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is ample proof of our desire to be recognized and find our personal ‘15 seconds of fame’. Social Learning as a specific offshoot of learning has gained popularity in the past three to four years. L&D practitioners also agree that a social element to learning, which allows learners to challenge co-learners to take up modules, share scores, and participate in gamified puzzles and assessment modules, remain more engaged and ultimately leads to better learner retention.

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In addition to this recommendation, engines are becoming smarter. Does your learning system suggest learners to pick a relevant course matching their learning requirements? When the learning management system looks at the learners’ progress and skill set and offers relevant learning content it becomes a combination of adaptive and personalized learning. This is quite pertinent to the ‘Assessments’ section of learning programs. Does your LMS offer a mix of social and personalized learning?

G. Mobile Apps based on the Learning Management System

Yes, we are all aware of the growth of mobile usage and how more learners are accessing learning content ‘on the go’ on their smartphones. In the present environment, it becomes important for your LMS to offer a powerful variant of the product as an app. Remember, not a skinned-down basic variant of the product but a full-function LMS experience on the mobile app. Invest in developing the app and it will hold your LMS product in good stead.

H. Customer Support & Pricing

These are two key qualities that go together and affect the success of any product. A learning management system’s pricing usually works on the ‘number of licenses’ model. With the growth in on-demand learning, organizations selling an LMS product seek to find the right business strategy to sell their product. Do you offer excellent customer support? Is your customer support team trained to handle queries both technical and non-technical? Exceptional customer service can ensure repeat customers. Great products have been let down by shabby customer support. Don’t fall into the trap of poor or negligent customer support. Empower your customer support team and make it a customer success team.

This blog “Five things to look out for while choosing a learning system” is an additional quick read.

The Evolution of LXP (Learning Experience Platform)

eLearning is experiencing a paradigm shift as corporate learning becomes more learner centric. While LMS has played an essential role in eLearning technology, the future is LXP — the Learning Experience Platform.

LXP has evolved from traditional LMS technology to make effective use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for a user-centric approach. Personalized learning paths are one of the key capabilities of an LXP that make it better suited to modern learning than a traditional LMS. It gives the user more control to choose a trajectory aligned with their learning goals.

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Choosing between the LMS and LXP does not have to be difficult. LXPs can be easily integrated with authoring tools, making the shift from an LMS simple.

Are you ready to take the next step in corporate training? Origin’s Fractal LXP is cloud-based that can be deployed remotely and scaled as per need. The modern learning landscape is rapidly evolving to provide a holistic learning experience tailored exactly to your organization’s unique needs.

This video here sheds light on how Fractal LXP ensures business outcomes for all stakeholders.

Sign up for a free trial of Origin’s Fractal LXP here.

Let’s dive into a few FAQs:

What makes a good LMS system?

LMS can be a great asset, but only when using the right one. Ease of use through intuitive design, custom learning paths for users, integration capabilities with existing eLearning, cloud-enabled, and access to analytics and data are just some of the features that make LXP ideal; as an evolved modern LMS system.

What is the purpose of LMS?

A Learning Management System (LMS) is an online system or software that can be used to plan, execute, and assess the learning needs of an organization or enterprise. In simple words, software used in eLearning programs, and which helps in administration, documentation, tracking, and recording.

How do LMS systems work?

The best way to imagine a learning management system, in its current form as an LXP, is to think of it as a large private website portal. “Private” because despite being remotely deployed and entirely cloud-based, only users with login credentials will be able to access the site. Within the LMS, learning modules are available for users along with assessments and other learning tools. An LXP takes this a step further with more advanced tools such as gamification, analytics, custom learning paths, and playlists based on individual users, preferences, etc.

Why do learning platforms fail?

A learning platform is effective only when it is deployed as per all its capabilities. For instance, the LXP is true to its name of being an experience platform only when the content is created and deployed using modern tools, technology. If a simple classroom training PPT is posted on an LXP, it will not fetch you the desired results. When training content is created using sound instructional design strategies and vanguard tools like microlearning for spaced learning, gamification for assessment modules, or virtual labs to provide hands-on learning to the learner, and then deployed on the LXP will it fetch you improved metrics across all factors. Using any platform as per its complete capabilities only will organizations be able to derive the maximum benefit and success.

To know more about eLearning and end-to-end learning solutions, write to info@originlearning.com


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